The end of the school year can be chaotic – from assessments and report writing to camps, productions and final assemblies, teachers have a lot of their plates during this period. With the disruptions of 2020, Term 4 is shaping up to be especially intense this year, and the way we bring it to a close will be even more important.
As we count down to the end of the final term, here is our advice to help you finish the school year on a high note.
Don’t Wrap Up Too Soon
While it can be easy to let your schedule relax when you reach the final stretch, but it’s helpful to try and maintain your routine for as long as possible. If students perceive that you are winding down, this may impact their attitude and behaviour in the classroom.
This doesn’t mean you have to deliver dense, highly-structured lessons right up to the closing bell (there’s nothing wrong with keeping it light and fun after all), but making the most of the remaining learning time in the last few weeks will help students stay focused and engaged.
One most effective ways to ease the end-of-year stress is to be prepared. When you’re in the middle of all the final marking, report writing and festive events, finding the time to prepare lesson plans can be difficult. By squeezing in extra prep where you can and having a trusty collection of resources ready to fall back on, you can alleviate some of the pressure while ensuring you’re still able to give your best to your students.
We have put together a selection of quality lesson planning resources to help you out when you’re short on time in this blog, and there are also plenty of fun holiday-themed activities and ideas available online if you want to mix things up with something seasonal.
Take Time to Reflect
It’s always beneficial to reflect on the year gone by, but this year it’s more crucial than ever to allow students the opportunity to process, document and share their feelings about the past 12 months. This can serve as a reflection of learning while also providing a valuable way to process the challenges they have overcome. It can be done as a group and/or individually and might take the form of a journal entry, poster, slide show, portfolio or memory book that they can look back on and share.
As well as reflecting with the students, it’s also important for teachers to do their own reflections as it gives you a chance to see how you’ve grown in your teaching practice and what you’ve learned over the past year. Don’t forget to also use this time to take note of any professional development you have undertaken, as this could come in handy when writing an appraisal or updating your CV.
Recognise and Celebrate Achievements
Celebrating your students’ achievements is one of the best ways to close out the year with a bang, particularly one that has been filled with so many difficulties. You might invite students to write down something positive about their classmates, as well as think about the personal successes they are most proud of and share them with the class.
Rather than relying on the awards passed out in the final assembly, you should also make an effort to recognise the accomplishments of all the students individually, especially the ones that have struggled. Whether it was mastering a new concept, adapting well to the remote learning environment, trying again after a mistake or handing in a stand-out project, praising the ways each student has grown will give them confidence that they can take with them into the next year.
Often, the final weeks of the school year can have just as big an impact on the students and teachers as the beginning of Term 1 does. By looking for ways to provide a positive experience, you can ensure everyone leaves for the summer holidays feeling optimistic and will return ready and excited to learn.
If you’d like to share your strategies for ending the school year well or want to make a fresh start in 2021 and need advice on finding your next teaching job in Victoria, speak to our team of Education recruitment specialists today.