Why is the end of the year more challenging than the rest of the year? It could be the anticipation of the summer break. For some students that's exciting and welcomed and for others, well, not so much. School is a safe and predictable place for students. Teachers are a loving and predictable person for students. Not many people are comfortable with the unknown.
As teachers we know that this summer anticipation presents itself as an unwelcome sight in our class. Students can be chattier, more forgetful, have to be given directions several times. So what can a teacher do to get the most out of this time of the year?
1. Remember to take care of yourself! You need to stay rested so that you have more patience. If you are rested your brain will think more quickly. Resting is a choice that you can and should make, no excuses.
2. Bring out your best lesson plans. You need to search for your most engaging lessons and materials. When I taught 1st grade, I taught a different hands-on thematic lesson each day. We did Watermelon Day, Water Day, Popcorn Day, etc. I also taught a Charlie and The Chocolate Factory unit. This year in 2nd grade we saved our fairy tale unit for the end. It's time for us to pull out all the stops.
3. Make lists. Teachers are given tasks to complete that, frankly, make us cry. Put these tasks on a list and prioritize. Don't take on tasks that aren't required. For example, we like to fill out portfolio cover sheets that tell the following years teachers everything about the student. These sheets aren't required, but make us feel better about handing our students over. I chose to fill out the pertinent information like DRA levels, test scores and learning style. The rest was left blank with a note to check the portfolio. When people tell you to do something immediately, be respectful and tell them that you will get to ASAP. Understand that your ASAP may not be until a few days later. Most importantly, don't forget tip #1, take care of yourself. You owe it to your students.
I hope that you get through the year as uneventful as possible. Remember to spend a little extra time with each student to let them know that you care. Please tell us below in the comments your tips for surviving the end of the year.