Teacher, I understand that end-of-the-school-year feeling. I know that you are tired and overwhelmed. I know how much you have to get done and how mentally and physically draining finishing a school year is.
I know you’re ready for the summer. But I want to encourage you – finish the year strong!
I promise the summer will be here soon. But until then, don’t phone it in. Don’t coast. Don’t just go through the motions.
You only have a few more days to impact your students. Don’t waste that time. Don’t give up yet. These last few days can make all the difference!
How to Finish the School Year Strong
Don’t coast; instead, be more intentional. Don’t allow yourself to go on autopilot. Instead, choose to be intentional about making these last days count. Set one or two end-of-the-year goals and make it a priority to do all you can to influence your students during these last few days.
Keep first things first. When you’re overwhelmed and there are a million things to do, remember to keep first things first. Focus on what really matters and realize that the rest will get done eventually.
Draw on relationships you’ve built. You’ve spent a whole year building relationships with your students and their parents, and as a result, you likely have more influence now than you ever did before. Take advantage of every opportunity to speak the truth and impact their lives.
Strategically prioritize what to teach. If you’ve got way more material to cover than you have time to teach, don’t just keep plodding along. Instead, sit down and decide what is most important for them to learn. Then focus on that.
Don’t plan to finish teaching too early. For those of you who are right on track and are about to finish your curriculum, I have a word of caution for you – don’t finish too early. One of my first years I finished my math curriculum a week early, planning review games for the last week. The problem was that once I told the kids we were done with the book, I had trouble keeping them focused and out of trouble for the last few days. Since then, I’ve decided to have my last test closer to the last day of school.
Communicate with parents. Don’t just turn in your final grades and walk out the door. Take the time to have one last communication with the parents of kids who have struggled in your class. Give them suggestions of things they can do over the summer to help prepare their student for the next year. Even if you don’t think they’ll heed your advice, taking a few moments to send them a final email shows them how much you really do care about their student.
Try to leave things as organized as possible. Notice I said try. I know how much there is to do, but the more organized you can leave things now, the smoother things will go next fall. So take a few moments to jot down notes for yourself of what worked and what didn’t. And maybe even to tackle those disastrous desk drawers. (Do I dare even mention the closet?)
- Decide to enjoy these last days. Simple but profound. Instead of counting every moment till you’re done, choose to enjoy these last days you have with this group of students. It will soon be over and you’ll be relaxing. But this opportunity – your time with these students – will be done. So choose to enjoy these days while you have them and to view them as a gift. This one mental decision will impact everything else you do.
What else do you think is key to finishing the school year strong? Share your thoughts with a comment below.