There's a barrage of summer classroom setup posts, photos, and videos to sift and scroll through when I check in on my social media, which is very much aligned with my own work calendar as I officially return to my library this upcoming week. I'm discovering new-to-me posts with educators and friends of education reminding colleagues and others that none of us should be giving our employers our work "for free" by returning to classrooms and libraries and labs and school buildings any earlier than our official report date.
- If you're able to plan for another year or three to five in advance, create organizational and instructional goals that you can work on over time.
- Ask a veteran teacher about the meat and potatoes, the substance of teaching and learning, and don't be surprised when they don't mention desert, jungle, rainbow, or beach color schemes.
- Your goals should be longer than your list of decor trending items that you're replacing every year.
- Take a week this summer to envision and build the foundation of the environment you will share throughout the year with other contributors (the students). You're going to need the time to arrange and rearrange.
- Sort, purge if necessary, and determine actual essentials, identifying the difference between needful things and wantful things.
- Give yourself an hour (or three) to make your own space comfortable and appealing to you. Your own space is your desk area, a bookcase, file cabinet, cabinetry, or shelving behind your reading table or in my case, the book repair room behind the circulation desk.
- If your job or placement might change after a year, invest in a neutral or simple theme, no unicorns, cacti, ninja, or rainbow characters overload.
- Next summer, take a day or a day and a half to do these same jobs, without having to recreate the wheel. Acquire over time, and keep and replace when necessary tried-and-trues.