By Lani Aquino
The end of the year can sneak up on teachers, and before they know it, there’s a mad scramble to prepare for summer break. From organizing and packing away supplies to ensuring all the necessities to start the new school year are readily available, getting it all done can be an overwhelming task. When it’s all put off until a final teacher work day, flawless execution is not likely to occur.
This 10-day challenge won’t have teachers holding every item to determine if it brings them joy, but it will have teachers addressing some of the big hurdles associated with end-of-the-year prep. By taking 10-30 minutes a day for prep over the course of 10 school days, teachers won’t find themselves in scramble mode as they leave the building or entering disorganized chaos when they return to it.
Day 1: Sort the Paper
Make 3 stacks of all those extra papers that pile up over the course of a school year. Shred, Recycle, and File. Purge the papers and create any new file folders needed for those being saved.
Day 2: Clean Out Top Desk Drawer(s)
That catch-all drawer(s) could likely use some attention. Have the trash can handy and only keep what’s usable and necessary. This would also be a good time to pay it forward and offer items no longer needed that are in good condition to others.
Day 3: Bookshelf Organization
There may be multiple shelves involved here depending on the subject(s) taught. Repair or retire tattered copies and create a semblance of order. Take stock of any professional resources and determine if they are still applicable or could be rehomed with a colleague.
Day 4: Label It!
There’s nothing worse than looking at boxes, bins, and/or drawers and pondering what’s inside. Take the time to label containers and drawers. This will be hugely helpful for the start of the next school year, but it’s also a practice that will benefit teachers on a daily basis.
Day 5: Take Stock of Supplies
This is time to toss the tattered and inkless and make note of needed replacements. A few responsible students can be marker checkers at recess or during a lunch/study hall.
Day 6: Wall Prep
Whether items need to be removed or covered, this is a good time to begin the process. If covering is the building practice, gather the needed supplies and have them ready for when the time comes.
Day 7: Clear the Desk
Many teachers’ desks become places to set anything and everything. Hopefully, Day 1’s paper sorting has already offered some headway on a clearer desk. All those other items that may have found a temporary resting place need to find their way to a permanent spot, whether that be a drawer, shelf, folder, or trash receptacle.
Day 8: Prep the Inbox
Delete, delete, delete! Get rid of all the junk that’s overloading the inbox. Create folders and place any still needed emails in them. Add a 2019/2020 School Year folder to place all communication pertaining to the upcoming school year in one place.
Day 9: Gather First Days of School Materials
It may seem strange to think about the start of the upcoming school year as a wrap up for the current one, but teachers will be so glad that they did a bit of prep work. Put the folder for the first unit of the year and any other school start materials in any easily accessible place. Make note of any needed items.
Day 10: Create a Summer Shopping List
Design a summer shopping list. Take note of needed office supplies, student supplies, replacement items (tattered books or needed storage/organization materials), and something new to freshen the space. Summers shopping can be done at garage sales, online sale sites, or by perusing back-to-school ads.
Adding a challenge can be a motivating factor for getting things done. Taking 10 days to prep for the end of the year as opposed to cramming it all into one teacher workday can do wonders for starting the summer off right. Not only will teachers feel good about the condition of their space as they leave, but they will be well prepared upon their return. It’s time to pick a day and get started!!!
If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.