Closing Out

One of the things that I pride myself on as a teacher is that I very rarely take work home. I have a few reasons and methods that help me achieve that goal.

First of all, I use my planning time wisely. Since my school is on block schedules, I usually only have 2 or 3 preps a week. I usually dedicate one of those to planning for the week that way I don’t have to plan at home.

I also grade when my students are working. This way I can be available for them if they have questions, but then I don’t have to take papers home. It also helps that my district has mandated the number of grades I can put into the grade book each week. So by only having a few assignments to grade, it really cuts down on my grading time.

One thing I picked up from my cooperating teacher when I was student teaching was to have basically just one or two activities in class and to consolidate those into as few worksheets as possible. It’s much easier to only copy one worksheet than it is for like four to five different activities.

But my all-time favorite thing that I do that helps me not take work home is my close out procedure. Before I leave my classroom at the end of the day, I have a few things I do. They’re pretty simple. I change the desk calendar, plug in my computers, pull the window shades down, straighten up my room when needed.

This does a number of things. First of all, no matter how bad of a day it was, I can leave knowing my room was in basically the same condition as when I arrived. It grounds me that every day is a fresh start and we can always try again.

This also keeps my mood consistent from one day to the next. If I were to come into my room every morning and it was a disaster, I would be so stressed and frazzled. So by keeping my room relatively in order, I can start the day off on the right foot.

I’ve been in offices where it’s hard to know if the person had actually left for the day. Their computer had lots of tabs open, papers were strewn everywhere, and their chair was away from the desk. That would stress me out so much. How does someone deal with that? I’m not trying to judge, but I just know that would bother me so much.

Every day is new. I talked about that a couple weeks ago. But I’m always reminded by that as I close out my room. I can start each day fresh simply by coming into a room that has been closed out the day before.

I’m so ready for fall break, but even something as small as closing out my room helps me take it day by day so that I can get there in more or less one piece.

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