4 Tips for Surviving the Classroom Set-up
After a year of tests, grading, and countless snow days, teachers were more than ready for this summer break. However, "break" can sound like an oxymoron to most dedicated teachers. The vast majority of educators will spend the summer tweaking their lesson plans and preparing for the new students coming in the fall, and potentially even working part time at a summer camp to pay bills. All too soon, however, even that break will be over and it will be time to set up the classroom again. There isn't a teacher alive that looks forward to setting up the year's supplies and décor, but one of your most dreaded tasks doesn't have to be difficult. Follow these tips when you set up your classroom, and you'll be surprised at how easy unpacking can get.
Unlike packing up the classroom at the end of the year, you don't have bored students that you can offer extra credit to in exchange for help. This means that any assistance is going to have to come from somewhere else. If you have children who are old enough, you could offer them additional allowance money or some kind of other appropriate reward for helping you out for a day or two. If you have a spouse, they could always take part. Better yet, if you have any really good friends, you could bribe them with a dinner and drinks party in exchange for their much-needed efforts. A little help can go a long way, and a few extra hands could make the difference between having another day to yourself and having to clean.
Organize and label
If you haven't done so already, now is the time to label everything that's going into your classroom, both new and old. Invest in some sticky notes and color-coded stickers and make sure that you have a good idea of where everything is going. Also, make sure that you are placing like with like in the boxes – otherwise, you and any helpers will be spending all your time walking back and forth and dealing with questions instead of unpacking.
Don't forget shelves, furniture, and closets
Many teachers assume that janitors will keep their classroom dirt and dust free during the summer, but if you want your classroom to be extra clean you should take some time to wipe down your shelves and closets. Most janitors will make sure that floors are clean and that dry erase or blackboards are clear, but that's all you really can expect. You may have to do some simple dusting when you get in, or you may need to take time to really clean your shelves and storage space. Also, give your classroom furniture a nice scrubbing
. Your students may have wiped them down before they left, but all of your desks and chairs should be cleaned at the beginning of a new year.
Pack a first day box
Unless you have a lot of time to get your classroom together before the students start classes, decorating and preparing your classroom can be difficult. To make setting up easier, you should pack a box full of things you usually need on the first day. Thumbtacks, bulletin board borders, scissors, staplers, and other décor supplies would be good to add. This way, when you come back in September you'll have everything you need.