10 Tips for Closing Your Classroom for Summer
There is no tired like the “end-of-the-year” tired for teachers. The to-do list gets longer as the days become shorter. You’re trying to teach while taking inventory of textbooks and furniture, which becomes even more difficult after devices are collected for the summer. Meanwhile, student behaviors often escalate at this time of year.
How can you keep things running smoothly and accomplish all the extra tasks on your agenda? Take a look at these tips to finish the year strong!
- Keepsakes. Your walls are full of drawings made especially for you. Desk drawers are stuffed with notes that might be worth reading on difficult days in the future. Then, there are student work samples. Remember that you can’t save everything. Choose your favorites.
- Begging for extra credit. This is the time of year when students start the pleas for points. Ensure kids, parents, and administrators know your policies and stick to them.
- Prepare your room. Make it as easy as possible for custodial staff to get in there to deep clean the surfaces, wax floors, and shampoo carpets over the summer months. Pack supplies in totes or boxes, empty all desks, clear or organize shelves, and remove or cover bulletin boards.
- What about your kids. If you’ll have some of the same students next year because you’re looping with your class or teaching the next level of your content area, make the necessary notes about where you left off and any specific needs of your kiddos.
- Moving on. What do you need to tell teachers about students who are advancing to the next grade? If Mondays are difficult for Lily because she travels on the weekends to spend time with her dad, make the new teachers aware. If Jake is reluctant to ask for help, offer suggestions that are comfortable for him. If Jordan’s family is experiencing food insecurity, follow up with this.
- Keep them learning. Prepare a reading list, math packets, online links, and other activities for kids to do at home.
- Summer may not be a break. While you’re looking forward to mornings without an alarm clock, many students are counting down the days with a sense of dread. You may even see those pressures come out with behavioral challenges as those students anticipate what’s coming. Many don’t know if there will be daily meals or have a supportive adult in the home. They may be responsible for younger siblings while their parents work. The place they call home might not have clean facilities or reliable utilities. Send books you no longer need, paper, and art supplies to make the time bearable.
- Keep or toss. Those big tubs of crayons, markers, glue, and colored pencils have been used extensively! Ask some students to test them to see if they are worth saving.
- Take it home. It’s time to pack those items, such as plants or class pets, to bring home. Don’t forget the food and dishes from the staff lounge refrigerator. Grab any books or curriculum materials to review. Make a list of website links or passwords for access over the summer.
- Out with the old. Sort through your files. Do you need to keep it if you haven’t used it in over a year? Let your students choose to keep books that aren’t in great condition to allow more space on your bookshelves for new copies.
Despite the hectic schedule of the last weeks of school, the emotions of those final days affect everyone. In the words of A.A. Milne, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
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