The finish line is in sight! You’ve made it this far; it’s only a short sprint to summer break. I’ve given you some good advice on how to end your year on a high note. Now it’s time to think about packing up your classroom for next year.
If you want to set yourself up for success at the start of next year, heed my advice. I’ve packed up for many a summer, and I know a thing or two about ending a school year in order to start the next year off right. Here are some tips to help you end the school year in your classroom.
Don’t worry about the custodians’ workload. They’re prepared for trash overload. If it’s not going to serve you well next year, pitch it! You don’t want to start the school year off with last year’s work. Start the school year fresh. Students didn’t pick up their final assignments? They don’t care about them, and neither should you! Save only the best exemplars for student samples come next year, if you’re teaching the same content. If not, offer them up to the teacher who is. Is your bulletin border ripped or drawn on? Not worth saving. Pitch it! Posters in bad shape? Do yourself a favor: recycle them now as opposed to next year when they look even worse after a summer in storage.
Do you have extra copies of assignments you know you’ll use next year? Figure out an organizational strategy to keep your papers in order. I used a file folder in an upright file cabinet my first 5 years of teaching, prior to going all-digital. If your school counts copies, this is a logical save on your part–more saved this year, less work next. I organized first by standard, and then by lesson within the standard for easy access. Put any sample or exemplar assignments with the assignments themselves so you won’t have to look for them later. Anchor charts too big to file? Fold them up, and put them with the corresponding assignments in the file cabinet. Better to be creased than never to be found again.
Label and Pack
Whether you’re moving rooms or staying put, prepare your classroom as if you’re moving to another city. Label everything with your last name and room number. If your district is anything like mine, they’ll remove every stitch of furniture from your room to wax the floors. Take no chances that your favorite chair or box of coveted dictionaries will find their way back home afterward. Label everything. Bookshelves, boxes, desks, and tables. Maybe consider leaving a label off of that terrible desk that you’ve been wanting to be replaced all year. Just in case. Pack up all your books and supplies so they’re nice and safe for whatever is to come over the summer months. Take your collectibles and prized private belongings home with you for the summer where you know they’ll be safest.
Be Ready For A Move
Plan as though your entire classroom is going to be relocated, even if you plan on teaching the same subject in the same classroom next year. I can’t tell you the countless times that teachers have returned after summer break to hear that enrollment has changed and they’ll be teaching a different grade or something else entirely. The custodial staff does their best to make this move without your input, because you’re not even aware of the move, and inevitably, something gets lots. If your things are labeled, relocating your teaching equipment is much easier.
Enjoy Your Summer
After that last day, high five your teammates on a job well done, and head out to your summer plans, whatever they may be. If school isn’t on your horizons until August–enjoy that break! If you’ll be back soon for summer school–take a deep breath and dive right back in! You got this.