It’s no secret. Having a great relationship with your custodian is one of the most important relationships you need as a classroom teacher. My first year teaching that was the resounding advice given to me and I still believe it to be true to this day. If it’s your first year teaching, make sure you know the answers to these 5 questions BEFORE you pack up your classroom and leave for summer break. Plus scroll all the way to the end to see the 2 freebies I have in store for you.
This is my absolute number one question you need to find out before leaving for summer vacation. Your principal and office staff will most likely have different hours than your custodian(s). Find out from your custodian when you will be able to access your classroom during the summer.
Some schools make you wait until your individual classroom is done, other schools do not allow teachers in for any circumstances while the building is being cleaned. Find this out in advance so that you can be prepared. Nothing is worse than letting your car fill up with Ikea items and Target bags LOL.
Typically, your principal will give general guidelines, but ask your custodian what needs to be packed up, stacked up, and taken down in your classroom as well. Find out how you can be helpful. Your custodian will thank you for this! At my school, it is really helpful for all things to be off the floor because they wax the floors during the summer and guess what? If it’s not off the floor that area gets skipped which equals a slightly dirtier classroom for me.
Find out from your custodian what all will be cleaned in your classroom. You need to know what parts of your classroom gets cleaned versus the ones that won’t. This came to me as I was talking to my friend Ashley over at Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd. I am fortunate enough to have a custodian and a cleaner at my school. My cleaner will make sure all the dust is gone by wiping down my countertops, shelves, etc. However, at my friend’s school, the teachers are responsible for that. Not exactly fun, but you need to know so that you aren’t scrambling last minute to sanitize your classroom before the new year.
If you are moving classroom or just trying to declutter, start asking your custodian a few weeks before summer vacation to save extra boxes for you. Also, ask for extra trash bags. They come in handy when you are packing up your classroom. Especially with your classroom library! In the past I had 2 options, leave my classroom library as is over summer vacation or take the books out of the baskets and stack the bins. Then a genius teacher friend showed me how she packs up her classroom library. She takes trash bags and puts them over her book bins to prevent a dust bunny invasion over summer. GENIUS. That is even one of my classroom pack up student jobs.
Find out from your custodian how your room will be “set-up” when it is done being cleaned. Most schools require a classroom layout/diagram of how you want your student desk arrangement set up and where bookshelves and other tables go. If it isn’t a requirement, I still say do it. If your custodian doesn’t do it for you at least you will have it for your own reference.
To help you out, I create a free cheat sheet so that you don’t forget these questions and other questions you may want to ask your custodian. Click the picture to download this FREE cheat sheet:
Also, here is a FREE thank you card and gift idea that you can use to show your appreciation of your custodial staff. They work so hard to help us keep our classroom environment amazing and a little token of appreciation can go a long way. Click either one of the pictures to grab your cheat sheet and thank you card (they will be delivered together in one single PDF directly to your email. Easy Peasy!
I hope these freebies come in handy for you! Comment below if you have any other good questions new teachers need to remember to ask before they leave their classroom for summer break!