This school year is coming to an end.
To finish it on a high note, and to inspire parents and students to view their next school year with hope, we can reflect, get personal, and get planning!
Here are six tips to make the remaining school days memorable and meaningful.
1. Reflecting on everything that’s happened
For some this might be making notes, for others meditating, but our goal is the same: think about what has taken place and what we’ve learned from it.
Here are some things you might consider:
What progression looks like — Some students might thrive being able to work at their own pace, while others might get distracted easily. Identify different types of students and think of how you might address their common challenges.
How parent relationships have changed — Expectations, roles, and communication have evolved rapidly. Taking the time to understand what’s realistic for parents to achieve, what support they need, and what they can realistically expect from you, will make the planning process easier.
Ways to improve efficacy — What worked? What didn’t work? How can it be better? Considering how you can match your instruction delivery with your workload has two benefits; first, on learning outcomes for your student, and second, preventing potential burnout next year.
2. Make it feel personal for everyone
Give a meaningful and personal goodbye to the students who stayed with you during this challenging time. Make sure to do the following:
Give recognition to every student — Your strugglers, your high-achievers, your end-of-year-no-shows – everyone. By noting the qualities or accomplishments individual students have made, you can make them feel connected and noticed.
Encourage peer praise — Encourage students to commend one another for something positive they did, be that supporting their learning, or just giving them an opportunity to laugh and have some fun. By building this camaraderie and closeness before the year closes out gives them an opportunity to feel connected and look forward to coming back to their classmates in the new school year.
3. Encourage reflection
Encourage your students to reflect on what they have experienced and taken away from this time with the following questions:
- What have I learned about myself and my own learning during this time?
- What were the biggest challenges I faced?
- What were my successes?
- What will I do differently next year?
- What are my goals for next year?
4. Reach out to parents
Communication is fundamental to a strong parent-teacher partnership and to foster a sense of community for the child between home and school. Parents will appreciate any words of care or encouragement.
5. Planning for the new year
Getting together the resources and plans we need to hit the ground running in the new year will reduce stress and give us a semblance of control. Here’s a few things you can plan for:
Lean teaching — look at what’s been working, what hasn’t, and where you can make the new normal as efficient as possible.
Upskilling with technology — become more at one with the technology that’s been giving you headaches, or seek more efficient alternatives to programs you’re currently using. Some programs will come with a resource or training centre (like our very own Help Hub for our suite of products), or you might look to YouTube, blogs or teacher communities to get more guidance and advice.
Plan your approach with colleagues — knowledge, resource and experience-sharing can take the pressure off learning or creating something from scratch. It also provides the opportunity to decide as a school or department what realistic goals look like and plan strategies to achieve them.
But there’s one more thing that can guarantee ending the year on a high note …
6. Look after yourself
Most importantly, use the holidays to recharge, reflect and give yourself some physical and mental space after a tough year. You’ll be much better placed to provide for a new class of eager young faces next year.
So, take care of yourself, you’ve earned it.