I was one of those kids: So excited for the start to school, especially the purchase of all the school supplies.
I don't go quite as crazy for the start of school these days, but every year does tend to bring with it one fun new thing to add to my collection of teaching tools.
Let me start by sharing one of my biggest challenges to finishing a class.
There's often a line of about ten students waiting to ask me something. There's another professor waiting to set up his/her class, which starts in 10 minutes. I need to get to a different classroom and setup and test my laptop. And the clock keeps ticking…
More times than I care to admit, something gets lost in the shuffle. In the past, I've left behind my cell phone, my laptop power cord, a water bottle, or the cord I use to connect my laptop to the projector.
These are not inexpensive things to replace, as you can imagine.
The potential solution
I'm hoping that the back-to-school purchase that I made is going to make a difference.
I purchased a Grid It bag organizer, in the hopes that I'll stop leaving things behind in the classroom.
This organizer is extremely flexible and allows you to find the perfect spot to store key essentials for your teaching (electronics, or otherwise).
I've got my Grid It mostly packed now, with:
- VGA to projector cord
- Mobile device power cord
- Binder clips
- Writing implements
- Powerpoint remote clicker
- Macbook power cord
- USB to Cat5 cord
The final essential item to be packed is a container of mints. When I was searching on Amazon, they seemed awfully expensive, but perhaps it has just been a while since I purchased mints.
My plan is to remove this Grid It from my bag as I'm setting up for class. Then, when I'm done teaching, I'll put any items that I removed back into the Grid It and will place it back in my teaching bag.
My hope is that I'll notice an empty spot in the grid, if something is missing, which will prompt me to look around and replace the item. This won't help me if I leave my phone behind, since I tend to keep my phone in my purse and not in my teaching bag.
I use my phone a lot when I'm teaching, especially for the Attendance2 app. That's the app that helps me call on students randomly, or place them into random groups. I use it at least a few times during each and every class.
I suspect that if I could just get in the habit of only placing the phone down on the same table where my laptop is, I wouldn't have as much of an issue. However, I'm not as confident in that “fix” as I am in the Grid It's potential for helping me not leave other stuff behind.
[reminder]Do you have any back-to-school purchases that you've made to help your year of teaching go better?[/reminder]