How To Avoid A Stress-Filled End To The School Year

Smart Classroom Management: How To Avoid A Stress-Filled End To The School YearWith 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.

Here’s how:

Slow down.

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.

Stay consistent.

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.

19 Responses to How To Avoid A Stress-Filled End To The School Year

  1. Diane S Riexinger June 4, 2016 at 8:34 am #

    I have been reading your posts and acting upon them for quite some time now. I must say that it had made an unmeasurable difference in my class. I’m very happy that I found your site and subscribed. I look forward to your weekly posts. Thank you

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

      It’s my great pleasure, Diane! Thanks for sharing your success.


  2. Jennifer June 4, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    Thank you for this article. This makes the end of the year sound more like a meaningful part of the journal than a rush for the finish line.

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

      You’re welcome, Jennifer.


  3. Adrienne June 4, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    My 5th graders each have access to an iPad. For the end of the year, I assigned a Digital Curiosity Fair project. Students came up with a question (something they were curious about), researched it, and created a presentation on their iPads. They presented to each other, then to a 3rd grade class in our school. It was a highlight of the year and kept the kids engaged.

    Thank you for this and all of your articles. I also read “The Happy Teacher Habits”, and am super-excited to implement those suggestions, next year!

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

      You’re welcome, Adrienne. Thanks for reading my new book!


    • Lyz June 8, 2016 at 7:04 pm #

      Thanks for all your articles.. I’m planning to share and implement all the great ideas !!

      • Michael Linsin June 9, 2016 at 7:26 am #

        You’re welcome, Lyz.


  4. Laurie June 4, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    Well, I can’t believe the end of the year has come. I used your system this year and have gotten better and stronger along the way. Every time I questioned a technique your voice popped into my head and made me reason through it logically, and you were always right! I had a WONDERFUL year and am looking forward to the next one,
    I only have one question…. On the first day of school you said do not let them slip at all until the bell…give the consequence right until they get out the door. I modeled and modeled everything and then modeled it again.
    So, I was wondering about the time line for building rapport? Is there a trial period for this so they have time to practice it the right way and break some old habits? Or do you just jump in on the first day full force? I had some students on parent contact on the first day and they were pretty resentful. After having time to get to know each other, It turned out ok but I was just wondering your thoughts on the issue.

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

      Hi Laurie,

      That’s great to hear. I’m so glad to hear of your success. Way to go! As for your question, if after you’ve taught your classroom management plan, you have students challenge and test you and your word by reaching the third consequence (which is extremely unusual), you should absolutely contact parents.


  5. Jill June 4, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Oh MY! I wish I could have read this a couple of weeks ago since June 1st was the last day of school in our county. I can definitely say that sticking to procedures, rules and consequences was something that I did focus on until the very last day (really…..I had two kids sitting out of an activity at the very end of the day for engaging in behaviors in the classroom that aren’t allowed). Other teachers and some parents I’m sure thought that I needed to loosen up, but I’m a firm believer is “The rules don’t change! They are the same every day!)

    Now that school is out I am really looking forward to having the time to read your new book. Thanks for continuing to encourage me in my walk through teaching 1st grade.

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

      Way to stick to it, Jill! I hope you enjoy the new book.


  6. melissa sokol June 4, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    I teach first grade. I saw the bad results of getting too casual and had to get back to the basics. I also had to emphasize more working side by side and less teacher directed. it feels like the students are hungry for peer connection and tired of teacher centered lessons.

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

      Thanks for sharing, Melissa.


  7. Nan June 4, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

    THANK YOU! Michael –
    I so appreciate the reminder – I have 2 weeks to go and the atmosphere around the classroom (and on campus in general) is filled with excitability! Just this last Friday I found myself in pure frustration trying to keep my class “on task” – now I realize Why?! – I was letting them “have fun just for the sake of it. . .” I was deviating from routine and not adhering to my CPM. . . and they went for it! I plan to do what you suggest above and look forward to a less stress-filled – and more enjoyable ending!

    Thanks again and have a great summer!

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

      You’re welcome, Nan. Thanks, looking forward to it.


  8. M Regan June 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    Wonderful advice but unfortunately arrived the day after school got out. Needed to see this about 3 weeks ago.

    • Michael Linsin June 5, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

      I tried to time it right for as many of our readers as possible. I’m sorry I missed you.


  9. Liz Peterson June 8, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    I ran across your website several months ago. I’ve just been hired as a 7th grade ELA teacher. How do you use your warning, timeout, and parent letter home in middle school?