You would think there is no tiredness like the end of the school year tired. Well… there is a tiredness that is just as bad: beginning of the school year tired. Do yourself a favor and power through the ideas on this list. I promise you will be glad you did when school starts again.
- Resist the temptation to shove everything into cabinets
It might seem easy to just put your books, stations, and extra supplies in the closet and be done with them. This certainly solves the immediate need to clear your classroom, but it will create more work for you when you return. And, I’m willing to bet that in late June or sooner, you’ll dread going back to the chaos. Give yourself peace of mind by organizing and putting everything away neatly. This way you’ll know what you have and what you need to replace next school year. Keep little hands busy by letting your students review items in stations and clean out the items that don’t belong.
- Clear your desk
Let’s face it, there are a lot of papers that can pile up on your desk. As you begin to pack up your desk, don’t just dump everything into a tote bag to bring home and go through later. Chances are that tote bag will be thrown into a corner for the entire summer and make you feel guilty. The last thing you need is an added reminder of something undone from last year. Spend a little time each day as school winds down and tackle it. Give students artwork, graded papers, and anything that is theirs. File things that need to be filed and toss/recycle paperwork you no longer need.
- Undeck the halls and walls
Traditionally, you have to take everything off your classroom walls, out of the school hallway, and off the doors. If you’re not changing rooms and you know you’re not changing your decor, ask your administrator if you can leave your bulletin boards up. Only take off student work and you’re good to go for next school year. If you have to remove everything, purge torn items and give away or sell items on Facebook Marketplace or on a local teacher’s Facebook group. Put anchor charts and other posters in storage bags or other vertical storage so you won’t have to make them again next year.
- Prepare a back-to-school box
Grab an empty box, and label it “2022-2023 Beginning of the Year.” Make copies of welcome packets, and other materials that you know you will use at the beginning of the year and place them in the box. Put in at least a class set of pencils and any other supplies you have on hand that students will need on the first day. Add anything you know you’ll use in the first week or so of school.
- Review Curriculum
Some things do change over the summer, but it’s still a good idea to review any content that is stable for the beginning of the year. Will you need additional resources? Will new books be arriving that you need to make space for?
Reflection is important. It helps us take stock of what went well, and what didn’t. By reflecting, we can be better equipped to chart a positive path forward. It helps us create stronger lessons, and revamp lessons that missed the mark. We formed relationships with a group(s) of students and it’s important to examine those relationships. Did we do our best to support our students and provide them with the tools they need to succeed going forward? If not, what do we need to do to change how we teach and reach our students next year? What are our strengths and what are our weaknesses?
- Turn out the lights and close the door
The school year is over. Your students have grown and learned. You’ve earned a long-overdue rest! Turn out the lights, close the door and head off for some summer fun!
It’s hard to believe that the 2021-2022 school year is coming to a close. Wrap it up by getting a few things ready for the 2022-2023 school year and enjoy every second of your summer!
Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.