Some structured interviews include a question near the end: if we offer you this job today, what will be the first thing you will do? I have answered "buy more Rubbermaid." I start by thinking how I am physically organize my "stuff."
Organization is often a bug a boo for me. I would rather teach than clean off my desk. So it means that I am continuously looking for ways to get organized. I have found baskets like the one in the picture are invaluable. I use them for:
- Copies. In my building the copiers are always on the fritz so we often wander to find a working machine. I put Post-its on the originals with course and number needed and keep a ream of copy paper at the bottom of the basket, so when I get a chance, or an aide is free, they can haul the whole thing to the copy room. I also recycle file folders, with a Post-it to identify the subject and day of the week, so I can put it in the file drawer with activities for that particular day.
- Reading Groups. I have a basket for each reading group, with files containing written activities and any other supplies I might need. I check them in the morning and then when reading rolls around I'm ready.
- Math Materials.Good math instruction for kids with disabilities involves lots and lots of manipulatives. As you review your plans for the day, drop the worksheets, the manipulatives and any other tools you will be using in your math basket and place it on the media cart with your ELMO or your digital projector.
- Push in Resource. If you are teaching in a push in resource setting, you need different tools for different groups. Placing the reading books, the worksheets and any student folders in a basket means you can plop everything you need in one basket. I've tried milk crates on a media cart, but find that these smaller baskets are much easier to manage.
Clean up: Often at the end of the day you are just exhausted. Don't leave your baskets, or they will create more problems than they resolve. Put any student work awaiting correction in a file or wire basket that you have created for the purpose, and return any materials you will not be using the next day to their appropriate place. If you are doing fractions all week, leave the fraction puzzles in the basket. Otherwise they need to go where you store your other math manipulatives.
Hopefully, a trip to Walmart of Target will save you lots of time and headaches!