I think that everyone, no matter who you are, teacher or not, has a LOT of paper in their lives. Today I am offering some ideas for reducing and tracking your paper. Please keep in mind that when I say toss, I mean shred and/or recycle, whichever is appropriate for the paper we're talking about.
First of all, a good idea is to reduce the amount of paper coming into your life. As a teacher this can be DIFFICULT. When you can, opt for the electronic version of newsletters, memos, correspondence, and possibly, student submissions.
In some cases it is easier/convenient to accept a word processor document either on a disk (Who uses those anymore? Oh wait, me.), CD, email attachment, in a certain intranet file, or just to have the student call it up on the screen. I have been in a classroom where students are not allowed to print anything until it is checked on screen, and the teacher has a large supply of printer paper that has something on one side. Maybe you want to consider having a box in the photocopy room for letter sized paper with one blank side to be reused?
Now, taking some of these steps will reduce the paper coming INTO your life, but what about all of the paper that's already there? Purge! Take a quick look around you and toss all of the paper that is out of date, that you're done with, and that you never needed in the first place. If you have paper that you need to give to someone else (students, principal, colleagues), give it to them THIS WEEK, no excuses. I've met several teacher that try to hand work back to their students within two days. With younger students, they won't even remember what they did after longer than that.
If you receive a piece of paper that is about an event and the paper is available online, write the pertinent information on your calendar including where to find the information either online or on your computer and toss the paper! When you receive information by email, don't print it off! You don't need an 8.5 x 11" piece of paper to tell you that Billy won't be in on Thursday. Just write yourself a note in your planner.
Make your class motto for March: Think before you print. Both for you and your students.
Please comment or send your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have great day!