Get Ready for Testing, Refreshing the Classroom, and Prepping for Goodbyes
(Psst, teachers! This is ONE MONTH in my popular 12-month series! See the whole series here and have an awesome year!)
April is Here – 4 Full Weeks of School!
Here it is – April – what can feel like one of the longest months in the school year, following Spring Break with no more vacations until Memorial Day (ugh!). That can feel like a long time, especially after the faster, shorter months we experience in the Winter. Here are some of the best teacher tips for April and ideas for thriving! Use this awesome month to make a huge impact for your students and fellow staff members.
Set Fresh Goals for Students
Are you reaching the deadline for covering content before your state assessments? Are you trying to decide what content to scrap in your final months, and what to revisit? April is a great time to decide on goals for your students’ learning in your final months together.
Every day counts in the classroom! April is a great time to reflect on how successful students have been in learning the skills you’ve been teaching. It’s a great time to decide just how far you want students to go. Or (better yet) decide to re-double efforts and ensure that, when they leave your classroom, they have those skills that are essential for their future success.
Reflect on your non-negotiables, and use your assessment to re-invigorate your hard work. Those final months will be over before you know it.
Update Those Bulletin Boards for Summer!
With warm weather (and the end of school!) just around the corner, it’s time to update those tired bulletin boards with fresh ideas for the end of the year! Check out my Etsy shop for ready-made bulletin boards and LOTS of shapes to inspire you!
I even sell custom die cut letters for ANY message you’d like! There are tons of options for colors, fonts, and sizes. Take the work out of your bulletin boards and let someone else do the heavy lift!
Think About Goodbyes – They’re Almost HERE!
Are your students graduating from your class and moving on to another building? Many districts have kindergarten graduations, elementary graduations, and other key milestones that they celebrate with students.
Think (now) about how you want to honor your students who are transitioning up to another level. How would you like to make this very special for them? For their families? Do you want to plan something with their parents or guardians? Will you plan a celebration, and if so how do you plan to make it extra special and memorable for them? Do you need to order special trophies, plaques, picture frames or photos? Don’t get caught with with last-minute ideas; take a minute to be playful now.
By now those of your teammates who are retiring have likely announced their next steps. Spend time reflecting on how you will honor their many years of service and contributions to your community.
Plan a party, sentimental gift, or celebration of their contributions. Collaborate with your teammates on how to make their departure extra special.
If you have teammates who are moving on to other districts or opportunities, think about how you’d like to wish them well on their next steps. Are there skills that they possess that you really want to know more about? Now’s the time to ask, or get a copy of THAT lesson plan!
Everyone says they will keep in touch but let’s face it, teaching is a busy profession! So glean everything you can from them before they transition onto their new roles.
Reflect on Successes and Write Them Down!
One of my favorite teacher tips for April is this – pause, reflect and write it down. I’ll admit, there’s very little time to do this in our lives! April is a wonderful time to stop and ask yourself what has gone very well and what are some things to be discarded for next year.
I don’t recommend saving this until May or June. By the time those months roll around we are exhausted and just ready for a break. April is a great time to go back through lesson plans and calendars, identifying successes and troubles. This also helps when you sit down for end-of-year evaluations. Bosses always like to know about what went well!
Bring Life to the Classroom with Spring-themed Units
Spring is a time of sunshine, flowers, chirping birds, and renewed energy in the northern hemisphere. Breathe life into your classroom by bringing in freshly cut daffodils and tulips, propping windows open, and enjoying the sunshine.
Infuse your lessons with opportunities to celebrate the energizing elements of spring. Plant seeds, study dirt, design gardens, and spend class time celebrating and harnessing this renewed energy.
Prepare for New Hires
There are lots of educators thinking about teacher tips in April – they’re trying to get HIRED! April is when hiring season ramps up in many districts. Job fairs are held, vacancies are posted. You may be asked to serve on a hiring committee. Fresh faces and fresh ideas come knocking on each school’s doors proposing to be the newest teammate. This is an exciting time in the school year when teams get to reflect on possibilities for next year.
Maintain an open mind and (if hiring is on your horizon) ask yourself the questions, “What is missing from our team? What skills do our teammates have and what are we seeking in our newest teammate?” Use this stance when considering the best person for your role. Are you thinking about becoming a principal? If so, read my reflection questions to help you decide if a principalship is right for you.
Socialize with Your Teammates
Finally (and most important!) … With warmer weather and less snow to bury us in, it’s a great time to get out and socialize with your teammates.
Take walks during your lunch time. Hold department meetings while sitting in the sunshine or courtyard of your school. Plan a social for a Friday afternoon. Organize a book club (with fun reads) for you and your colleagues. Take time to look each other in the eyes and swap ideas (and laughs!). This will help infuse the much-needed energy it takes to get over the hump that is April-May!
What are some great teacher tips for April that you live by? Share them in the Comments below!