Is your authentic Self saying “Hooray!” I finally get to come out and your tired teacher self saying, “OMG! That’s so much work! I don’t have the strength, energy or time?!” Or are you thinking? “I’m scared!” What if they don’t like it? What if it doesn’t go as I thought? Where’s that scripted guidebook afterall?
Have you been dying to get to teach what you want and now that the time is here, you have so many other tasks pulling you in a million directions? Organizing classroom cleanup, finalizing testing, grades, cum folders, parent contacts, final celebrations?
Are your students really squirming in their seats? Are you seeing behaviors from students that are completely unusual and out of character?
Here are some tips on surviving those last few days.
If you’re like me you over planned and you’re just never gonna get to it all. Don’t worry, you can share your extra with another teacher, save it for next year, send it home for summer work. Don’t worry if you feel like, I prepped that for hours, made those copies, cut out those shapes, what a waste if I don’t get to it. Breathe, the most important thing you can do for your students is stay calm and enjoy your students.
2. Enjoy your students.
Celebrate their individual quirks. Build their confidence. Often summer brings the thoughts of change and uncertainty for students as much as they are excited for it! The last month or so, I came up with an idea for math where the students would provide a link to a technology teaching website. We shared Kahoot, IXL, Khan Academy etc. Some I liked some I didn’t so much, but we got to learn from each other.
That being said, me, the tech geek handed in my chromes at the first possible chance. I wanted to enjoy learning and not be distracted or competing with computers. With them out of the classroom I didn’t have to debate, well the other classes are doing it.
We also sing a lot. Students would find songs I would never think of. And lots of great songs have the lyrics right on youtube so you can read along. One of my favorite ways to help struggling readers especially students with dyslexia.
3. Keep Assessing.
I felt like my students calmed down a lot when I started assessing again the 2nd to last day of school. I pretended I needed some data where they all had to read to me for one minute. This sounded completely plausible. The room needed to remain quiet and they got to have an undivided minute of my attention and a chance for me to say good work!
Some I picked what they read, others read their own choice. I was surprised 3 girls in a row picked a non-fiction piece about spiders from our text book?!
I wish I would have come up with a last minute fluency assessment for math. I did have some quality review sheets for the last week students were good with.
4. Keep Working
When we were on a field trip another teacher and I were gushing over the lessons and fun activities we had planned for the final week ahead. Paper mache, slime making, tie-dying all sounded great. But by the time we were done with assemblies, final testing, and everything else, we both had projects that were still incomplete on our last day.
On the flip side, there were a few moments before the last bus, I was so glad I’d stopped at the dollar store, picked up some glow sticks 20 for a $1.00 and could invite her students to come do a last minute STEM science project while she got some folders filed at the office. It was fun for all and I really got to enjoy the last few minutes with the kids.