I met a new substitute teacher friend today who has become tormented with the nature of the job of not knowing where she is going to be each day. It has become a struggle for her to get up each day and go to work as she feels ill-prepared for the day. I for one strive on this chaos. I love getting to go to different places each day and meet new people. I wanted to bless students and I have been given way more students to bless than I had originally anticipated. I realize however that not everyone is like me. But here is one simple way to better enjoy your job…GET ORGANIZED. With the advent of technology, many subs find themselves spreading their gifts in multiple districts…I sub in 4…and thus it is imperative to be a little OCD in your organization. After talking with my new friend, I found that much of her disdain is in not having control and security in her career. One way to have control is through Organization. Here is how Queen Scarlet organizes…
1. I first created an excel notebook to keep track of payments…when one subs in many districts it is highly likely that a day might be missed in payment. You could use a regular calendar planner if you are not tech savvy.
2. Next I created a folder for each district. I bought 4-3 ring folders. The left side is for elementary, the right side is for middle school, and the middle is for essential documents such as the district school-year calendar. The Post-It Note seen in the picture is for directions to each school from my home. They are stacked on top of one another. This allows me to save time by not looking up each school every time I accept a job.
3. These are placed in a file bin, so that when I get that 2am call I can just grab the folder and place it in my bag. Behind my district files there are other file folders for items I beg, borrow, and steal from teachers as I travel…all being collected for when I have that dream job.
4. Each day I carry an old laptop bag (which my new laptop does not fit). The back pocket has 4 containers in it that store essential items (see list below). The middle pocket always has a notebook for me to jot ideas as I travel…if you sub for intervention specialists you often get to travel to other classrooms and while there you may see juicy ideas you want to remember. This pocket also always contains my current read…right now it is Understanding By Design. The front pockets have more essential items.
Essential Items…what does she carry???
-Sharpened Pencils; whenever you see free pencils…take a couple. Students always lose their pencils
-Pens (Colored and Regular)
-Dry Erase Markers (Fat & Skinny)
-Whistle; you never know when you will have playground duty
-Mini Stapler & Staples
-Flash Drive for documents & Flash Drive for music; when sites like Pandora.com are blocked
-Tampons and Pads; when working Junior High you never know when a student may be in need
-Reward Stickers (I like happy faces and stars)
-Post-It Notes of various sizes (you can always cut big ones)
-Change; for that 1pm pick me up soda! 🙂
-Point and Shoot Camera; to take pictures of those juicy ideas you see in your travels
-Hand Sanitizer, Hand Lotion, Tissues, Nail File, Mini-Umbrella
***Keep all of the above items in your bag (buy duplicates if you need to…I think I own a million umbrellas), so that you can just grab and go and aren’t rushing around looking for needed items in the morning rush.
This system works for me! Try to find your own system…beg, borrow, and steal any of my ideas as well! I gurantee you will enjoy your job more as you will have less stress. Enjoy!