Reflection, Send Offs, and How to Have the Best Summer Break
(Psst, teachers! This is ONE MONTH in my popular 12-month series! See the whole series here and have an awesome year!)
Finally – JUNE! Happy Summer!
There’s a lot to look forward to in June, and especially in the summer!. In fact, it’s time to CELEBRATE! The school year is wrapping up, the weather is nicer, and nearly all of your instructional content has been delivered. Here’s some simple tips to make the most out of your final weeks of school and kickoff a great summer!
Evaluations, Coaching, Self-Reflection
Now that the end is in sight, spend time reflecting, in writing or with your administrator or colleagues, about the things that went really well this year. How did you grow? What did you try and what did you learn? Who are some students that you impacted? How have you made a difference in families’ lives?
If you’re like many amazing teachers I know, we can sometimes be tough critics of ourselves. We make a million decisions per day, and not all of them are perfect. (Which is totally okay.) So yes, make note of things you’d like to do differently but don’t dwell on them. You’ve already done that enough Spend time championing yourself and not reflecting on your hardships, but on your successes.
Leave Students on a Positive Note
I believe that teachers are the original role model for students. And although I don’t remember everything I was taught when I was a student, I do remember the spirit, attitude, and personality of everyone who taught me.
You’ve spent many months with these students. How can you leave them on a late positive note? Write each student a note talking about the strengths and positive traits you saw in them.
No matter how challenging a student may have been, there are always positive things we can say to them even if they are words of encouragement. Then plan full-on how you intend to leave your students and what legacy you hope to leave with them on their way out the door.
Don’t forget to send positive messages to your families, too! Check out these tips for ensuring successful parent calls EVERY TIME! Includes a FREE TEMPLATE for parent calls.
Propel Their Learning
“The Summer Slide” is not just a myth in schools–it’s the topic at many school tables, arguments for year-round school calendars, and constant conversation about how to keep kids learning throughout the summer. Some of us would argue (and correctly so) that summer play is learning; mountains of research also back up this notion.
That, however, depends on how kids spend their summers. Traveling? Playing in the dirt? Building castles at the beach? Awesome! On the other end of the spectrum, I remember spending days on end watching my brothers play video games. Hours and hours…not the best use of my little brain’s time! But I also loved to play school, and when I had cool activities from my teachers on that last day of school, I did them!
It never hurts to help families and students keep their brains activated in the learning that is mainly found in schools. So think about bridge activities that you can send home with students and keep their little brains engaged. These don’t have to be drudgery!
Think about those projects and take-home activities that are fun–puzzles, mazes, mysteries to solve and more. Send home reading lists and prize incentive options for summer readers. Get creative! Now is the time to think about the “summer slide”, and how you can help prevent it.
Last Chance for a Blast!
Go ahead and squeeze in those awesome, fun lessons that got pushed aside this year! Are there lessons that you just couldn’t squeeze in this year? Did snow days take away from your awesome lessons and you had to trim the fluff in order to get through the content? These last few weeks of school are a great time to continue with instruction in the most fun way possible!
One of my favorite memories was launching rockets in fifth grade during the last week of school. This was a culminating activity but very strategic on my teacher’s part! Our energy was high, the weather was gorgeous, and our little pre-adolescent brains were not very interested in reading writing and math!
So instead, my teacher embedded the year’s standards into a super fun lesson and the chance to launch rockets into the sky! Think about how you can end on a very energizing note while not fighting the natural forces at work in students minds in the last two weeks of school.
Now Leave It Behind!
The teachers who seem the mentally and emotionally healthiest in August are those who truly unplugged from school during the summer. Unless there is something you absolutely have to do, don’t bring it home and let it stare at you all summer. That pile will only add guilt to your day, and that doesn’t help you recharge.
Sleep in, travel, binge-watch those movies and read those books. Say “yes” to staying out late or taking those last-minute concert tickets from a friend. If you do have to work, make it something you enjoy! And most of all, take care of yourself! Believe it or not, kids are counting on you to have a wonderful summer. So go enjoy yourself, and fill your batteries, like you’ve done for so many others this year. It’s your turn now.
Check out next month’s Teacher Survival Tools HERE!