Being one of those artsy-fartsy English teacher-types (and to the complete chagrin of my wife, and anybody who ever comes into contact with me) I am not the most organised of people.
Now when it comes to working in FE, this was sometimes somewhat of an issue as it meant that I was always a little unsure as to which room I was supposed to be in, who I was supposed to be teaching, what day it was and whether those were in fact my shoes rather than my son’s that I had on. It was the cause of many an epic eye-rolling and muchos muttering from my colleagues.
And I don’t blame them. Because when it comes to teaching, organisation is critical – you can be the best teacher in the world but that means diddly squat if you turn up to do your fabulous educating at the wrong campus building. Or so I’ve heard. Ahem.
I’d go further and suggest that ensuring that you are organised isn’t just essential for the teaching bits of teaching, but also for the less glamorous side of the job. Namely money.
Money and teaching often make strange bedfellows. Firstly because there's not much of it. And secondly because of the really weird and creepy attitude that emanates from some quarters that it really shouldn't be the reason that you're doing the job.
But to all hell with that. Ensuring you’re organised in regards to pay and even (I can feel myself visibly ageing as I hunch over the keyboard as I type this) pensions is essential. Pensions especially.
For someone who is usually living in an ever present and chaotic now, thinking about the future is not something that comes naturally. Pensions are one of those things that often seem very far off and therefore can be put at the bottom of the pile when it comes to priorities.
Without wanting to sound like one of those daytime adverts that go hand in hand with the numerous reminders of your imminent demise that broadcast into your home every 10 minutes or so when you're watching your favourite daytime soap opera, ensuring that you're getting the best deal, and also ensuring that your pension is doing what it's supposed to be doing (because mistakes can be made) needs to be up their on every teacher’s to-do list.
So even if pensions are perhaps the most boring thing that you can possibly contemplate, they also need your attention because teaching is not just about the act of teaching. It's about making sure that you are fairly recompensed for the job that you do – because you’re a professional. Get it organised.
Next week – funerals.
Tom Starkey is an education writer, consultant and former further education lecturer