Well, I’m not sure what my weekend therapy will be this weekend. The only thing I can hope is that it is NOT food-craft, since I spent the last two snow days eating and cooking, and cooking and eating. I returned to school today mainly to run from the sugar-induced chronic heartburn I developed while gouging on comfort foods. I mean, in part I think it was a reaction to fight or flight impulses- must isolate! On the other hand, snow days are akin to summers; you are on vacation and thus do not retain calories. Except you do and I gained ten pounds.
Anywho, I should find something relevant to talk about. Got it! Binders! I have always had a second, very type-A personality at my work places. With two kids, a puppy, and a husband, I clearly have very little control over my environment, so when I am at work I am a neurotic organizational freak. I know the topic of binders does not seem exciting- and now that I can see my enthusiasm from an outsiders perspective, it does shame me a bit- but they are my life! Ever since I started working in the school system, I have found that good binders can make your day insanely more time-efficient. This, as we know, is the key to the educational job- because just as you gear up for one task, you just know a kid is going to be referred in crisis, or an upset parent is going to call, or an impromptu meeting is going to be added, or an administrator is going to need to have something investigated, or you are going to remember a training or task that is almost overdue, or you can just take your pick.
Those binders look so good I can hardly stand it. I really am sick, I know. The mini one is my binder for quickie and informational meetings, and a place where I keep smaller bits of informaiton like class IDs or phone codes. I like pretty colored binders because I like to have happy things in my work environment. I know how trite that sounded, and I am ok with it. The Daily Record binder has all of my daily notes sheets (I plan on sharing this later) so if I need to reference something in the past I have everything right there. The 504/SRT/SST binder houses all of my extra sheets, instructions, etc for these types of plans, so I can grab everything together when I’m running out of the office to meet a parent or team. The Handouts binder keeps extras and master copies of things I use, mostly of which I have made (for every handsome binder I enjoy, I equally love to make informational handouts and worksheets- one of the most valuable things I learned in grad school).
The General Information binder is my baby. My Queen B. My BFF. The pages have changed for different sites I have been in, and the tabs have changed for different jobs, but it travels with me. I really vamped this bad boy up after my internship, in which my site supervisor showed me what she calls her “Bible.” So true. This has my master schedule, meeting notes, registration information, school specific information, state information, resources, and core team specific information. I yank this thing out several times a day, and again, can grab it as I glide over to a meeting or P/T Conference and have all of the sources I need. This was especially helpful when I subbed at different schools, and started in my new school. Let’s take a second to honor my Ace, my binder. It just…it just makes me happy.
I have to recommend finding a system that works for anyone working in the school system. It is the same as we tell the kids- when our work space is less cluttered, so too is our brain. Seriously, I think having a binder system helps me to keep the many tasks we are responsible for separate, while also making it easier to find the things I need in a pinch. I certainly have gone to the dark side before, over-complicating my process, and have since paired it down to make things work for me in the moment. I’m sure this will change as I do as a professional, but for the moment I know what I need and where to find it. Now that’s some good workday therapy right there.