Recently, while on my way to a job in Florida, I received a call from the wonderful Tracee Binion, Health and Safety Coordinator for the Jefferson County American Federation of Teachers. She introduced herself and shared a great idea. She asked me if I would be interested in organizing a classroom for an extreme classroom makeover– “Like the ones they show on television!” she said. She peaked my interest when she explained that it was a pilot program designed to improve air quality in the classroom for a public school in Jefferson County, Ala.


As a professional organizer, I understood exactly what she was talking about. Organizing space can have a positive impact on health by reducing stress, work-related accidents, among others, but it can also improve things like air quality. Let me tell you how we did it.


Tracee laid the groundwork by coordinating an entire team, finding the funding, and planning out the entire process. Her efforts allowed the project to grow to such grand proportions that we were able to double the project and organize two classrooms instead of just one!


Organizing a classroom is something of a challenge. It makes a difference how the space is used and when it comes to a classroom that depends on the age and number of students, the subjects being taught and requirements for special needs. The classrooms we tackled were a middle-school science classroom and an elementary special education room.


The teachers, Mrs. Reeser and Mrs. Grady, were struggling with so much clutter I could feel their pain. The science classroom had so little space that the 6-foot reptile tank (very popular with the kids) was actually partially blocking part of the doorway. Both teachers were doing their best to manage their space most efficiently, but because of their daunting challenges, their classrooms were chosen as the most “in need” of a makeover.


After analyzing how these teachers worked, what files they needed to store nearby, what they could file and what they could do without, we created a new space that worked with them instead of against them.


Have you ever noticed that a “stored” file collects dust and grows mold, but a “managed” file, since it is moved when necessary, doesn’t? That is how file management drastically improves air quality. By adding a paper management system, we reduced the stress on these teachers, improved the air quality, and increased the productivity of both these classrooms.


Both teachers were eager to learn how to manage their files—a mark of a great teacher, wouldn’t you agree? One of the keys to efficient paper management is Paper Tiger software. Paper Tiger is a filing system that is like putting a search engine on your file cabinet. Using key words, action dates and categories, Paper Tiger remembers where your files are and what’s in them so you don’t have to.


Paper Tiger software makes it easy for substitute teachers to find information in the classroom. Another benefit is there is always room for more. Numeric filing means no more shoving files deeper to the back of the drawer to squeeze one more folder in the “R” section!


We all should take lessons from Tracee and others on this project and just look at the faces of those children! They are our future leaders.


For more information, contact us at 205-980-2900.


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