by Leticia Skae
Often being a teacher is like being a parent; discipline, mentoring, listening, understanding, growing, etc. Because there are so many similarities in teaching and parenting it is important that we remember a few things as the year winds down. Even though you are tired and frazzled with loads of work to grade, exams to make and a classroom to clean, don’t fall out just yet; instead, stay consistent, structured, and determined. End the year strong!
Consistency is extremely important as the year comes to an end; it’s the dessert to an elegant dinner. Nothing is more upsetting than being served a terrible dessert after a wonderful meal. The same goes for ending a wonderful educational year; nothing ruins a great year more than complete chaos in the last month. Within the last month sticking to your rules, and enforcing them the same as you did at the beginning of the year will help the end of the year run smoothly. Students can see the light at the end of the tunnel and because of this sometimes they want to dash to it without actually taking the time to make it through the steps to the light. This, inevitably, leads to them tripping and that leads to extra stress for educators. Instead, let’s remind students of how to get to the light safely and smoothly, and end the year positively. This holds students accountable and also holds us accountable, as well.
According to http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/family-life/structure-routines children need structure. It is one of the best ways that we can support their growth. For instance, seniors are currently scrambling to finish the year and graduate. I refuse to give them free grades no matter how much they beg. I hold them accountable for making up their work through Saturday school, and overtime. After high school, they will be expected to work hard in order to be successful, so cutting them too many breaks here will only hurt them. We can be their mentors but we don’t have to be their friends. Give them structure and enforce it and though they may dislike it now, they will realize how much you helped them, later on in life.
Structure and consistency can only be effective if the teacher is determined. I know that we are all tired and we can only focus on one day at a time. However, the determination to end strong can also affect how you start your new year. Hang in there. Think about next year now, even before the summer. Take the last few days of school to reorganize your classroom, so that it is more functional for next (have students help), reflect on and fix your previous lessons, and make posters for your classroom. Take the very last days, during exams, to finish grading exams and then collaborate with fellow teachers on your team, organize units for next year and start planning early. This determination will do two main things for you a) model for your students how forward-thinking behaviors benefit people b) allow you less stress and more time to actually enjoy your summer.
Wrapping up the year takes a lot of time and energy, but if you can hold steadfast in a few areas, you can end strong. Stay consistent with your rules and your educational bravado. Also, keep a resilient structure within the classroom; don’t let the temptation of the end of the year slowly creep in and ruin what you have worked so hard for all year. Finally, be determined and focused. Don’t end the year haphazardly; instead, be thoughtful and proactive in finishing. Partake in this positive guidance and enjoy a stress free summer and beginning of a new year.