End of year is approaching and if you’re like me, you’re already dreaming of beach trips and sleeping in. Unless you have tons of PD to attend and many PD books to read, a restful and relaxing Summer is what I hope is ahead for you. BUT, let’s stop in our tracks for a second and remember that as enticing as beach daydreaming sounds, we still have time left in school and much work to get done. One of the things that usually gets dropped at the end of the year is classroom management strategies, routines and procedures. It’s like we all get infected with Summer fever. We want Summer, the kids want Summer, everyone wants Summer. Summer can take its sweet time arriving when classroom management is left by the way side. You want your class to become a mad house? There are surefire ways to guarantee that. I want to share some ways that we can easily get off track and lose our class without even realizing it.
1. Become lenient with rules and expectations
Every year, I am hopeful that all of the routines and procedures we have established throughout the year become permanent. As a teacher, I am the one that sets the tone for my class at the beginning. Students can be independent and make many of their own decisions, but even adults are prone to behave based on what the perceived leader displays. If at the end of the year, we become lackadaisical about our routines and procedures, the students are bound to become the same way. Yes, the end of the year should be fun, but it doesn’t have to become zoo-like for the sake of being fun. In the end, when many of the routines and procedures are dropped, teachers become the ones responsible for cleaning up the messes and managing behaviors. That only leads to an exhausted teacher who becomes desperate for the year to end.
2. Don’t have a plan
It’s the end of the year! Let’s party! Hold your horses, there 😉 What is end of year anyway? Is it the last week, the last two weeks, or the last month? Think about it. If we dedicate the last month to just partying it up and have no plan in place, that means that our students end up with about 20 days of no instruction which totals to an average of 140 hours that could have been used to better prepare students. I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but every June I find myself questioning my year and wondering how I could have done more to prepare my students. The end of year can be a wonderful opportunity to do more of the hands-on activities that sometimes mandated curriculum doesn’t give freedom for. It is a great time to do projects and highly engaging activities so that the students as well as the teachers remain motivated all the way to the end. Doing meaningful, engaging activities make the end of year worthwhile and guarantees that learning is still taking place.
3. Get completely off schedule
Kids and people in general function well when there is a level of structure and predictability. If you’ve had a set schedule the entire year and then all of a sudden your students have no idea what’s happening or what to expect, it can really throw them off. Keep in mind that we all love a break and students may be looking forward to the time off, but some students thrive in structured environments. Talks of the year coming to an end and excessive amounts of unstructured time as well as unpredictable schedules can make some students anxious. You know your students better than anyone else in the building. You know what makes them feel good and what keeps them motivated. This is a great time to utilize those connections you’ve made and to acknowledge that some of them may struggle with being off schedule.
At the end of the day, it’s always about the kids. We do what’s best for them. Sometimes we have to make adjustments to what we are used to and what has seemingly worked for us in order to ensure that the kids are still the priority. Making changes can be hard, but I’ve always said that’s my favorite thing about teaching: we are always learning and growing right along with our students.
Pin the image below for quick access in the future.
Related Posts for End of Year
Happy End of Year,