Closing Out the School Year

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Teaching Strategies:


Closing Out the School Year by Dr. Karla Bester

As the school year comes to a close, teachers are often faced with the overwhelming task of wrapping up the school year. The last few weeks of school can be particularly challenging, with students often feeling restless and teachers feeling burned out after a long year of teaching. However, with some strategic planning and a few helpful tips, you can successfully close out the school year and effectively transition into the summer break.


The first step in closing out the school year is to reflect on the year that has passed. This reflection can take many forms, depending on the individual teacher and the specific circumstances of the class. Some teachers may choose to review their lesson plans and assessments, looking for areas where they could have improved or where they excelled. Others may choose to reflect on the interactions they had with students, considering what worked well and what could be improved in terms of classroom management and relationship-building. Regardless of the specific focus of the reflection, the key is to take stock of the year and use that knowledge to inform future planning and teaching. Some teachers prefer to reflect over the summer or at the beginning of the year when preparing lesson plans. However, it may be more helpful to reflect while the lessons are fresh in your head. It is important to take note or record any modifications that can make preparing for the new year easier.

Prepare to Close out your Gradebook

One important task during this time is to finish grading and assessments, ensuring that all students have received a fair and accurate evaluation of their performance. This can be particularly challenging in classes with large numbers of students or in cases where a teacher is also juggling end-of-year paperwork and other administrative tasks. In these cases, it may be helpful to prioritize grading and assessments, setting aside specific blocks of time each day to focus on completing those tasks.

Write down your Passwords

Oftentimes, we have a tendency to separate our summer from the school year. This may mean that signing into your various accounts becomes obsolete during your vacation time. This makes it difficult to remember your passwords when you return to school. Store your passwords in your planner, lesson plan book, a special notebook or in a place that you will remember. Some teachers may choose to store the passwords digitally. However, this may be a challenge if you are unable to recall the username and password to the digital account. Use the method that works best for you.

Clean up your Classroom

Take time to organize and clean up your classroom. If your students are old enough, have them help with cleaning out desks and lockers, organizing paperwork, and packing up materials and supplies for the summer break.  Think about what you may use during the first few weeks of school and store it in an easily accessible place. Make sure to turn in or place your keys in a place you can remember. Package and store special cords, power strips, and technology in a place that cannot be lost. Labeling everything in your room may also be helpful in case your furniture or items are moved over the summer or if your classroom is used for summer school. It may be helpful to take your personal items home. An organized and clean classroom can help make the transition back into the classroom easier in the fall.


Celebrate and recognize student achievements. This can take many forms, from end-of-year awards assemblies to individual notes of congratulations and encouragement. Work with your students to reflect on their own progress and accomplishments during the year, helping them to see how much they have grown and changed over the course of the year. This kind of reflection and recognition can be particularly meaningful for students who may struggle in school or who have faced challenges during the year, helping them to see that their hard work and dedication have paid off. Have your students also write thank you notes to volunteers, other teachers, your administration, and others (lunchroom staff, clerks, engineers, etc.).

Find Time to Take Care of You

This can include prioritizing self-care and relaxation, as well as focusing on professional development and planning for the upcoming year. While it can be tempting to simply relax after a long and challenging school year, taking proactive steps to care for oneself can pay off in the long run, so that you return refreshed and ready to teach.

Closing out the school year can be a challenging and rewarding process. By taking time to reflect on the year that has passed, prioritizing tasks, and caring for oneself, you can successfully wrap up the year and prepare for summer break. With some strategic planning and a few helpful tips, teachers can make the most of these last few weeks of the school year, setting themselves and their students up for success in the future.

About the author

Dr. Karla Bester

About Karla

Dr. Karla Bester is a Director of Programs for an educational company, where she works with administrators, instructional support leaders, coaches, teachers, and students… Read more

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