With just days left in the school year, your students can feel the freedom of summer fast approaching.
Testing is behind them. Grades are all but complete.
Anticipation is in the air.
And with one foot already out the door, it changes them.
They become chatty and restless. They become distracted and excitable.
They become prone to misbehavior.
If you’re not careful, it’s easy to lose control.
It’s easy to find yourself stressed-out and straining for the finish line.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
With the right approach, you can maintain a calm and well-behaved classroom all the way to the final bell.
The best antidote to the frenzy and commotion of the last few days of school is to slow down.
Take your time. Wait. Breathe. Smile. Let your peaceful energy fill the room. Pause a beat longer than normal between sentences, transitions, and activities.
Speak softly and refrain from moving on until your students are settled, attentive, and giving you what you want.
It’s a simple strategy, but it works wonders.
Focus on academics.
While it’s okay to enjoy end-of-year activities, it’s best to parcel them out over the last couple of weeks instead of cramming them in at the end.
Double-down on good teaching, compelling lessons, and projects that require students to concentrate independently.
Not only does this keep your students purposeful and on-task, but because they’ve built up their independent work muscles over the preceding months, it provides an opportunity to make some of the biggest academic gains of the year.
Increase rather than decrease academic expectations and the last few days will be smoother and more beneficial for your students.
Oddly, they’ll be happier too.
The biggest mistake teachers make as they near the end is that they turn a blind eye to less severe misbehavior. They let the little things go, thinking that it will be less troublesome for them and more fun for students.
But what it does is cause tension and resentment. It fans the fires of excitability, which is a primary cause of misbehavior.
It isn’t unusual for teachers to experience good relationships throughout the year only to have them disintegrate during the final week.
A better approach is to promise your students that you will follow your classroom management plan all the way to the final bell.
Then do it.
Let your rules and consequences do their job. Stay true to the values required for success in school, and you and your students will take only good memories with you into the future.
Avoid The Stress
By slowing down, focusing on academics, and holding tight to your promises, you can avoid the stress that affects so many teachers this time of year.
You can avoid the noise and chaos. You can avoid the sighs and headaches. You can avoid the exhaustion that overtakes you the minute it’s all over.
The end of the school year is more meaningful to students when you highlight the importance of relationships, memories, and how far they’ve come as people and students.
It’s not about having fun just for the sake of it. It’s not about sugar highs and silliness and freedom from responsibility.
It’s about the intrinsic reward of being part of something special, something they’ll never forget.
It’s about the smiles and tears. It’s about the hugs and thank yous.
It’s about saying goodbye to the past.
And hello to a brighter future.
If you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving new-article updates in your email box every week.