[Response to Chapter 24 in Burke’s “The English Teacher’s Companion”]

Burke discusses many ways to help teachers “organize,” which can often be one of the biggest personal learning lessons teachers go through. I have to admit that I would consider myself highly organized (almost in an obsessive-compulsive way, ha!) and find myself stressed if I do not have things how they should be. However, with that said, I also am open-minded in that I understand not everyone is like me in my obsession for organization. For this reason, it does not bother me that others are not organized because everyone has their own “system,” which is one of the points Burke makes when he mentions his organization methods. [But for me personally, well, I’ve just got to be.]

Though I am highly organized, Burke mentions one of my biggest faults:  backing up. I am much better at this system now then I was; however, this renewed habit only stems from my previous mistake(s) of not backing up and then paying the consequences (i.e. losing all of my pictures, retyping a 25-page lab write-up). Computing provides accessibility, but to fully revel in that accessibility means to make sure you back everything up!

Tying into the accessibility issue, Burke notes, “It’s important to be able to find documents you create” (460). His quote made me think back to how we have used web 2.0 tools, such as delicious, and how having that digital realm can really be a huge plus because you have access anywhere, at any time.

I also really liked his idea of the binder. It not only alleviates big, bulky files and absurdly crowded filing cabinets, but it is a practical way for you – and others – to find everything immediately.

Burke says, “You have a right to a life and must learn to achieve that life while at the same time being the good teacher you want to be” (460). I could not agree more and truly believe that being organized (in whatever way best suites you) is one of the keys to doing this!


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