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8 Tips to Prepare Your ESL/EFL Classroom or Counseling Office for the Next School Year!

Happy Independence Day to all you Americans out there!  Enjoy this little blast-from-the-past video clip in honor of the 4th of July (click on the telescope pic to the left)...




Well, better late than never!  We finally have our July post up and ready for you, just before midnight!  This month, we are full of ideas and tips on getting prepared for the next school year!  So if you'd like some professional food-for-thought to make your program even better once you start up again, this post is right up your alley!  As always, we've included a lot of helpful resources- just click on the green links which will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use after you leave a comment below.

But, first, a few Bilingual Learner updates...


And now, onto our main feature:


1.  Avoid Burnout-Unless you MUST be in your office or classroom during your break, STAY AWAY!  We know... this can be really hard. There's just something so tempting about the potential to get work done in the quiet and solitary environment of your own empty classroom/office.  But, it is important to stay away in order to recharge yourself so you can start fresh when you do have to return.  Think of it this way- batteries don't recharge themselves while still in the flashlight.

2.  Make a List- Start writing down any changes and additions you would like to make in your teaching or counseling program on a "Things to Change Next Year" list.  Anytime you have a revelation about something that might work better for you and your students/clients, write it on the list.   Then at the end of your break, spend some time transferring the changes you most want to implement into your planner, smartphone, master counseling calendar (here's ours if you need a template), Outlook calendar, or whatever you use to organize and plan out your year.  Here's a link to a snippet of our "Things to Change Next Year" list.

3.  Compile Your Supplies- Staples makes a lot of money off of us over the summer.  They may not see us during the entire school year except for an occasional frantic weeknight run, but we are on a first-name basis over the summer!  Spend some time writing out a list of all the supplies you would like to buy and then shop for them during your break when you have the time to concentrate, take your time, and enjoy your shopping experience.  Here's our shopping list (and a pic!) so far:

  • 2015-16 Academic Planner
  • First-day-of-school outfit (We buy ourselves a new one every year to feel a little extra sparkly on that first day when we throw open the doors!)
  • Stickers
  • Prizes for the treasure chest
  • index cards
  • CD labels
  • padded envelopes


4.  Do Your PD (Professional Development) Reading- If you are into this sort of thing, use your break to read, highlight, and take notes on whatever it is you want to improve on in your career.  After reading, review your notes, and red star the 5-10 most important ones and then put them in your "Things to Change Next Year" list. Here's a PD reading list to start with if you need some ideas:



6. Student/Client List- Make a list of those students or clients who you didn't quite finish your work with last year; include a note about where you left off with them and what more you can do to support them.  Spend some time checking in with them in the beginning of the year to help them get started on the right foot.  Often just knowing that someone cares and is available is all the support they need.

7.  Plan it Out of the Way! Plan as many of your lessons, units, group sessions, and/or guidance lessons as you can.  As mentioned above, the beginning of the school year tsunami is coming and the less you have to do when it hits, the better you will feel!

8. Decorate- Stop doing #1 and return two to three days before your actual official start date to decorate your office or classroom.  Even, better, do it before you leave on break, if you still have that option. Decorating your classroom or office is one of the few things you can do without students, clients, or work systems in place.  All you need is some butcher paper, a stapler, staples and StaplesTM, Pinterest, and your own creativity.  So, knock out this fun and crucial task before the beginning-of-school-year tsunami hits!  Here are a few photos of our decorations below:









That brings us to the end of this month's post.  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in August for our next post on the adventures of the first month back to counseling and teaching!   As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.


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