It’s May, flowers are budding, the sun pours in classroom windows and teachers everywhere join students in counting down the days until school’s out for the summer. After 8 (or so) of the most exhilarating, and at times excruciating, months it is almost time to recharge, but not quite yet. It would be easy, even, perhaps, understandable to mail it in for the last month. But we know better than that. We know it is important to finish the year on a strong note. What if, instead of counting down days and simply surviving, we re-imagined the end of the year? What if we took a lesson from long-distance runners and finished with a sprint. Here are three tips for sprinting through the finish line.
1. High Expectations
The lifeblood of any good classroom, high expectations are essential. This is true at any time of the year, but never more so than at the end of the year. Maintaining high expectations shows your students that you believe in them and that you are respecting them and their time. More importantly, high expectations continues to offer the opportunities for students to build their confidence and self-esteem.
2. Goal Orientation
Similar to maintaining high expectations, it can be easy to lose track of your goals this time of year. Our school just finished the ACT and Pre-ACT last week, it would be easy to say, “well the testing is over so…” This is a good time to remind yourself, and your students, about the the larger goals: the learning that supersedes the test. Re-orient towards those larger goals and scaffold down as needed i.e. weekly or even daily goals until the end of the year.
You have worked hard all year, now is the time to celebrate all the gains that were made. Carve out time and put it on your calendars to celebrate not only the top scores or the “best” students but also to recognize those students that grew the most or contributed most to a loving and caring classroom. Now is your time to highlight the contributions of all types of students, take advantage of it.
It can be draining to maneuver a system that can perpetuate inequities, so, take some time and rejuvenate over the summer, self-care is real. Reflect on what worked and what needs some tweaking.