Let’s face it. We all wish could be more organized. Even the most organized people I know are constantly looking for ways to change and revamp their systems. For me, organization (especially at work) just makes me breathe easier. Yes, you can have a method to your madness or an “organized” mess and still be a fantastic therapist!
However, here are a few reasons why I think it’s important to have an orderly speech room:
- I know where things are. How many times has your principal or supervisor asked you for a piece of paper that you couldn’t put your hands on right away? I hate it when that happens. I know it’s somewhere on my desk buried in one of the stacks of random papers that always seem to make their way to my speech room. Ha.
- I get more accomplished. When I have a system in place, I stay on top of my planning and paperwork. I don’t have to spend precious time looking for things or constantly going through stacks of papers.
- I’m not embarrassed when faculty or parents come in. Sometimes teachers or other faculty drop in to ask me questions. It’s a little embarrassing when they say, “Wow, your desk is as bad as mine.” I also want to look “put-together” when parents come in for a meeting or conference.
- I’m a more confident therapist. Just having a nice and neat space with all of my materials set out and papers in place makes me a little more confident in my skills and abilities as an SLP.
- It makes me happier. There’s a noticeable difference in my attitude on days when I come in to a clean empty desk and days when I come in to craziness.
DISCLAIMER: Some days will be crazy. Sometimes your desk and room will be messy. That’s just life. Don’t beat yourself up about it. I just try to clean up, get my system back in place, and start fresh the next day. 🙂
Have you been to the dollar store lately? They have some really great containers and baskets that you can snag for (you guessed it) a dollar! I spray painted mine black to match my room decor and use them to store different centers and small games. Plus, they look so cute in my closet and on my shelves. 🙂
2. Hanging pockets
I heart my hanging pockets. I use them to store artic worksheets and practice sheets by sound as well as language folders by grade. It makes it easy for me to tell my kiddos to grab something quickly.
3. Bulletin boards/Magnet boards
Does your classroom come with a mini bulletin board? Or perhaps a magnetic white board? If so, make use of that space! I use both my bulletin board and white board to hang notes, due dates, to-do lists, reminders, etc. I put some of my lists in frames and use them as wipe/erase. I can easily take them off and on and keep revamping my lists.
4. Little plastic drawers
What would I do without my little drawers? You can grab these drawers at your local Wal-Mart or Target. The Container Store even has some fancy ones that you can find here. I use these to keep the paperwork off my desk and in a safe place. It’s especially beneficial when you have stacks of papers to file. Some of the paperwork is confidential, so you don’t want it laying around your desk. These help keep them out of sight but easy to get to. Each drawer is clearly labeled with what goes inside, which leads me to my next essential item…
I did not realize the power of labels until last school year. I’m telling you, they will change your life lol. When things are labeled you are 98.3% more likely to put an item back in the right place (ok, I totally made that stat up, but it’s probably close!). I label my drawers, containers, baskets, file folders, everything I can. People probably think I’ve gone a little label crazy. 😉
The pictured labels are what I’m planning to use for my paperwork drawers for next year. I use some of them now but found that I needed to divide it up even further with more drawers. If you’re wondering what each means:
- Outgoing – things that are to be delivered to our SpEd center or another school
- To file – obvious…things that go in students’ IEP folders or in my file cabinet
- To complete – forms I need to fill out or papers that I didn’t get to finish
- To send home – paperwork that needs to be sent home with students
- To copy – papers that need to be copied
- Working – half-completed testing protocols, teacher checklists, or other things I’m working on
- Urgent – Things that need to be done like NOW. My goal is to not have things in this drawer. If an emergency came up, I just want to know where these papers are
- Misc. – Any other paper that comes across my desk.
My goal is to go through my drawers on Fridays to make sure I am keeping up with everything. We’ll see if that actually happens. Lol.
**You can grab these cute paperwork labels for free HERE! 🙂 Hope they come in handy!
I know that not all of us school-based SLPs are blessed with a big, elaborate classroom all to ourselves. My first several years I shared a small space with 2 other people, so I know what it’s like to have to make do with what ya got. Fortunately, I now have a nice space to use for speech. How do you make use of YOUR space? What kinds of things are “essential” for you to stay organized at work?