Congratulations! For our first year teachers, you have made it through your first year as an educator. For you veteran teachers, you have made it through another challenging but extremely rewarding year. The countless, sleepless nights lost to writing lesson plans, creating presentations and grading papers all seem worth it once you have witnessed smiling faces filled with the knowledge you helped them acquire. However, after all the tests have been completed and the grades have been finalized, what next? How about taking time to decompress by doing a little spring cleaning? A physical cleaning of your classroom as well as a mental cleansing of your mind can help you become more productive and truly enjoy your summer vacation.
The Physical: Cleaning Your Classroom
After all of the students have been dismissed and you are left with hundreds of projects on the walls and graded papers corralled in bins, cleaning would likely be the last thing you would want to tackle. However, taking the extra time to clean your classroom before you leave for the summer can leave you feeling similar to how one feels after you have cleaned and decluttered your house. Don’t forget to purge your computer as well. Deleting old e-mails from parents and colleagues that are no longer needed, as well as making sure that unwanted or duplicated computer files are eliminated, can make room for much needed space next year. Aaron Morrison offers great tips on how to get started by first dividing the classroom into sections and working from there.
The Mental: Cleansing Your Mind
The mental cleansing, in my humble opinion, may be the most important part. Take time to clear your mind so that you can effectively prepare for the next year and enjoy a well needed summer vacation. In her article, Sandy Merz suggests grabbing a piece of paper and a pencil and jotting down major accomplishments as well as their causes and effects. This writing process helps you sift through all of the accomplishments and challenges you have experienced over the year. Writing goals for the next year and thinking of a couple activities you plan to improve upon can only help you purge anxiety for the next year. This process will give you more peace of mind when moving into the summer.