The end of the school year can have teachers and students feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Here are four tips for thriving–not just surviving–in the final days of the school year.
1) SLOW DOWN
As the calendar starts speeding toward June, we as educators have a tendency to race along in our instruction as well.
“Hurry, fit in this last unit!”
“I taught all these lessons last year–I have to do the same this year too!”
One of the most valuable pieces of advice I received from a mentor teacher is this: when you are feeling frantic and that you need to “fit more in” what you actually need is to slow down. You don’t need to cram more material into your lessons or do extra activities–your kids have summer fever and you are tired. Instead, spend a few minutes of each class in quiet rest or meditation. Go into more depth in your lessons, have longer conversations, and let students explore extended topics on their own. Creating a more tranquil environment will have a calming effect on your students, who will be grateful for the brief opportunity to slow down.
2) LET STUDENTS DO THE TEACHING
Having students learn about a topic and then teach it to their peers keeps kids engaged as they are actively learning and sharing with an authentic audience. Kids enjoy being in the role of the teacher, creating fun activities and assessments. This creative learning experience can help funnel some of end-of-year energy from students, create novel experiences, and free yourself from additional planning and instruction. It’s a win for all!
Spending time reflecting on the school year isn’t only helpful to you as a teacher, it’s essential in solidifying learning for your students. Reflecting on not only what students have learned but how they’ve grown, challenges they’ve faced, and favorite experiences help foster pride in their achievements and support positive habits. How do you want students to remember your class? Give them the space and time to do so.
As educators, this is a good time to take note of all that you and your students have accomplished this year–especially if you feel you haven’t done enough. Step back and give yourself an opportunity to soak this in.
4) HAVE FUN!
This doesn’t need much explanation, but don’t forget to enjoy these last days with your crazy, loveable, incredible students. If you are looking for some fun and/or reflective end-of-year activities, you will find some great ideas here.