Resources

Resources

While I used to maintain something of a list of resources here, I believe you now are far better navigating to some of the blogs indicated in my links page. There you will find recommended links to the best central sites in the blogosphere that have collated all the resources from blogs like mine into one, communal stop.

Brilliant.

Instead, akin to a rock guitarist listing their equipment, I will list what I deem to be essential to my teaching practice:

At school (MLO) My Life Organized: Introduced to me by the legendary Chris Sharples, this is the single best to-do list piece of software I have used. Free to trial, something like £25-£50 last time I checked, there is literally nothing I need to do for work that isn’t on this in some form. See my upcoming post for more information about it.

Google Calendar: I have my Google account opened on my desktop as I work. Fantastic for scheduling meetings with students and staff on the fly. Very powerful for students to see you book them into your calendar. Also excellent for showing to other teachers who request your time.

Google Documents: I have 5 gig of teaching resources created/accumulated. Some were on the TES; I’m going to start sharing via teachit.co.uk soon. Needless to say, being able to search for ‘comma’ resources and fetching dozens of worksheets makes me feel like the hero of Ben Johson and enemy of Plato respectively…

Many post-it pads: I used to use a £212 HP IPAQ PDA – phew – (which hasn’t dropped in price for 5 years!) to take notes and create documents. Even though it was the most stable portable software available, it still crashed a few times a term. Post-it pads do all required a PDA in school; they even have a copy-paste(stick) function, and a delete option (*screws up paper…)

Pencils and pencil sharpeners: I rarely purchase clothes first-hand. As a man who has dedicated his efforts to the humanities, I rarely define myself on how close to £100 my jeans are. However, I do like expensive suits. Therefore, years of leaking pens have taught me that a plethora of quality pencils are only true option for writing on pads.

Insoles: As a teacher, you’ll be standing up for a hefty amount of time. Sometimes 5-6 hours a day, I imagine. If, like me, you have flat feet (or if you run far too much) you’ll destroy your legs. Do yourself a favour. Invest in some insoles. Professional if need be.

Pigeon hole on desk: You shouldn’t put any work in here. Simply bits of admin (pen, paper etc.) that should be to hand. On top I have a daily basket for whatever needs to be close to hand that day. It is either filed or binned at the end of every day.

Two desks: One for the computer, and to stick your timetables and homework and marking schedules. If you don’t have your own classroom, poor you!

Shelves for books: I used to have books on shelves alone. However, folders offers versatility for work options.

A decent view: Some classrooms face concrete blocks. I have rolling hills. Fate.

A decent chair: I would purchase a decent chair. However, avoid purchasing a Cowellesque throne – you are a teacher. Not a mogul. At home

A study/den: For three out of my seven years of teaching (both qualified and not) I have worked in the same place I have slept. It is a terrible condition. Working intensely requires a particular atmosphere that hangs around long after you have left the room.

Two desks: Again, a necessity. I have one (large) desk (second hand-£50) for marking. It has a hobby lamp, a desk mat, and very many cups and desk tidies. Another desk has my work computer.  This has two monitors (again, I should blog about that.) So much work is infinitely easier with two monitors. It needn’t be especially expensive, either.

An armchair: Every den/study needs a separate arm-chair. If you’re going to read some literature, or a particularly long/dense essay, then you want to have a particularly comfortable/different place to perch. Several bookcases: I have four, but could do with one more. Organising them is something else.

A coffee shelf: Every morning I have coffee, a vitamin drink and porridge. Doesn’t matter how I’m feeling, that’s my minimum fuel. I can’t believe that there isn’t a diet for teachers – you need to have a minimum amount of energy each day. Without that energy, you will burn out in months. You don’t see many obese teachers last long. Many.