Managing your work space at school

Jane Wood-Chambers

Sunday, 9 June 2019

A classroom is an unusual workspace; over 30 people access and use it and it is also multi-functional, but there is one person responsible for its overall organisation, accessibility and ensuring it is fit for purpose!

We often discuss what the learning environment should look like, but is there any guidance for colleagues about what the teacher's area and administrative organisation should look like and be like?

Being on top of our paperwork, deadlines and planning give us all a wonderful feeling of contentment and peace. There is never an end to our workload, but there are those rare moments when you feel like you have done all that you need to do for the next few days and are planned and organised for the coming weekend.

cartoon school

One of the keys to achieving this goal and the nirvana that is being ahead of the game is having systems and systems that work for you.

I made sure that I set up my teachers’ area in a space that was not too accessible. Before the new term, I cleared my class and had, in my area, the resources that I felt would be useful to my year ahead. These were then looked at briefly and anything I had to keep but was not going to be used, I stored away in boxes on the bottom shelf.

Books, past papers and additional resources I had made, were a priority and were categorised and labelled as I knew when the term started there would not be much time to go searching for them! I used trays to store my paperwork and files also.

Newsletters and the weekly diary that were often sent online were printed and anything relating to me and my class was highlighted and annotated as necessary. This was then stuck on the wall (with blu-tack of course!) My planning was displayed; the medium-term plan and the short term and the past week's short-term plan was filed with my annotations of how the week went as part of my assessment process.

Children’s work that needed to be marked was also placed in my area. Handwriting books, diary writing and maths exercises that all needed daily checking were stored there and marked either the night before or early the next day. Work that needed trimming and mounting for display was in a separate tray for my teaching support to oversee and the pupils to do.

building blocks (1)

Keeping yourself fed and hydrated is essential and helps when the workload stops that all important trip to the staff room at break time.

Trip letters, newsletters and other important notes home were left near there to be taken to the door in a tray for me to hand out at the end of the school day. I would get the pupils to write their names on the letters and then when one was found floating in the playground you knew who had lost theirs and who to give it to the next day!

Return slips were popped in an envelope that had a class list stuck onto it and the names were ticked off as the slips came in.

I always made sure my area had a stock of fresh fruit, cereal bars, occasional treats (Friday chocolate biscuits) and a huge bottle of water! Work out the systems that work for you and your class and if the paper/letter/ report or information sheet is not needed then rather than keep it recycle it!

And remember always leave your classroom as if you are not in the next day - then if you are unwell or delayed, your classroom and its organisation is one less thing for you to worry about!


About our Community Expert


Jane Chambers-Wood
Editorial Advisory Board Lead

Over 27 years of educational experiences in a number of settings. Developed a clear vision and ethos for inclusion which puts the child at the centre and a clear understanding of how to support, engage and nurture the individual.

Ability to train all staff through effective and reflective continual professional development in behavioural management techniques that begin, establish and maintain change in all.

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