Keeping Up with Paperwork

Paperwork. The bane of every teacher's existence. It seems that it is never-ending. If you are a general ed teacher, it's data out of the ears. In special ed, some more data and IEP paperwork. No one wins. So, how do you make sure that you don't get behind and overwhelmed with it all?

Everyone has their own way of doing things. Here is the way I keep from falling behind.

First, I keep a desk calendar, digital calendar, and planner. I do not care what kind of planner you have as long as it works for YOU. I, personally, love the ones you can buy at Target. They usually carry Blue Sky planners, and lately, have been carrying Suger Paper planners.

Why a calendar in so many areas? I use the desk calendar so I can quickly see at-a-glance what my month or week looks like. I like the digital calendar so that I can take a look at my day first thing in the morning and get my head into the right mindset and not forget appointments. Lastly, I keep the planner to keep me on track.

The second thing you need to know is that I like to stay a week ahead. This means that if I have on my calendar an IEP meeting for Wednesday, I place the to-do in my planner the Wednesday BEFORE the actual meeting. By immediately placing it in my to-do list in my planner, I am less likely to forget AND it allows me a tiny bit of leeway in case of an emergency.

Thirdly, I use my planner as a check-off list of things I need to do. Anytime a thought strikes, I immediately place it in my planner. This is why planners with plenty of writing space and lines are essential. Once it is placed, I am then able to remember that it needs to get done during my conference period without the "what was I supposed to do again?"

So, you may be sitting there and thinking I am crazy. This sounds like way too much work! And It does sound like that. However, I have built a reputation in my school as the person who is always on top of things and never late with paperwork. I promise you, that is not natural to me. I have some major attention deficits and have spent most of my life as a slob because I cannot focus long enough to get something done. By having this system, though, I have been able to go home at night knowing I truly do have everything that needs to be done on my radar and nothing is being forgotten.

If you are constantly struggling to meet your deadlines, give my method a try. I can't promise miracles, but it has worked for me so far.

Do you have a magical way of keeping up with paperwork?

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