Can you believe it? Less than 30 school days and this school year is a wrap! I’m sure you all have mixed feelings. On the one hand you are feeling as joyous as one of my grangirls doing her jump at a cheer competition, while visions of lazy summer afternoons at the beach are dancing in your heads. At the same time you are probably worried about getting everything done (because worrying is what teachers do best) before you run out of time!
There are report cards, data folders, articulation cards, packing up your room, anchor charts to remove from the walls, etc. all while continuing to “instruct” per your administrators. Even though all teachers know how difficult a task that is for your little darlings appear to have lost their minds at this point in time. For some odd reason, once the calendar shows that you have sent home those hand-made gifts and cards for Mothers Day, all semblance of order goes out the window. They can’t seem to remember how they treat each other in the classroom, where to replace materials once they’ve finished using them, the class routine and rules (“Why are you asking me if you can go to the bathroom?”), and they seem to confuse walking to the cafeteria with playing on the playground. What’s a teacher to do?
There are many lists posted on the Internet with ideas of things to do with your students at the end of the year that are fun and challenging (now that standardized testing is over..isn’t it?!) - check out edutopia or edweek.org if you need some new ideas. My suggestions that I’ve listed below are strictly for you – a way to keep you smiling and build your excitement as you begin the countdown to the end of the school year:
Week One (week of May 16th) – I Can See The Light At the End of The Tunnel
Begin now to gather your list of must-reads for the summer. (You did know I would start with reading, right? Remember, I am a literacy advocate.) Tell all your teacher friends to meet you at the end of the week for Happy Hour. Each must be ready to give the name of a book that all their friends have read and can’t believe that they haven’t read it yet! Then each teacher gets to share a funny You Won’t Believe What My Kids Said Today story. You will leave the Happy Hour in a blissful state – funny kid stories, book titles, and alcoholic beverages tend to do that. Now spend time this weekend looking over the list and making your book/Kindle purchases. You can pat yourself on the back that you will not begin the summer break trying to figure out what to read. You’re all set!
Week Two (week of May 23rd) – Yeah!! It’s A Long Weekend!
The best weekend- Memorial Day weekend- is finally here! It’s the promise of a long summer about to begin (even though you know in a blink it will be Labor Day weekend and all over, but don’t think about that right now). Spend time shopping for cute summer outfits and new sandals! And get some new summer dishes for back-yard cookouts and/or new patio furniture while you are out shopping. It helps to build the momentum for summer break! (Hubby just said “Don’t you even think about new patio furniture – its not summer break for you!”)
Week Three (week of May 30th) – A 4-Day School Week! Woo Hoo!!
Okay, this is the week you get with your BFF and decide what summer class are you taking together – will it be Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, or maybe you decide to host together one of those “wine parties”….have you been to one yet? This is the time to decide what's it going to be (class or a party), make plans and get it on the calendar. Oh, and don’t forget to start making a list of all the movies you want to see (that everyone else has already seen) – remember you get to stay up late every night in the summer! “It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer”…
Week Four (week of June 6th) – The Glorious Month of June
Okay, most of the important things are off your plate – report cards, data folders, class picnics, and you’ve also packed up most of the room – so go ahead and treat yourself to time at the spa. Book a massage and get a mani/pedi too. Don’t wait until next weekend – we all know once school is over teachers are comatose those first few days. You will begin that last week of school with a smile feeling wonderful and your nails and toes will look beautiful!
Week Five (week of June 13th) – You Are Now Paying For Those Snow Days
Wear one of your new outfits and your new sandals to the School’s Farewell Lunch/Happy Hour. Everyone will wonder how come you look so “together” instead of looking “harried” like everyone else. Make sure to bring thank you cards to work this week – you will need them for all those gifts from your little darlings.
Most importantly, I want you to take some time to reflect and write yourself a letter this week. Use pretty stationary. In the letter list and describe in detail all those amazing moments you had in your classroom this year (only you know how awesome your class has been). Add any challenges/obstacles you managed to overcome as well. Finally, remind yourself why you became a teacher by sharing a special story about something one of your students said or did this year (which probably brought you to tears). Sign and date the letter, seal it in an envelope and lock it in your desk drawer. It’s there for you next year to pull out and read whenever you need a boost (think of it as your “Epi-Pen” to be used in an emergency).
If you follow all my suggestions you should end the year feeling great and ready for summer!
TO ALL THE WONDERFUL TEACHERS OUT THERE – THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO AND HAVE A WONDERFUL SUMMER!
See you next time!