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By the time any school year winds down to a close, the last thing any teacher wants to think about is the next school year. Unfortunately, the end of the school year is also when a teacher has the most information about how to make the transition into September much smoother.
So, how to make the best use of this information? Teachers should try to spend time -a few hours on each of the following categories- at the end of this year because time invested now could yield positive results in the next school year.
#1. Spend Time Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out
Before a teacher leaves for the school year, he or she could take a picture of the room (maybe from several angles) and post these pictures on the bulletin board for the custodial staff to see. This will make sure the room is organized and ready for students in the next school year.
Teachers should box supplies and clearly labels them so materials can be located quickly.( NOTE: Painters tape is more easily removed than other kinds of masking tape if furniture is marked.)
In cleaning out, teachers and staff should follow the following guidelines:
- Remove the materials that were not used this year.
- Go through files and purge what is outdated.
- Remove items that are irrelevant
- Remove saved items that “might… ” be used.
- Do not keep those unused items inherited from teachers who came before… and do not feel guilty.
#2. Spend Time Reflecting on Goals:
If the teacher evaluation program (EX: Danielson or Marzano) has a self-reflection requirement, then much of this effort is already done. A teacher's self-reflection can help him or her to focus on what areas might need attention in the next school year. If there is no self-reflection, teachers can still review the following questions in order to draft a goal or set of goals for the coming school year:
- How can I improve on writing this same or a similar goal for next year?
- What new ways could I use to measure this same goal or a new goal?
- Can I use different groups to make growth more visible?
- What could be the next step after meeting this goal?
- What single factor was most helpful with my goal this past year?
- What single factor caused problems with meeting my goal this past year?
- How can I improve my use of time in meeting a future goal?
#3. Spend Time on Preparing Special Events
Teachers can do a little pre-planning during the summer to alleviate the stress of planning special events (field trips or guest visits-in person or virtually) for students during the school year. Contacting locations or guest speakers in advance of the school year will help provide the school office personnel the time to plan for logistical support (transportation, permission slips, substitutes, video chats) well in advance, especially when the school calendar is being created.
Special events are what students remember about the school year, and a little planning in advance can make the effort for all stakeholders worthwhile.
In spending a few hours at the end of the school year on each of the three suggestions above, teachers can leverage their experiences of this past school year in order to make positive steps towards making the next school year experience even better.