This week is report card conference week in my district. Throw in the holiday shopping and other commitments in our lives right now, and it's nuts. Organization is key in getting through this busy time, therefore I am newly in love with one of the storage items I purchased this summer. This beauty:
I will tell you the truth--I'm a procrastinator. While it doesn't often ruin my life, it does cause me a lot of internal anxiety of my own creation. I vowed this year that I would get ahead on photocopying all of the things I would need for the week, and I'm using this to help. Basically, I separate out everything I will need for a particular day by drawer. I know that this isn't a new concept, and that lots of people are successful with a system like this. What I knew that I personally needed were bins--bins that would not only hold copies, but anything else I might need for a lesson that wouldn't fit into, say, a file folder system.
The top drawer holds my chart and dry erase markers, tape, etc. The rest hold my daily lesson supplies by day. What I need to do is re-label with days of the week. No special reason, I just think I'll like the way it looks better. Also, I can see other uses for this, most especially to cover up the clutter. My own kids have them full to the brim with Legos in their bedrooms, and now I can actually stand going in there. Writing workshop supplies and math manipulatives, for example, could be hidden nicely.
What does this have to do with conferences? Well, like most teachers, I get crazy stressed out beforehand, and being organized means I won't terrorize my family when I get home all stressed out and exhausted. As an aside, believe it or not, I actually love conferences. To me, touching base in depth for the first time (for most kids) makes parents feel connected and reassured (for the most part). This in turn makes me feel good. I feel the same way as a parent myself, so I try to keep that in mind--to always remember that everything parents say, think and feel in conferences comes from the best place, even if they are unhappy or unpleasant. After all, they send us their most important person in the world every day. In my experience, while parents want the academic scoop, they also really want to know that you like their child, and that you know them really well. The only unpleasant conference I've ever had for my own child was one in which the teacher couldn't have been less invested in my son, and couldn't have had less of an understanding of him as a little person. I work my hardest to make sure that this doesn't happen.
Being organized with my lesson materials is helping to keep me calm and less stressed this week, so thank you Ikea. If you have conferences this week as well, I wish you calm and good luck!