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What Teachers Can Do Now to Get a Head Start on Preparing for Next Year

Friday, April 7, 2017 -- Scott Sterling

Perhaps you would rather not think about the end of the school year. Perhaps you’re counting down the days. No matter which camp you fall into, this school year is quickly coming to a close, and back-to-school time will be here again sooner than you expect. Instead of waiting until the end of the summer or your teacher in-service days, take some steps now to make the transition into the next school year smoother and more valuable.

Connect with colleagues

Too often, teachers seek out help from their colleagues during the in-service before the school year while their fellow educators are busy with their own back-to-school preparations. If one of your colleagues utilizes a new approach or is an expert in something you know you want to try next year, reach out to them before the current school year wraps up. You both will have much more time available to collaborate now than you will later.

Start on some grant applications

Most of us are guilty of procrastinating on the tasks that really feel like a chore, and applying for grants tends to fall into that category. Deadlines are often in the fall, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until then. Figure out what projects or needs you want to fund with grant dollars next year, identify grants that are a good fit, and get started on applications before summer starts.  

Even if details and requirements for the grants you identify haven’t been made available for next year yet, chances are that they will look similar to this year’s. If you get a head start now, you can take your time, gather the best artifacts and data, and ask a few people to review your application materials before submitting them.

Venture into the unknown

Once assessments are done, everyone is under less stress. That’s not to say there still isn’t important material to cover, but it’s easier to take your eye off the curriculum guide from time to time. That gives you freedom to be a little more creative with your instruction.

Have you had a great lesson idea burning in the back of your mind? Are you curious to try out a new instructional philosophy that you think might grow into next year’s foundation? Do you want to engage your students in a cool project that you heard about from a colleague? Now’s your chance! Just make sure to gather as much data as possible so that you can walk away from the experience with a truly informed opinion on its efficacy.

Conduct student surveys

Hopefully you’ve been gathering feedback from students throughout the year, but the end of the year is prime time to get their cumulative opinions on the class as a whole and your teaching style. This data is priceless when figuring out your strategies for next year, and it also comes in handy during evaluation time. Set up a free, anonymous, online survey using a site like SurveyMonkey and watch the insights roll in!

Looking for more ideas to get inspired about planning for next year? Check out these 21 Tips, Tricks, and Ideas Every 21st Century Teacher Should Try!