The Home Stretch

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The school year is drawing to a close.  This time of year is always a bit hectic for educators.  In my role as an ELL teacher right now, that involves finishing up the state’s standardized tests, completing ILPs for each of my EL students, and, oh yeah, teaching in the days I have in between all of that (throw in job searching and parenting on the side, and you get the full picture of my days).  How can teachers make this time of year manageable while maintaining good teaching practices?

  1. Stay Focused – It is easy to focus more on the organizational management of this time of year (testing schedules, field trip chaperones, entering grades for report cards, etc.).  We need to keep the students and their learning as the focal points of each day.  We expect the children to work their hardest up to the end, so we need to give them the same effort.  We need to plan and execute engaging, meaningful lessons till the last day of the school year.
  2. Take a deep breath and SMILE – By this, I mean take time for yourself.  It’s easy to get stressed out and overwhelmed by all that needs to happen before the last day of school, but here is a secret…it will all get done.  Take time each day (maybe several times a day) to step back from it all.  Listen to some great music, read a good book, check out a new blog, eat some amazing chocolate (the Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate is my fave), take a walk, or enjoy a glass of wine (save this one for home).  Whatever it is that helps you breathe and recenter to power through the next minute, hour, or day with a smile on your face.  Don’t just count the days till summer.  That does nothing for you or your students.  Live in the moment and enjoy it.
  3. Reflect and prepare – Use this time at the end of one school year to reflect on what worked well, what needs tweaked, and what needs completely thrown out.  This is a great time to prepare for the following year, while these thoughts and experiences are fresh in your mind.  By doing this now, the summer can be used for professional development and personal renewal.

So relish in the growth you have seen in yourself and in your students, and enjoy the run along the home stretch.