Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The New Teacher's Toolbox

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The New Teacher's Toolbox

Article excerpt

The A-to-Z Summer Checklist


The end is in sight! As challenging or rewarding as this school year might have been, it's almost over. The final weeks pass quickly, making it easy to forget crucial tasks while wrapping up classes, administering exams, and packing up classrooms. To help you stay on task, here's an A-to-Z list of important reminders for the waning weeks of work.

Administrative tasks: Complete all routine paperwork, verify final grades and comments, turn in classroom keys, etc.

Brain dump: List what went well and what to change for each of your curriculum units. It will be so helpful to open your materials next September and see reminders waiting, so add these tips as sticky notes to your binders now (see "O"). Don't wait--you'll forget!

Course evaluations: Consider having your students complete course evaluations. This feedback can help improve your teaching practice. See my Summer 2013 column for tips and sample questions.

Decorations: Pack up your posters, bulletin board items, and classroom decor, especially if you'll be moving to a new classroom in the fall.

Exemplars: Save copies of excellent student projects; these will help next year when you assign these projects again.

Flag e-mails: It's smart to keep a record of parent, student, and evaluator correspondence for future reference. Make folders in your e-mail inbox for easy searching next year.

Goal-setting: Use your personal reflections (see "Q"), supervisor feedback, and student course evaluations to develop professional practice and student learning goals for next year. You'll likely have to do this as part of your school's teacher evaluation system anyway.

Hard drive: Delete unnecessary computer files. Back up all other files to an external hard drive, flash drive, or cloud-based drive. Don't risk losing a year's worth of hard work.

Inventory: Sort and store all textbooks, chemicals, models, and classroom supplies for easy access in the fall.

Job: If you plan to work this summer, secure your summer job now.

Keep-me-private files: Such items as evaluation write-ups, final grades, and student individualized education programs should be kept under lock and key. Consider shredding any that you no longer need, including final exam copies.

Lock and label: Label all of your personal belongings and lock up any valuable classroom equipment or personal effects. …

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