By Andrew Hawk
At every school where I have worked, teachers must complete an end-of-the-year checklist. Depending on your administrator, your checklist may be quite long or have only a couple of items. When teachers receive their lists also depends on their administrators. Organized administrators handout checklists one to two weeks before the last day of school. My first year of teaching, the school year ended with a full-staff work day. Right around lunchtime, the school secretary started passing out our end-of-the-year checklists. The list for this particular school had about thirty items on it. Being a first-year teacher, I was unaware that these lists even existed. After receiving my list on such short notice, I had to work past 6:00 p.m. to complete all the tasks.
Since then, I have always tried to get a head start on finishing my end-of-the-year checklist. Here are some general tasks that appear on most end-of-the-year lists in case you want to get an early start, too.
If you have any light bulbs that need to be changed, furniture you want removed, or other maintenance-related tasks, you can get a head start on filling out the request forms. If you work at a school where maintenance crews spend the summer emptying classrooms of furniture to clean the floors and walls, you will need to draw a floor plan if you want your furniture put back in a certain arrangement.
Did you check a cumulative file out from the records room? Do you have paperwork that needs to be added to files? Does your principal ask you to submit your lesson plans for review? Whatever end-of-the-year paperwork you have will need to be completed. Many schools ask classroom teachers to recommend student classroom placements for the next school year.
Many schools have made the transition to one-to-one electronic devices. For this reason, textbooks are not as prevalent as they have been in the past. If you still use textbooks, chances are good that you will be asked to take inventory of them. During this inventory, take note of any books that have been damaged to the point where they need to be replaced.
Whether desks, lockers, or cubbies, student spaces will need to be cleaned. I recommend making time for students to clean their spaces.
I like to start this one early. Check to make sure your students have returned all their library books. If they have not, call home to see if families are going to return the books or pay for replacements.
Most schools ask that bulletin boards are taken down and that all items are removed from the walls. In my experience, teachers often try to avoid this task. If you need to do it, you might want to get a head start.
This is also a great time to reorganize your classroom library. Recycle damaged books and write a wish list for the upcoming school year.
Student Summer Resources
I usually like to create something academic for students to do during the summer. This doesn’t have to be a packet of worksheets. You could provide a reading log and an incentive for reading a certain number of pages or a list of educational websites. Or ask students what activities they would be willing to work on during the summer months. Parent support is vital to students completing tasks over the summer.
No matter how much we feel like we own our classrooms, they really are public property. During summer months, I take home a small box of things that I would not want to lose. It’s not that I think someone will come in my room and take my things, but sometimes unexpected things happen during the summer. For example, perhaps an administrator will have an extended school year teacher use your classroom. Play it safe and collect the things you know you want to keep.
Andrew Hawk has worked in public education for fourteen years, starting as a teaching assistant in a special education classroom. He has taught first, second, and fifth grades as a classroom teacher, and for the past three years, has worked as a resource room teacher, providing services for fourth and fifth graders. Working as a special education teacher has given him the opportunity to work with a variety of age groups and exceptionalities. In 2011, he earned his master’s degree in special education from Western Governor’s University. When Andrew is not preparing for school, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter.
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