Spring Cleaning Tips for Teachers: What to do BEFORE Spring Break!
No, this Spring Cleaning Tips for Teachers blog post is not about how you should spend your precious, well-earned week of Spring Break doing work-related activities. In fact, it’s about how you should spend those periods of time BEFORE spring break when your mind can’t focus on the task at hand (like, why does writing an IEP take 5 times longer in March than in November?)
Our teacher brains need a break as much as our student’s bodies need to get outside and let out that built up energy from the winter season. When that decision fatigue sets in a week (or two) before your school’s scheduled spring break, stop what you are doing and reference the list below. Yes, you may not finish the task you were working on before you have to pack-up and head home, but you will be doing something productive that your future self will thank you for.
Here are 10 Tips for Spring Cleaning BEFORE Spring Break:
1. Check Your TPT Purchases and Download Any Files that Have Been Updated!
TeachersPayTeachers teacher authors update files all the time, so make sure you are using the newest, best version. Write some feedback while you are there and earn some credit for a future purchase. Also, if you have to re-print materials that you’ve already laminated, then consider that you will be providing some much needed tasks for support staff whose brains also need a good mindless activity break.
2. Title All Those Untitled Google Documents (or delete as needed)
I know I have approximately 429 Untitled Documents in my Google drives because I start a new Doc and then realize I should create it in Slides and so I close the Doc. Well, since it was opened, it now has a life. Search ‘Untitled’ and then open and delete or rename each document!
3. Move All Random/Homeless Files to a Folder
-Once those random ‘Untitled Document’ have been relabeled, now it’s time to organize them. Start by just moving the files that aren’t in a folder to a folder. Create folders you need or update the names of old folders. Once every file is in a Folder, then start deleting old/unused Folders.
4. Delete/Toss Old and Unused Files
-Clean out your computer drive, your Google Drive, your Dropbox drive, and your desk and/or file cabinet files (by your desk and in your classroom). No, you shouldn’t have saved the three extra copies you made of that worksheet from a lesson 3 years ago, but you did, so go ahead and throw that in the Shred bin now. This isn’t spring cleaning after all, this is vocational task prep time.
5. Clean Out Your Email
-Start by searching ‘2014’ (or older) and delete any emails you no longer need. Then, search 2015 and keep repeating until you hit 2020! Your email will go from 12,619 emails in your inbox to 3,561 and you will feel so much lighter! And yes, 3,561 emails is an acceptable amount of emails to have in your Inbox!
6. Clean Out Your Work Bag (and be realistic)
-Dump the whole bag out on a table and clean it thoroughly (shake that dirt off in the parking lot!). Actually take home the things you need at home and leave the rest at school! If it’s been in your bag for over a month and has yet to be touched, then leave it at home/school, your shoulder will thank you!
7. Restock Your Emergency Supplies
-I consider my candy stash to be part of my emergency supplies! Now is the time to make a list of the supplies you need to grab during your next trip to the store. For example- Emergen-C, cough drops, candy, gum/mints, chapstick, Kleenex (the good 3-ply kind), hair ties, Keurigs, protein bars, etc.
8. Give Your Desk a Good Lysol-Level Cleaning
-While you are at it, clean that computer and mouse too. And your cell phone. And your lanyard. And your projector remote. And your desk drawer handles. And your classroom/desk phone. And your copy machine screen and buttons. And your beloved pens. And your...
9. Copy More Data Sheets and Clean Out Your Clipboards
-It’s amazing how many clipboards have IEP goal data sheets for goals that ended months ago. Am I right?!? Take a few minutes to print more data sheets and update your clipboards (and clipboard locations) with the proper data sheets. Also, print YOUR data sheets in a special color and staff will always know who to go to with questions or when they need more copies.
10. Unsubscribe to an Email Blast You Never Read
-Just one (or five) less emails a day can feel so refreshing! A great side-effect of having less ‘fluff’ emails coming into your inbox is that you will need to check it less (because there will be less dings or notifications). Yay for NOT being so connected to work email!
Okay, you’ve blasted through those spring cleaning tips and your brain is now recharged and ready for at least 10 more minutes of focused work. If you’ve blasted through all 10, then make a fun countdown activity to do with your students. Whether the countdown is for days to spring break OR summer break, I won’t judge- we all need something to look forward to in life!