Friday, April 29, 2016

Next Year...

While stressful, the end of April is also a wonderful time for teachers as you begin to develop hope and interest in the possibilities of "Next Year..." Over the next few posts I'll go over a few "Thinking about next year" tasks that I found to be indispensable. We'll begin with:

Clean and Organize!

I know that amid all of the grading, flurry of special activities and schedules, prom, and other hurdles along the track toward the finish line, cleaning and organizing is not high on the priority list. It's definitely one of those "in a few weeks I'll have all the time in the world..." for to-do list items. Here's why it's important to jump on it now:
  • No matter how good your intentions, by the time the last day comes around you will be completely drained
  • And completely drained means that your end of the year cleaning is going to consist of cramming items into any cabinet, drawer, etc that gets the job done with the promise that not only "I'll take care of it in early August" but also the perennial classic "I'll definitely remember where I put everything in August." Riiiiiiiiight...
  • Just a little bit at a time will make the end of this year - and beginning of next - so much nicer
  • This is the perfect time to purge! You know you're storing a bunch of stuff that you're never going to use, and the clutter it causes and space it takes up is a big stressor. Sneaky tip: have the tossables all ready to go by locker clean-up day, so when they roll the big trash cans into the hallway you can quickly and easily dispose of them!
  • Clearing out all that stuff you don't want will make storing everything else for the summer so much easier.
  • Purging and organizing will help you see what you really need for next year. 
Do not forget to enlist help! 
  • You know those kids who are always eager to help? Give them something to help with! They'll be delighted!
  • The bored kids who have "nothing to do" in study hall, after tests, etc. These kids are almost always super grateful to be given something to pass the time.
  • The kids that you have to win over time and again. Ever notice that when you ask a kid to help you with something they seem to start to like you better? That's a real thing, it's called the Ben Franklin effect. Google it. Then start building relationships by asking kids to do things for you. Bonus if you can involve kids you don't currently have in class but know that you will next year. Don't forget the positive reinforcement. (NOT reward, positive reinforcement. They are different. I'm looking at you, PBIS.)
  • Steal kids who are in detention, nab kids who are killing time after school before extra-curriculars, borrow kids of co-workers who are waiting for their parents to finish grading something so they can go home. Seriously, they're everywhere, help them be productive!

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