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clear my desk
Old 01-13-2018, 08:11 AM
 
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This makes sense. A feedback from a supply teacher made a useful suggestion! In her feedback it said that kids were great and the usual but she gets lost in my work space. I kind of have to admit that my working style is along the lines of "controlled" chaos but be that as it may, it makes it difficult for other staff to find things.

Here's the real reason why, she understands that I have things that are work in progress and that space is a premium. But when guest teachers like herself arrives and tries to find space to fill out forms like attendance compounded with students turning in work, it makes it difficult to sort things for herself. She admits that she misplaces things more especially when she's out and about the room.

I feel for her because I know what that's like especially when I misplaced a pen I use on an IWB and only to realize that I absentmindedly placed in with my regular pens. I need to be more organized for other people too. Lesson learned.


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A little structure is not a bad thing...
Old 01-15-2018, 03:09 AM
 
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In a "non-school" setting (adult education) I am currently working with an instructor who doesn't need structure. We are challenged to keep from strangling each other occasionally... but like the situation you describe, we're managing it, recognizing we both have needs. A sense of humor helps.

One reason I carry a well-stocked sub bag is the difficulty finding things in some classrooms. My clipboard is my desk. But I love walking in, finding a clipboard with the lesson plan in the center of the desk and all the material for the day stacked in the right order next to it.
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When I knew
Old 01-15-2018, 11:59 AM
 
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in advance that I'd have a sub, I'd stay late. I could clear off my desk (my theory about desks is that they keep papers and pens off the floor), paperclip and place notes as to time and special instructions on each group of kid papers. I'd also stack materials needed next to the desk so no one had to search through cupboards with kids giving conflicting information on locations. Most of the subs were willing or able to follow the guidance. When I was subbing, sometimes those instructions were helpful, sometimes difficult to comprehend.

However, there were times when I got sick in the night and could not organize for a sub. For that I had a narrow box always left on my desk with sub instructions, emergency plans, and a good luck wish. I'd also have a "usually dependable" list of students and the name and location of a teacher grade partner who might help out.

In the past, I have dictated lesson plans to the secretary over the phone before school and with the advent of more modern technology been able to email in lesson plans and call the school so they will look for them and, with any luck, actually give them to the sub.

The point is, that no matter how compulsive we are about making things easier, stuff happens.
We need to have reasonable expectations of ourselves and substitutes.
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:10 PM
 
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I've only once had a sub when I left with a messy desk. I had no idea that I was going to be out the day before when I left.

I included in the plans to feel free to stack stuff on my desk, so the sub had a work area.
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piles of stuff
Old 01-16-2018, 03:13 AM
 
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I have to admit that my idea is hoarding piles of stuff left ungraded for weeks at a time. I hate to admit it but there you go.

Quote:
no idea that I was going to be out the day
This is understandable. And then I'm thinking of times when I just let it pile. Her suggestion reminded me that I gotta get that flow so everything's in 'n out per se. She had also said that if I just have some answer keys to the work that my students are turning in, she would've taken some time grading some of them because she know how some people don't like it when it's just sitting in the back of our minds. And I do have keys made but they're not where a guest might normally find them.

So I'm taking it as a sign that I should really catch up on all paperwork including grading even though I've got them sorted by containers for each class/subject. Right now, my desk is on overflow mode.

Good thing she had left her contact info so that I can make more work for her the next time she's around


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My desk
Old 01-16-2018, 08:21 AM
 
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When I was teaching my desk looked like chaos. I knew what was in each pile. However, in the event I knew I was going to have a sub, I'd move the piles into a file cabinet for the day(s) and leave my sub plans on the desk with a pen. Because I taught self-contained special ed, my lesson plans were scripted and several pages long. On days I was sick and didn't have lesson plans I went in and put them together. I also would clean off my desk. Those were the days that my job got grabbed up by one sub who knew I had paras and would sit at the desk and play on her iPad. She walked in one day while I was pushing my desk to the wall. She asked where she was supposed to sit. I told her she was to sit at the table and teach or not grab the jobs anymore. Yes, I was really sick and didn't care what came out of my mouth. Most subs were amazing, though, and did follow the plans and left positive notes about their experience.
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I'm self contained SpEd
Old 01-16-2018, 11:18 AM
 
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as well. I had not one, but two, teacher desks (one held the SB components) that would continually get covered in STUFF. It was a habit to throw all the things together on the desk. I would nibble at it in small chunks or as needed for IEPs and progress reports.

Then, lo and behold, when I knew I'd be out for several days once, I cleaned it as you all described--for the sub.

I felt so good when I returned to a clean desk and no piles in sight. I realized that although I had a ton of stuff to do, I didn't feel stressed. After a couple days, as the piles began to return so did the stress...

Long story short- I finally figured out that the chaos in the classroom was contributing to my stress. I am now caught somewhere between organized and "controlled chaos" now and I feel so, so much better.

I recommend that you clean your desk for YOU. Don't wait to do it for others.
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