Should You Hold Students Accountable On The Last Day Of School?

Smart Classroom Management: Should You Hold Students Accountable On The Last Day Of SchoolWhy not just let it go?

What’s the harm?

After all, it’s the last day of school.

The textbooks are put away. Laptops are inventoried and stored until next year.

Tests have been taken, projects turned in, grades entered.

In a few short hours, your students will never again set foot in your classroom.

So why be a stickler?

As long as the behaviors are minor, what could be wrong with looking the other way?

Well, a lot.

The most important reason is because you made a promise. You said you would follow through every time a class rule was broken. So just for the sake of integrity, it’s worth doing.

But it’s also worth doing for the message you send to your students when you break your promise.

You see, when you fail to follow your classroom management plan through to the end, you’re telling them that it was all a sham, that you didn’t really mean what you said—not entirely anyway.

Which will give your students pause. It will create doubt whether you really are the person they thought you were. This can be profoundly disappointing to a group of students you’ve built deep trust and rapport with.

For many, their memory of you—the lessons you taught them and the truth and honor you displayed—will keep them afloat through difficult times in their life.

They’ll think of you when facing tough decisions and moral dilemmas. They’ll gain strength when considering what you would do when tempted to compromise their own integrity.

It is these very moments—the last day of school, a field trip, a class party—the moments that are so easy to let things slide, that define who you are as a teacher. They define whether you’re the real deal or merely a pretender.

But here’s the surprising truth:

It’s much easier to be consistent when you allow yourself zero wiggle room. Decisions become automatic. Doubt is removed. Stress is all but eliminated.

Following your plan based on how you feel or other outside factors has a way of developing into a major problem. It snowballs and gathers speed until you’re miles away from the teacher you want to be.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

By following your classroom management plan until the final bell, you’re proving to your students that the things you said, the life-lessons you taught, and the wisdom you imparted really was about them.

It wasn’t about you and just getting through the day. It wasn’t about looking good in front of your principal. It wasn’t even about your pride in doing a job well done.

It was about your care for them as people, who you’re sending out into the next phase of life more mature and more prepared than when they arrived at your door.

Fulfilling your promise to the end also makes you stronger.

It empowers your start for the next school year. It makes being the same calm and reliable teacher day after day an extension of who you are, and something you don’t have to work at.

So if you’re planning a party or special event, be sure and define what is and isn’t okay and then stick to your guns.

These moments that seem, at the time, so natural and so easy to look the other way are actually a wonderful opportunity.

They’re an opportunity to make the right choice and become not just another teacher . . .

But a leader whose example stays with students for the rest of their lives.

PS – The summer online course closes in three days (midnight PST on 6/6) and will unlikely be available again. Before enrolling, be sure to watch the video, look through the FAQs, and read this article.

The course is not for everyone. It is a no-nonsense short-cut to effective classroom management, nothing more.

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20 Responses to Should You Hold Students Accountable On The Last Day Of School?

  1. Debby June 3, 2017 at 8:22 am #

    My last day of school was last week and my students and I had a great farewell with rules being followed and students showing respect ~ but in the meantime we could here hooting and hollering and general chaos all around us! My students were so wonderful making comments like “That wouldn’t happen in here!” I even had former students come to say goodbye and I heard them sigh and say “It’s just like always in here!”Thank you for your guidance and reinforcment and putting into words what I’ve done for years. I had the most difficult students this year and I made it! 24 years and still counting!

    • Michael Linsin June 3, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

      Way to go, Debbie!


  2. Jill June 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    I SOOOO totally agree and frequently get “crap” from other teachers because I do but I totally believe that “Rules don’t change, no matter what day it is!” and I follow through on this every day!!!!

  3. Jodi Church June 3, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    This was another great point, Michael. I swear I have kids (3rd Graders) waiting to see if I will not follow through with my commitment now that we’re nearing the end of school. I feel the same way – we have an obligation to follow through with our promises. Students learn to TRUST teachers if we do. Thank you for all of your inspiration this year!

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2017 at 10:30 am #

      It’s my pleasure, Jodi. Thanks for being a regular reader.


  4. Virginia June 3, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    Hi Michael,
    I love your posts and re-read them regularly. However I have a new problem this year and I as yet haven’t found an answer to it. I work for the first time in a prep year (four year old-five year old) and I have a full time assistant. Sounds great. But I find her methods often undermine my classroom management. When I need students to listen I find her talking with one or two. It is a constant battle to teach my assistant the rules and consistency, let alone the children. I would love to hear some ideas of how to work when you are being undermined.

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2017 at 10:31 am #

      Hi Virginia,

      I’ve heard this question a few times, so I’ll be sure to put it on the list of future topics.


  5. Tricia June 3, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

    I think you need to establish those rules at the very beginning of the year with the people you work with otherwise it can become very challenging to run the class. Let her know that you are in charge and you really have to take charge and make sure she understands that while you are talking that NO ONE is talking not even her. Explain that I cannot tell the children to be listening while you are talking to them. If she does not listen, I would ask for a change in TA’s. It is impossible to work with someone who is undermining you.

  6. Chris June 4, 2017 at 6:57 am #


    Thank you for the wonderful article. I so agree. We are very much alike. Other teachers in my building complain about their classes during the last few days of school. Mine are delightful, for my students and me, because we just follow the same rules, procedures, and routines.

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2017 at 10:32 am #

      You’re welcome, Chris. Way to go!


  7. Michelle Hardesty June 4, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

    Hi Michael,
    Thank you for this very important reminder about the last few days of school. I have really enjoyed reading your articles. It’s like a power boost every few days!
    I’m wondering how many clock hours your online course is?
    Thank you,
    Michelle Hardesty

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

      Hi Michelle,

      The course will likely take a couple hours to get through, including taking notes. There isn’t an official number of clock hours because state/country requirements vary widely.


  8. Julie Williamson June 4, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

    Hi Michael!

    I can not say enough how much I have learned and how much I appreciate your books and articles. I registered for the online course and am about 1/3 through. When you say that the course closes, do you mean people will no longer be able to register, or that I will no longer have access to the videos? School has not ended for me yet, and I haven’t had time to get through them all.

    Thank you!

    • Michael Linsin June 4, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

      Hi Julie,

      Only enrollment closes, but the course will be available for you to access as much as you like until at least May of 2018.


  9. Lesley Allen June 6, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    Will the classroom management makeover ever be available at a lesser cost? I joined SCM a couple years ago and read the all the emails from SCM for when I begin teaching (hopefully soon!). I would like to read the tips in the makeover, but currently can’t afford it. Just thought I’d ask!

    • Michael Linsin June 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

      Hi Lesley,

      Probably not. However, I may turn it into a more affordable e-guide.


  10. Kingly mesh June 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    Thank you very much for your good job….i really appreciate it a lot…i am about to enter in to a teaching and your words are really keeping me inspired and giving me confident..God bless you.

    • Michael Linsin June 7, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

      Thank you, Kingly!


  11. Joanne Cirisano June 30, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    Thank you so much for your common sense approach to teaching and discipline. I signed up for the Total Classroom Make Over and I can’t get the videos to play. I have the latest flashplayer and have deleted all the cache like most things tell you to do. I can’t figure out what else to do. HELP!!

    • Michael Linsin June 30, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

      Hi Joanne,

      I’m away from the office for a couple days, but will have someone look into it if you don’t mind emailing me with the date you enrolled and the transaction number. The same thing has happened to several others, but each time we discovered that they registered for the school but never actually enrolled in the course.