The end of the year can be a stressful time for educators, both work wise and emotionally. As a principal and teacher, there was always this “I forgot to pack something for my trip” anxiety that I had at the end of the year. What did I forget to do? What needs to be done? What am I missing? Add that to a million things teachers seemingly have to do during that time; it is a tough time of year.
As you go into the end of the year and have that break, here are a few little reminders:
Not all students look forward to the summer break. Although many students celebrate summer vacation, some miss the routine of school and the relationships that school provides that they may not receive to the same extent elsewhere. That time away from the routine can be daunting so try to check in with students to give them some extra attention before they get into the break. This leads into the next suggestion.
Find time to connect personally with each student you teach. For many schools, the end of the year means “awards season” (I have some strong thoughts about that), and although some students feel they get some special recognition, for many, this time leaves them dispirited. Little conversations with students to let them know they are appreciated can make a huge difference. I still remember in grade 4, as a student, our teacher Miss Butler, wrote a personal note to every single student in her class, that I can still remember to this day. I had won some awards as a student, but I have cherished nothing more than I did that genuine show of appreciation. That was the only time I had received something like that as a student, but it shouldn’t be an anomaly. Writing cards for every student, which would be especially hard in high school, is not necessarily the only way this can be done, so take the time to show that appreciation. Some may see this as a waste of time, but I see it as an investment into your students. You might not see the payoff, but believe me, it will happen.
It is okay for you to take a break. I always see tweets on Facebook posts getting on educators for looking forward to summer break. Things like, “don’t look it as 20 days until the break, but 20 days to make a difference”, are fantastic in spirit, but they already add to the pile of teacher guilt that so many have. I don’t see any profession guilt people for having a break more than I do in education. People always need doctors, but rarely do I see Facebook posts guilting them about holidays. Maybe we can see it as 20 days to make a difference AND until you have a break.Education is taxing emotionally, mentally, and even physically. If you do not practice self-care, eventually, there will be nothing left for you or your students in the future. Spend time with family, do fun things, or whatever. Just be okay with recharging batteries. I promise you that the students at the beginning of next school year will need you at 100%.
These are just the suggestions that I have in my head, but I would love more reminders from educators around the world on how to make the most of the school year. If you have any suggestions that are positive and lift people up during this hard part, it would be greatly appreciated if you shared in the comments.
Again, to every educator out there, thank you for all that you do. You work is NEVER appreciated the way it should be, but your impact is immeasurable.
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