Teachers, now that your school year is winding down to a close, here are a few tips to close, organize, evaluate and hopefully pre-plan for next Fall. These tips were contributed by Emma McDonald, co-author of Survival Kit for New Teachers.
At the end of the year I always take some time to go through my files to determine what I have not used during the year. I force myself to make the decision either to archive it OR to throw it away. I think this is a vital exercise for teachers, who like myself, tend to keep everything. This only leads to overcrowded filing cabinets. I always keep extra copies of assignments, handouts, etc.. However, I find that the next year I make more copies and file them in a new place. In effect, this doubles my files and makes it harder to find anything the next year. For teachers who like to stay organized, I suggest the following:
1) Organize all resources, reproducible pages, handouts, etc. by subject area or topic into large 3 ring binders. Use tab dividers to further organize by concepts and/or skills taught. This allows a teacher to quickly find materials for a particular unit without having to wade through thousands of manila folders in the filing cabinet. I keep a master copy in the binder and make enough copies for each student. Leftover sheets are kept in case students lose their copy or a parent needs an extra copy at home. At the end of the year I recycle all of my left over handouts since I know I’ll be making new copies the next school year.
2) Some teachers teach the same units each year. I suggest that lesson plans and handouts are filed by unit into three-ring binders. When planning over the summer, use these binders to refine lessons without needing the entire filing cabinet. That way the unit is ready to go for next year and the handouts are right where they need to be…easy to find and use.
3) Go through any student work you’ve kept. Laminate everything you can so that it will last year after year!
4) If you keep a reading corner, have a stellar student look through the books for inappropriate drawings, markings, or other graffiti. Place these books aside to look at and possibly fix over the summer. Now you won’t have students next year coming to you with remarks about your books. This will also save you from embarrassing moments with parents who like to preview books read by their children!