For the record this is not a suggestion. I have absolutely no idea if there is a proper way to keep these things organized, and I’m certain that there is a better way than what I’m doing now.
However, I do know that when I started teaching and suddenly had 24 classes to separately keep track of I was at a complete loss as to how to do it. I was missing things and just generally doing the students a disservice by not being as organized as I could have been.
So after a little while I sat down to really sort through everything. And this is what I came up with. Again, it’s not perfect, and honestly it might not even be good. But I know that the new intake of EPIK teachers are starting soon and so maybe this will be helpful to some of them. And for everyone else, I hope this is at least interesting.
Here we go! This is how I stay organized at school.
The first thing is my notebook. Well kind of notebook. It’s plastic and spiral bound but instead of having paper pages in the inside, it just has plastic paper sleeves. I use this to keep all of my more big picture documents together. I have my class schedule, the academic calendar for the whole semester, a map of the school, my lesson plan schedule, and currently a bunch of random rubrics from the speaking tests last semester.
Usually I also keep a miscellaneous stack of paper tucked into the back of that binder, that honestly I often have no idea why I’m carrying them around with me all day every day. Usually its random notes scribbled about classes or some Korean vocab I’m studying. The stack grows very steadily without me noticing it until suddenly I realize that I’m toting around a giant stack of unnecessary papers to every single class.
Then there’s my “class tracker” clipboard. This was the game changer for me. If you’re just starting out as an EPIK teacher you’ll probably be in a similar situation as I am where you have a LOT of students and about 7 classes for each grade. So it’s very easy to forget which class you told, “we’ll finish this game next week” or “I’ll bring you candy next time.” I also keep track of which listening sections in the book we covered that day.
After every class I come back into the office and write down how the class went, how they liked the lesson, who was particularly good or bad, and what activities we covered.
This is also my way of learning students names. Every time I have a conversation with a student or they do something that I know I will remember them for, I look up their name in the class book in our office and then write down their name and what we talked about, or what they did.
This helps a LOT. So right before class starts I’m able to look at the class page and remember what we did last week, how the class went, and go over the names of the students in that class before I walk into the room.
And the last thing is my daily Post-it note. Because there are so many schedule changes and classes canceled for various reasons, the different classes often get out of sync with one another. So sometimes 5 of the grade three classes have moved on to next weeks lesson but the other 2 are still behind for what ever reason.
So each morning I look through that class tracker sheet and see where we were as of last week and write what I will be doing with each class today. And then I stick it on the first plastic page of my binder under my schedule.
And that’s about it! Honestly the most important thing for me is writing down how each class went right after it happens. It’s so helpful to be able to look at that next week and see, “They had a hard time with listen and speak 1 but they did the activity well. Promised them we’d finish the game this week. So-and-so talked to me about visiting China.”
It takes all of 30 seconds to write that stuff down but it helps exponentially to keep me sane everyday. And it also gives me a chance to maintain the particular flow I have with each class.
If you have any other ways that you stay organized while teaching I’d love to know about it! Thanks for reading!