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A manifesto on teaching simply January 14, 2008

Posted by classroomzen in Manifesto.
Tags: , , , ,

Everyone has their own reason for becomming a teacher. Maybe you care deeply about your subject. Maybe you like working with kids.  Maybe you picked the three best reasons of all: June, July and August.  But there is one reason no one becomes a teacher: paperwork.  No one sits down with their college advisor and says, “Is there a professon where I can critically read 130 short essays about the same subject in one night?  At home?  For free?”

Our goal at Classroom Zen is to gather the various tricks teachers are using to fight the war on paperwork and put them into one place.  We want to look at what those in the business world are doing with Getting Things Done and similar systems and modify them so they work for us.  We want teachers to stop having to remember 76,216 different things at once so you can concentrate on teaching your lesson.  Most importantly we want to free you up so you can get creative again and come up with fun lessons that develop real understanding. If you’re the kind of teacher who is Googling your lesson plans 15 minutes before the start of class this is the blog for you.

If you’re the kind of teacher who hasn’t seen the surface of your desk in four weeks this is the blog for you.  If you’re the kind of teacher who late to every meeting because you just can’t find that stupid sheet of stupid paper you put down right there not five minutes ago then this is the blog for you.More to come…



1. John Morris - January 28, 2008

The key really is organization and having a system. I am a new teacher (this is my 4th year teaching high school algebra and geometry) that came to education after sixteen years in the automobile manufacturing industry. I’ve read Getting things Done and highly recommend it. As I read it I saw a lot of the tools that I used while working industry to keep it together. I think that the system is a little too complicated for what we teachers need, but the general principles can be easily applied.

My first two months of teaching were pretty much as described above. I would be in my classroom until nine at night trying to figure out what and how I was going to teach the next day.

Finally, one weekend, I sat down and planned the entire semester by laying out the general topics in the sequence that I wanted to cover and then began designing units and lessons from that framework. After about twelve hours of solid work I had objectives, lessons, activities, and assessments all ready to go.

Having everything planned out allowed me to take the focus off of what I was going to teach and let me start thinking about how I was going to help my students learn what I want them to learn.

Another great help was Harry Wong and his book “The First Days of School.” Believe me, Harry is the man! The Marzano books are good with theory, but for practical advice that I have found works for me, this is the book to get.

2. Gavin - January 28, 2008

Good luck with this blog. I’ll be following with interest. I’m a third-year maths teacher in Australia. I’m getting better at it, but still find the paperwork difficult. It’s not the marking so much; it’s the millions of bits of paper and the micro-tasks that flood in from all directions: students, other teachers, head teacher, administrators. It’s keeping track of all the little facts you need without getting bogged down.

I see other teachers keeping on top of things well, so there must be ways to do it.

3. Raz - January 28, 2008

New reader here!
Greetings from Mexico!

4. Paul Benjamin - January 29, 2008

I’m onboard….

Good luck from Tokyo…

5. ideapreneur - January 29, 2008

I’ll be following along as well, I enjoy reading other blogs that focus on empowering teachers in one way or another. My blog is for those teachers who are interested in diversifying their incomes by starting a part-time biz especially with June, July, and August is part of the benefits package 😉

Stop by and leave a comment!

6. Simon - January 30, 2008

Looking forward to following along…

7. Mike - February 17, 2008

10 years into the teaching profession…I have been using a modified GTD system that works really well for me. When you unclutter and prioritize, you can free your mind to focus on the important instead of the administrivial. Wasting our time with paperwork doesn’t help our students learn.

8. Aisha - February 22, 2008

Greetings from Lahore, Pakistan. I’m a teacher cum curriculum developer, who after an exhausting eight years of wearing many hats at school, is now taking time off to care for a toddler. 🙂

@Mike: Would you consider sharing your system?

9. flotoonie - May 14, 2008

I am a 9th year teacher and I am still looking for a edge on the paper work. I look forward to reading your ideas.

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