Kristen Taylor | St. Louis ‘06
With just a few weeks left until the end of the school year and students having more reasons excuses for not putting 100% effort, you are probably wondering just how it is possible to make it to the end without losing every thread of patience you started the school year with. So how can you keep it together and still thrive in the classroom?
1. Don’t fight the system.
When it comes to cancelled classes, extra students in our rooms, lack of planning periods, and other unpredictable school-related matters, complaining and feeling mad won’t really help the situation. Keep your cool and continue as best you can. As the old saying goes, “pick your battles wisely.” Fighting the system will only make your job harder, especially in the midst of new schedules, testing restrictions, and just being tired. You have more things to worry about; don’t try to take on your classroom AND the whole school at the same time.
2. Stick to teaching concepts and skills until the very last day possible.
The trick is to get creative in the way that you engage the students with the content. If it still feels like “school,” students will be less likely to fall short of the behavioral expectations you set before.
3. Review your vision/transformative goal.
Now is the time to make sure that you are really reaching your goals – and not just those objective, 80% ones. Do your students exhibit the habits that they need to succeed over the summer and at the beginning of the next school year? If the evidence isn’t there yet, today is a great day to ensure that you set your students up for success!
4. Balance your life.
Don’t compromise on fun and meaningful activities that make you feel good about yourself. Start each day in an empowering and confident way. Don’t succumb to the pressures but rather accept them for what they are, realizing that they too, shall pass.
5. Go on some field trips!
If you have the chance to make (or just participate) in field trips, it is the perfect way to help move time along a lot quicker. This way you can engage with students on a different level in a different way, and you might find a newfound “friend” you didn’t know you had in your classroom.
6. Plan for three times the activities you will need!
The end of the year is a perfect time to try something new in your classroom. A word to the wise: a plan that you spent forever working on to try something new can sometimes fall flat. No worries – that’s what trial and error is for; just be sure you have something else equally as planned out so that you can transition quickly.
7. Be positive with your students!
Use a lot of positive reinforcement. A little bit of praise will go a long long way.
Remember, both students and teachers will try to push their limits as the weather gets warmer. And its ok – who wouldn’t want to be outside when its warm and the sun is shining?!?! That doesn’t mean that school has to be more boring than being outside. Bring the shine into your classroom to end the year strong!