Teaching is a demanding profession. Teachers are constantly navigating through a chaotic whirlwind that is at times rewarding, but at other times extremely stressful. They work long hours both inside and outside of school, putting up with everything their students throw at them whilst keeping calm and composed. It therefore comes as no surprise that work related stress among teachers has significantly increased in the last decade and during the recent pandemic, with many teachers leaving the profession or retiring early.
Imagine putting an already stressed-out teacher into a classroom which is untidy and disorganised, with paper everywhere and inadequate office storage solutions, surely a recipe for disaster?
As it happens the key to managing some of the stress is down to keeping the classroom organised. This type of organisation means storing items such as pens, pencils, and paints in correctly labeled cubbies or Gratnell storage trays. A well-organized classroom is not only beneficial for teachers, students benefit form an organized classroom as well because it promotes a relaxed environment where they can focus and learn.
Before we look at ways to guarantee an organised classroom let’s look at some benefits as to why it is important.
The Benefits of an Organised Classroom:
Improving environmental factors in a classroom like design and organization can boost the learning process in primary school children by as much as 16% - source The HEAD Project (Holistic Evidence and Design) 2015.
Saves time and energy
As a teacher, a well-organized classroom means that you save time, space and energy in your average teaching day.
Encourages good behavior
A tidy, well organized classroom encourages good behavior allowing students to take pride in their surroundings and belongings.
Creates a sense of belonging
When you give the children responsibility for helping you keep the classroom tidy, you will be contributing to their sense that it is a place where they belong – it is theirs.
So, it is now clear to see that an organised classroom will benefit the teacher and their students throughout the day. There are numerous demands placed on teachers by pupils and staff throughout the day, so why add to that level of stress? By organizing the classroom so you can find and locate everything you and the pupils need at a moment notice, a win for everyone!
Think ‘Learning Environment’ rather than ‘Classroom’
Before you start labelling and colour coding trays and cubby holes its worth thinking about your classroom as a ‘learning environment’ rather than a room. Ultimately the best learning environment is one where different types of work can happen simultaneously. Think of an office layout where there are office desks, meeting tables, breakout areas and quiet zones. A classroom or learning environment should allow for and support both teachers and pupils for all types of learning and collaboration.
So, without further ado let’s get started on 8 ways to guarantee an organized classroom
1. Start with your desk
Your teacher’s desk is the best place to start as it’s usually the main focal point of any classroom. While it can be tempting to personalize with your favorite gifts, photos or mugs its’ important to keep the number of items to a minimum. Also, it sets a good example to the students and promotes good managing skills for the students. If a pupil has a messy area, they can look to your desk for ideas on how to keep their own classroom table free from clutter. You also will need to keep a space clear to mark papers, work with students, or just as a safe zone to put down your coffee.
2. Colour coordination
When it comes to classroom organization, colour coordination can be your best friend or star pupil! There are lots of ways you can group things by colour. From matching pencils with the same colour tins, to assigning library books with coloured labels depending on the subject. Colours can really help you easily separate resources and items.
3. Use your wall space more effectively
Get creative with your wall space, adapting it for storage purposes. You could get creative with your pupils and create some felt pouches to be hung on the wall. They would be perfect for storing supplies like pens and pencils, or you could assign a class member a pouch each and let them store their individual stationary items.
Or, if you are looking for a more permanent solution for wall space storage, we can offer bespoke floor to ceiling EducationWalls solutions. A storage wall maximizes storage capabilities and minimizes the loss of premium floor space. Smart screens and charging points (for tablets / laptops), to lockers and Gratnell trays can be seamlessly integrated into this attractive, multi-purpose system.
Additionally, our sister Education website Edu-quip offers combination cupboards with trays and shelves, available as freestanding or mobile options in a wide choice of configurations. The Aztec large double door cupboard with 36 trays would be a perfect solution to keep everything neat, tidy and organized. Different colors are available to suit any classroom and are built to withstand heavy use.
4. Be ruthless about binning stuff
When it comes to keeping a classroom organized, it is best practice to get rid of the things that you don’t need. Check your desk drawers and storage boxes for bits of paper or other things that you just don’t need and get rid of it all. Setup a system that, if you haven’t used something over a certain period, it gets binned. Or if you have old digital copy and files delete them too. Without having to wade through loads of stuff you don’t use, it’ll make finding the things you do a whole lot easier. Slim Jim Bins and Slim Jim Bin Lids are space saving and promotes responsible recycling, setting a great example to the pupils.
5. Get your crates and trays in order
No matter how much unnecessary stuff you throw away, there’s no getting away from just how much stuff teachers have in their classroom. Folders, books, resources, paperwork, craft equipment, and supplies. It all needs to be stored, and for that you need storage boxes, combination tray classroom storage, and crates. Use some of the other colour coding tips that we’ve mentioned previously so that each tray has a specific purpose. The Mexo White and Bright Cube are available in various different sizes and colors, with deep storage trays and are perfect solution for guaranteeing an organized classroom. Handwoven baskets are also a great idea for keeping everything in one place and are lightweight and inexpensive.
6. Bring in a visual schedule
Help your class get organized everyday by creating a wall-mounted schedule. Broken down by each day, list the activities and subjects you’ll be covering and add any helpful reminders for yourself or your class if something important, such as an event, is coming up. The classmate whiteboard for example is a double-sided whiteboard with plain or gridded surface and the plastic frame has four bright colours with a handy pen tray on the lower frame section. If you want to involve your pupils in the lesson planning, then why not offer them a writing board such as the Fold and Write wood writing board which includes 2 x Red Gratnell storage trays.
You may not think acoustics plays any part in the organization of your classroom but if you think of sound as a tangible, visible object, would your classroom be messy (loud) or tidy (quiet)? Acoustics is often overlooked, as sound is invisible, yet it does have an enormous impact on stress levels and your ability to teach. Noisy classrooms are often the result of noise paths (echo's) bouncing off hard surfaces such as walls and ceilings. By protecting your classroom from these bounces and echoes by using acoustic baffles, acoustic wall tiles or acoustic ceiling tiles you will have effectively organized the acoustics of the classroom. This will in turn create a less overly stimulating environment for children to learn in helping their concentration and performance levels. We offer a many fun acoustic solutions, suitable for schools and colleges, such as the Haven Clouds and AKU Safari ceiling baffles.
8. Choose desks that incorporates IT equipment
If your teaching pupils IT skills, using computers to aid the learning process, then it’s likely that there will be a lot of hardware and cables to keep tidy. Standard school or exam desks do not accommodate for cables and computer tower units meaning that cables and computer towers will be on the floor which can be a health and safety issue. Additionally, when it comes to cleaning the classroom, it helps if equipment is up off the floor. So, by choosing desks which are specifically for IT use, such as the Venus ICT desk you will be able to keep everything secure and organized.
There are of course more tips and suggestions to help to guarantee an organised classroom but we hope these will be enough or at least give food for thought to make a start. By keeping an organized classroom, you will save time looking for things and have more time to give to teaching and other important tasks. When things are in order and well-planned pupils are more cooperative and engaged which is a contributory factor for a productive learning environment.
Thanks for reading!