The end of the year is coming quickly upon us! Here’s some easy tips to prepare for a smooth take off for summer and a bump free landing for next year. It's time to get organized!
1. Look for Shelter
Separate and categorize your materials into units or projects. Clear plastic tubs are best for storing our supplies and keeping out critters, dust, and water; though, as theatre teachers, we’ve got to get thrifty. I’ve been taking the copy paper boxes from our copy room to help myself stay organized. All the puppet gear, togas, and flashlights have been put into their own boxes with brightly colored labels. The labels should be kid proof: color coded, large print, simple. Make sure all supplies are locked up and off the floor.
2. Leave Bread Crumbs
This is the end of my fourth year teaching and it always seems like I’m a first year teacher every August. I feel rushed, excited, and clueless. How am I ever going to decorate my room AND do the million new things the admin added four days before students come?! Well, this year I’m taking a picture of my room, storage room, closet and filling system and emailing the pictures to myself. This will help me remember where I've been and keep me from spinning in circles. It's also useful to have an inventory of what I had where in case something goes missing over summer (as it invariably does), I'd have a record of what I had where.
3. Assemble the First Responder Box
I like to make a box of supplies that I know I’m going to need the first week back on campus.
Set Up Materials: Stapler with extra staples, scissors, thumbtacks, hole puncher, expo marker, tape, a ream of copy paper, clear packing tape.
Comfort Materials: Kleenex Box, Clorox Wipes, Febreeze, Duster, Band aids
PD Materials: Markers, Pens, Notebook, Clipboard.
4. Gather the Essentials
Just like other animals, our growth and development continues during our incubation period. Bring your lesson plan binders, interactive folder/notebooks and scripts home! Have a journal handy for those moments when inspiration hits and keep it with your classroom supplies! Hopeful thinking, right? But now we don’t have an excuse not to get things put together.
5. Store the Good Nuts (and Throw Away the Nutty Ones)
I hoard any activity that is remotely pretty, inspiring, or thoughtful in the bottom file cabinet. By the end of the year it’s stuffed. I love going through it- “This one’s exactly what I asked for! This one’s color palette is so charming!” But I always get carried away with high hopes- “I bet all of these will inspire every single one of my students for years to come! I’ll never forget that I have all of these examples shoved into this cabinet! My kids this year were sooooooo awesoommmme! I’m going to keep these forever!”
Slow down. Let's face it, the paper is already turning gritty and the corners are already curving up. Snap a picture. Immortalize it right now and upload it into your activity's powerpoint. For the love all organizational holiness, LET IT GO!
6. Make Your Nest
Make a list of things to get done on your classroom and auditorium and put in the work orders.
The clock in the auditorium is hanging face down by the cord fifteen feet above my head. (I know right!)
The light bulbs in the storage room are flickering.
The stage floor needs to be re-waxed, can we get a matte finish?
One of the auditorium doors isn’t locking.
One of the socket boxes is coming out in my room.
7. Mark Your Territory
Get those sharpies out, ladies and gents! It’s time to put your name and department on everything: your chair, that cool foldable table in the corner, the construction paper, your printer, everything that you love. Take pictures like in tip #1.
8. Bring Home the Bacon
I take a lot of things from home to school and usually forget to bring it back: an extra phone charger, drill bits, my husband's button up shirts (sorry Miguel). I brought home the first box of many this weekend. I’m also going to dry clean the curtains... and Miguel's shirts (again, I'm really sorry) and wash the fabric I used for my bulletin boards and desk.
9. Slow Down for Hibernation
Competition season is over, school events are small and manageable (ok, maybe not the dance Spring Show), so our body is coming down from survival mode. Miguel always- ALWAYS- gets soooo sick this time of year: kidney stones, cracked wisdom teeth, the WORST not-flu but maybe worse than flu walking death- Anything and Everything . Now is the time to listen and give our bodies what they need- vitamins and nutrients to replenish for all our summer gigs. Preempt the dangers now!
10. Snuggle in for a Long Summer’s Nap!
Order a book!! Like a novel. A real life novel (Curious Incident doesn't count). Whatever you get it can’t be a script. (At least wait till you’ve started the novel to order your scripts for next season). Spending a few quiet moments away from theatre will do all of us good! Miguel and I are planning a trip with friends to the Ozarks to do some kayaking and art shopping. We still engage fully with theatre: we'll see many of you at the Thespians National Convention and Summeriest, of course we're keeping this site moving at full speed, Miguel is going to mentor new teachers at a summer workshop and I'll be working the Big Thought project with Dallas ISD. We can't ever really let go of theatre; but, it's important to give our selves some time away.
What are you doing to prepare your classroom for summer? How can we help you get ready for summer? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook.