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Do you need a touch of OCD to be a good teacher or can a reformed slob make the grade?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Time4Tea, May 15, 2011.

  1. Time4Tea

    Time4Tea New commenter

    Overheard two respected colleagues discussing their OCD tendencies and reflected that I am anything but. Can quite happily coexist with a degree of chaos, generally well organised at what I see as important things, but terrible at systematic filing etc. End up having to have a big clear out and know I waste time not being able to find things easily.

    Anyone else been able to train themselves to be more systematic? Can you be a good teacher if you're a bit of a slob at heart or is it just too hard to keep on top of the paperwork, planning, assessment etc?
  2. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    My desk resembles a recycling pile .............. but I know which papers are/aren't on there. I know exactly where a student's achievement is without resorting to looking it up in my mark book - probably a good thing because I am so bad at writing things down!

    I appear to be wholly disorganised because I am not tidy, but actually I am right on top of things - how does that fit with OCD??
  3. I'm not sure I'd link organisational traits with OCD. Those people I know/have known with OCD have really suffered as a result.
    I do think, however, that teachers need to be organised in the important areas of their job - planning, marking, recording grades etc. I've worked with people who haven't had those fundamental organisational (dare I say, management) skills are it's been a disaster!
  4. 'and'
  5. Time4Tea

    Time4Tea New commenter

    Sorry, reference to OCD was just my colleagues being flippant - but did make me reflect on different personalities' need for order and whether being naturally very disciplined about structure is an asset in teaching. Subtext being that, having been praised for my organisational and managment skills in previous jobs, I find the endless record keeping, assessment and paperwork in teaching quite challenging.
  6. Sorry, I wasn't trying to be Po-faced before!
    I think that the amount of paperwork we do as teachers (well, I'm in FE but I still <u>teach!)</u> has got progressively more and more each year I've been in the job. Unfortunately, I can't see it getting easier.
    If it weren't for the fact that I really love teaching and seeing my students go on to university as successful young adults I'd get the heck out but it's like a drug for me.
  7. I am very messy and untidy and my desk is always a mess, except for the once a term I decide to clear it. THis inevitably ends with me getting bored and firing everything into the bottom drawer. At times I try to get a bit more organised, but liek soemone else said, I find it hard to remember to write stuff down.
  8. It's a fine line between obsession and efficiency.
  9. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    You can't have a "touch" of OCD. It is a debilitating mental health condition.
  10. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I have colleagues who are very organised with tidy classrooms & colour-coded filing & others who operate a 'deep-filing system' (stays on the desk till needed / not needed & then thrown away 'cos it's obsolete or out of date).Both types can be very successful teachers & bring different aspects to their pupils, one of the best teachers I know has a very dis-organised desk but very clued-up as to children & is brilliant!
  11. I agree. The term is often used flippantly (as in the case the OP overheard).
    Some folk are tidy and organised, others are not. I am anally tidy and organised at work, at home I am not.
    OCD is something very different to being tidy and organised - it can cause anxiety and compulsive behaviour.
    (doglover, whenever this topic comes up I have to think of you and your Christmas tree - we had a discussion about that a few years ago xxx)
  12. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Oh, that's me too!
  13. I think it is quite common.
    Although I can't find the logic behind it.
    I make the excuse that I spend more time at work than at home...if you count up the hours in a month.
    But that is just an excuse.
    However, I don't think I could live in a home which has resources colour coordinated and filed, with references and a place for everything so that I can find it within 5 seconds.
    It would exhaust me!
  14. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    I think there are shades of OCD. Many people have feelings of mild anxiety that are relieved by small rituals and double-checking routines. It's not always a full-on disability.
    Being over-organised for its own sake can have benefits in teaching, when bits of paper and miscelaneous 'stuff' comes easily to hand, but can be a real pain for colleagues if they don't understand.
    I, on the other hand, am of the frame of mind that it is very important to develop a good piling system...
  15. After using my bedroom floor as my practice teaching file for my PGCE, I have become a fan of OCD organisation. At least I can now get out of bed without putting a ring binder through my foot
  16. LOL - I have often gawped when reading about practice teaching files. What a waste of paper. Really, it could all be stored on a memory stick and sent as pdfs to the mentor - even lesson plans really don't need to be printed if you have your laptop in the classroom anyway and annotations and evalutions can be typed in.
    That is me being far to anal again, isn't it? (I have just been on a 3 day seminar without a single scrap of paper - all done on a beamer and the handouts then uploaded to a link on the network to a file to which we all have access. It was bliss! Much better than death by powerpoint or a foot thick file to wade through for the tiddly bit you need)
  17. [​IMG]
    Me too! I always worry about being a bit rubbish at paperwork, but a colleague recently pointed out that I never miss a deadline (or get near to it, actually) and if anybody wants a document I can find it in seconds.
  18. That is all that counts [​IMG]

  19. Ditto!
  20. I think people misinterpret high organisation as OCD. I think you can be disorganised and have OCD like tendencies.

    Although I am much better now I periodically suffer from excessive hand washing, I have had bleeding hands etc in the past and excessive checking of switches. I also suffer sometimes with a blinking tic where I have to blink a certain number of times.

    However, my desk at work is an indescribable mess. It is currently overflowing into piles of paper on the floor. Every so often I get stressed and tidy it but it always ends up the same...

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