Saturday, June 4, 2011

The One Bag Philosophy

After two years of teaching and schlepping an inordinate number of bags, preparing lunches, and trying to hold it together, I've come up with a philosophy all teachers should abide by. Hit the jump to see what I mean.
The one bag philosophy goes like this: you only carry one bag (and not a big one) to and from school. Sounds simple, but as any teacher can tell you, it's not. However, once you do a little forward planning, get into a routine and see the difference... well, you'll never go back. 

Here's what you do: 
Lunch - for me, there are grocery stores all around my neighborhood in the Bronx. On Monday, I take a prep and go buy my lunch for the week - a total of ten apples, ten small naval oranges, almonds, and maybe some seltzer water. I store this in one of my closets for the week. Now I'm not bring lunch each day OR having to fiddle with preparing it during the nights/in the morning.

Speaking of nutrition, buy yourself a permanent water bottle for school. Why are you lugging that thing to and fro? 

Laptop or computer - I sync all my files from my home computer to my personal netbook via Dropbox. If you've never heard of it, check it out because it's a simple way of using cloud storage to eliminate taking your laptop home or trying to remember if your flash drive is updated with all the right files because it syncs your home computer with your laptop via the internet. I now keep my netbook and the lcd projector locked in my class using a personal lock. Now I'm not bringing home a laptop and charger.

Grading - okay, sometimes I have to bring this home, however as someone who teaches 25 periods a week and teaches 11 separate classes for 200+ students, I can say that doing this at school is the best policy. It just takes a little discipline, but once you get into the habit, it becomes easy. Break it up into smaller chunks - spend 30 minutes a day grading your stuff, record it, and then you should have very little to take home. In fact, the only thing you want to take home is your grade book so you can input grades on a desktop computer (I have a large lcd monitor which makes it easier to input information than on a tiny laptop). Also, it's great to keep your gradebook data stored in your Dropbox file. Congrats! For the most part, you've eliminated the work you carry home. 

And what do you have left? I carry a satchel (lovingly referred to as a man purse) with a Kindle, lesson plan book, and any papers I need to photocopy. That's it. No large backpacks, no secondary bags. Just keeping it simple on the subway. 

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