As the school year starts again, teachers and students must work together to keep their classrooms clean. This can be difficult to do when you have a whole new set of students to manage and train. While your cleaning crew will take care of most of the cleaning for you, there are some things teachers can do to keep their classrooms clean right from the start. Check out these tips to avoid chaos in the first few weeks of class.
Provide Storage for Personal Belongings
In order to get your students in the organizational mindset, you need to have options in place for them to store their personal belongings. You may have a set of hooks near the classroom door for kids to hang their coats on or a set of cubbies for them to put their backpacks and books in. If you have a play area where they need to take off their shoes, put an organization system in place around that area so they automatically know what to do. If you have the right storage solutions in place early on, your students will naturally keep your classroom clean.
Introduce a Chore Chart
If your children are old enough, you may assign them weekly responsibilities to lessen the cleaning load on your end. These will rotate throughout the year so that each of your students gets a chance to handle a different type of task. You may ask one student to collect papers for recycling or wipe off the counter after art class. If you have a class pet, you may ask one student to clean up its cage once a week and another to feed it every day. How you break up the chores will be based on the needs for your classroom, but don’t be afraid to give your students responsibilities. In many cases, they will thrive on the idea of being "adults" and get excited about helping you keep the class organized.
Set up a rewards system to correspond with the chore chart. Even something as simple as a gold star for completed tasks will encourage students to work as a team. This also gives you something to show parents during parent teacher conferences so they can see how their children are doing in class.
Lead by Example
You cannot expect your students to keep the classroom clean if you have a messy desk piled high with papers. In order to ensure that they stay motivated about cleaning, you should lead by example. Clean up after each task that you complete, even if that delays your lessons by a minute or two. If you do not have time for that, clean up while the kids are at lunch or in another class outside of your classroom (PE, music, computer class, etc.). If you do this consistently enough, you won’t have to spend much time on each cleaning session individually, and you will have a clutter-free work environment to keep yourself productive.