By Teachers, For Teachers
As the school year comes to a close, it’s important to remain focused and not get derailed by your restless students. The end of the year means nice weather and overly energized students, which means some of you are reaching the point of exhaustion.
Just think, you don’t have that much further to go, you will make it! The lazy days of relaxing in the pool, staying up late and sleeping in are just around the corner.
But until then, you need to focus on getting through the end of the year. Here are a few teaching strategies and suggestions to help you tackle the time you do have left in the classroom.
The end of the school means mounds of papers that need to be graded. It also means summer cleanup, and getting your room ready for the fall. So the first thing that you need to do is make a comprehensive list of everything that needs to get done. Once you have your list, try and categorize it. When you chunk your items together, it is visually easier on the eye. Go through the list category by category and check things off as you complete them. You will be surprised how much you will get done this way.
The last thing that you want to do at the end of the year is to plan anything complicated. This is the time to let loose a little bit and plan fun outdoor activities. Don’t make it hard on yourself by planning some elaborate end-of-year project that is going to take a lot of time and patience. Stick to what you know and find a few fun activities that will help get your students’ energy out. Try having students conduct a quick bottle rocket experiment with a soda bottle or plan a field day for your students. Think of things that are simple and don’t take a lot of time and aggravation.
Think of a way to commemorate the school year. What’s better than a hands-on memento keepsake that your students made themselves? Try having students create their own classroom yearbook. All you have to do is instruct students to create a one page to add to the class yearbook, make color copies for all the pages, and have the students to put the pages together to make a book. It’s a quick and easy keepsake that students will cherish for years.
You don’t have to spend the last few days of school after the students leave in your classroom cleaning it out all by yourself. You can enlist the help of your students right now. Make summer cleanup easy on yourself by delegating jobs to your students. Make a list of everything that needs to get organized (school supplies, papers, textbooks, classroom materials, etc.), then divide students into small groups and have them sort through it. Most of the last days of school are filler time where students play games and watch movies. While this can be fun, it doesn’t take the whole day. Use that extra time that you have to get some cleaning done.
By being so busy at school, you probably forgot all about yourself and your needs. But if you want to have a happy stress-free summer, then it’s important that you take a little “Me time” right now. I know what you’re thinking, “How can I take any time for myself when there is so much to get done!” Well, you can. Here’s how:
Take a moment to breathe, because the end of the year is a busy time, and if you don’t want to feel burned out later, then you need to take a few minutes for yourself now. Even though your excuse is that you will have plenty of “Me time” during the summer, you know you won’t. You will be chasing your children or cleaning your house, or tending to your family. Just try and find a few moments everyday where you feel at peace, even if it’s just for a few moments.
Planning ahead is the key to ending the year on a high note. Once you have everything planned out and your “To-do” list written out, then everything else will easily fall into place. Try and take a few minutes each day for yourself, and before you know it, school will be out for the summer. Hurray!
Do you have any end-of-the-year tips for teachers? What suggestions do you have? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.