The Teacher’s Guide to a Quick After School Checklist


Developing a routine to get yourself out the classroom door at the end of day can be handy.

Here is a routine – or a mental checklist I’d run though – that would help me feel confident walking out the door at a relatively decent time.

I never did mind staying until my work was done, but when I got pregnant – my stamina changed and I needed to be more diligent about getting out the door and using my time wisely.

The Kindergarten Teacher's Guide to a Quick After School Checklist :: KindergartenWorks

I know it won’t translate exactly for everyone, but here’s what worked for me.

1. Start as soon as the kids are gone

As soon as our day was done together and I reentered the classroom from dismissal, I’d totally dim the lights (cut the number of switches on) and pick up anything big off the floor.

My kinders were always great at helping keep the floors clean – but there’s always something random on the floor after school. Always.

So, I’d pick up the things that’d otherwise make me cringe with guilt when the custodian walked in or would make me feel unsettled to focus on lesson planning.

I did this as I returned to my teacher space to do lesson planning – it was no extra steps and gave me a clean work environment in which I could focus.

2. Have an after-school checklist

If you can have a routine-based checklist of things you know you’ll want to get done before you walk out the door, then you can save time and energy.

At the end of the day, when you’re maybe not feeling as fresh, use a routine to help you make sure you get everything done without spending extra mental energy.

For me this meant I did six things:

  1. finish checking any unchecked math journals
  2. review/update small group lesson plans
  3. review/finish to-do list for the day in my teacher binder
  4. pile up things for tomorrow’s prep time
  5. make teacher space tidy
  6. change agenda for tomorrow
  7. grab personal stuff – set out tomorrow’s read aloud on my way out

Let me run through these six things with you so you can see what it looks like in reality.

The Kindergarten Teacher's Guide to a Quick After School Checklist :: KindergartenWorks - check kindergarten math journals common core

1. If it was a guided math zone day and I didn’t get to finish checking math journals, I’d whip through those. That way if I needed to connect with students during their morning routine about their work, I could.

I’d set those aside to hand out in the morning.

The Kindergarten Teacher's Guide to a Quick After School Checklist :: KindergartenWorks - Tweak lesson plans for the following day(s)

2. If needed, I’d make changes to lesson plans for the following day (or few) or review my lesson plans for guided reading and guided math. And in case of a sub… make sure that my binder is open to lesson plans for tomorrow. Check.

3. Taking a look at my to-do list and make sure that I’ve checked off what needed to get done or I’d move it to tomorrow morning’s prep slot in my binder.

3. And along with that was making a pile of needed things for tomorrow’s prep time so I could grab it and work.

4. In general, I tried to return my teacher space to as neat as I can to make the next day start out on a calm note for myself.

The Kindergarten Teacher's Guide to a Quick After School Checklist :: KindergartenWorks - Change the agenda in a pocket chart

5. I changed the pocket chart agenda strips to match our daily routine for the following day.

Having it planned out on paper made it easy to translate into this pictured agenda on the wall that every kinder could follow. And {just in case} if there was to be a sub, the kinders would totally rely on this to make their day as normal as possible… so it was always usually done the night before.

6. As I change the agenda after school, I’d make a mental note of what read-aloud is our focus for tomorrow. I’ll grab it as I walk out the door.

7. Grab my water cup, lunch bag, purse and coat and shut off my teacher computer.

The Kindergarten Teacher's Guide to a Quick After School Checklist :: KindergartenWorks - Have the read aloud(s) out and ready

Pull out the main read-aloud from my filing cabinet (if it wasn’t already out because that was often something I’d forget) as I walk out and past my whole group area. I put it on the easel for tomorrow.

Lights off and I’m out the door.

Let’s wrap it up

And that’s pretty much it! Can you relate to any of those things from your own list?

What helps you feel confident in walking out the door each day so you can focus on yourself and your family?

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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One Comment

  1. I know this approach would help my mom, a teacher for 28 years now. I’ll pass the idea along. Thank you!
    -Jason @Springworks Farm

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