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Step One: Building Student Relationships and Classroom Organization - Teachers On The Block

Step One: Building Student Relationships and Classroom Organization

The why Behind Creating “Guide to Leaving the Classroom On Time”

My first year of teaching I never went home before 6 o’clock. I went to the school every weekend for several hours and I was just trying to keep my head above water. IT. WAS. EXHAUSTING. After that year I tried to spend less hours up at the school, but found it difficult. Does this sound like you too?

I know teaching will never be an 8-4 job, but no one needs to spend 50+ hours each week at the school. At times I felt if I spent less time at the school then others might think I cared less about my students. “Teacher guilt” began to set in quickly. When I became pregnant with my first child I decided enough was enough. I cannot worry about what others think and I need to spend less time at the school for the sake of my family and myself. So I began to analyze how I can become more efficient completing all of the “tasks” teachers have to do while simultaneously increasing student achievement. I thought about what I did efficiently and where I could improve my efficiency.

So for the past few years I have increased my efficiency, spent less time in the classroom, and increased student achievement. Throughout the 2019-2020 school year I will upload a blog post on a specific topic to help you do the same! as Rachel Hollis would say, “If everything is important, than nothing is important.” Choosing one topic a month will help you to give it your all before moving to the next topic. She also says, “When the tide rises, all of the boats rise,” meaning when you choose to focus on one area, the others will improve as well.

Topic One: Building Student Relationships

“Kids don’t learn from People they don’t like” -Rita Pierson.

If students don’t know you love them, they cannot learn from you. It is essential for you to build relationships with your students at the beginning of the year and throughout the school year. In the “Guide to Leaving the Classroom “On Time,” you will find a get to Know Me page for your students and a recording sheet to document what you learn about each student. In order to increase engagement, plan lessons around the interests of your students. When they are interested in what you are teaching, they are more likely to retain the information. It is important to know who is in their family in order to have conversations with your students and for the student to understand you genuinely care about them. The other parts of the Get To Know Me page will give you insight on how your students like to learn and work. This knowledge will help you set up an environment suitable for your learners.

Here are some other resources to learn more about your students:

  • Love Letter from Parent (Freebie)
  • Family Portrait- Students draw a picture of their family and pets. On the back, I like to have the students draw their bedroom. This way you know if they are sharing a room and what their interests are.
  • Love language quiz
  • How I like to Learn Quiz
  • Lunch Groups once a week
  • Morning Meeting/Circle Time
  • Two Truths and a Lie
  • All About Me Pages


Classroom Organization

The best way to cut down on time spent in the classroom is to get organized!! I am in no way an organizing expert and I will not be the next Mari Condo. What I do know is, the less time you spend trying to find something, the more time you have to do something. Whether you are reading this at the beginning of the school year, the middle of the school year, or it’s the summer, it’s time to start thinking about how you can get organized. The Guide to Leaving the Classroom “On Time” has a page for you to plan out how you will organize different objects in your classroom. If you are a new teacher, you could ask one of your teammates how they organize these materials to get some ideas.

The first thing you have to do is purge your classroom. Take it one section at a time and get rid of all of the junk you do not use. You cannot begin to organize until you know what you have and what you no longer need. During the purge phase I ask my sweet custodians for the large rolling trashcans so I can do some serious purging!

Next, decide whether you are going to be a paper person or a digital person. Either way you are going to need to create folders and organize your teaching resources. You can organize folders by subject, unit, or week in the school year. This will cut down on time spent lesson planning for the years to come! Each of your teaching materials will be at your fingertips.

It is now time to organize your manipulatives, classroom library, student supplies, and teacher resource books. There are so many ways to organize these materials and below are a few examples:

Task Card Storage

Leveled Library

Daily Items Organization

You can find more tips on organization from a previous post here.


Remember, these are just the first steps to spending less time in the classroom! Each month I will publish a post on the next topic. You can download the full free guide below!


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