In some ways, the end of the school year can feel like it takes forever and in some ways, it feels like it can sneak upon us. So often, it’s tempting to drop everything and run headfirst into summer vacation to enjoy your summer. Though that can sound appealing, it may feel good at the moment, but those good feelings fade fast when the new school year rolls around and you aren’t ready and start the year off feeling behind even before you’ve gotten started. Well, it doesn’t have to be like that! Do these 5 things to assure you can have the summer you want and deserve AND start the school year off strong.
1. Finish Everything You Can Before Heading Off to Enjoy Your Summer
I know this sounds simple but it can make such a difference in what next year looks like for you. It can be so tempting to leave things unfinished, but if you do, that all will be there for when you get back to school. Starting with a lot of unfinished work/organization means you are starting the year behind…before you even get started!
2. Evaluate your rules and procedures from the school year and make changes for what didn’t work
This is so critical! The best teachers evaluate how the year went and make changes to the things that didn’t work as well as they would have liked. Your rules and procedures are the heart and soul of your classroom and if they aren’t working, it’s likely your classroom isn’t running as well as it could. Some things to consider:
- Did you feel like you had to tell your students over and over how to do things in the classroom?
- Did you feel like you spent more time dealing with behavior than teaching?
- Do you feel like your year got worse instead of better?
If the answer to those questions is yes, look at making some changes to your rules and procedures!
3. Plan for your first week of school
Just think about how relaxed you can be if you finished the last day of school with a solid plan for week one? Walking in on the first day of school with plans in place, even though a million things could change, gives you a little breather to focus on getting to know your students and have a cushion for whatever surprises will undoubtedly come your way.
4. Clean and organize your room
So simple but so helpful! We all work better in a clean and organized space. The more you can do before you leave for the year to enjoy your summer, the easier and less overwhelming it is to come back. You may decide to make changes or rework your room, but if it’s clean and organized, you have just saved yourself a significant amount of time.
5. Get feedback from parents and students on what they felt worked and what didn’t
This is a big one! I like to do feedback forms for both my students and my parents.
On the forms I ask:
- What was the best part of the school year?
- What was the worst part of the school year?
- What things did I do that were helpful?
- What things that I did weren’t helpful?
- What do you wish I would have done that I didn’t?
Sometimes teachers are nervous about asking parents and students these questions but all feedback is good feedback. We can’t make changes if we don’t have all of the information. Let me clarify, you don’t need to make changes based on each and every comment. Once you gather the information, you decide what you do with it!
6. Make a plan for what you want to do over the summer and plan it out.
Step 1– Make a list of EVERYTHING you want to get done over the summer.
Step 2– Prioritize the list- most important to least important
Step 3– Decide how much time you want to spend on work things each week and schedule that time and stick to your schedule
Step 4– As you sit down for your work times, just move down the list.
Hint… Don’t skip around your list and don’t go over the amount of time you set aside.
There is no magic pill to make sure that your school year starts off strong, but by doing a few things at the end of a school year, you can make sure you are making things as easy as possible for yourself on day one!