Is your mind spinning with to-do's, projects, and tasks that need to be completed before the end of the school year? While these things are important, it's also important to slow down and enjoy the end of the year with your students. Check out these 7 end of the year must-do's to help you enjoy these final days and weeks!
#1: Be fully present.
You’ve invested a lot of time, care, and effort into this unique group of students. As their teacher, you've seen them grow and change.
Together you’ve celebrated their victories and guided them through their challenges. Saying goodbye (even to the students who’ve challenged you in every way) is often the hardest part of the job.
Don’t let the year slip away without bringing some closure to these very important relationships. Soon you will miss the hugs and high fives, the way they make you smile, and the sweet pictures and notes they create for you.
Slow down and listen carefully when your students have something to tell you.
In short, enjoy them, celebrate them, and love them! Don't forget, they are going to miss you too. Give extra smiles, love, and words of affirmation.
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#2: Create memory books.
Reminiscing with your students about their favorite parts of the school year is definitely on the list of end of the year must-do's.
Take students back through the calendar and recall all the fun new things they learned and did.
Take time to reflect on books they read, games they played, and the projects and skills they tackled and mastered.
Remind them of special assemblies and events, field trips, and guest speakers. Discuss what they enjoyed most about special classes, such as art, PE, library, and music.
You can even have your students share their favorites, such as favorite lunches, favorite days, favorite things they learned about, etc.
A perfect way to capture all of these memories is with an End of the Year Memory Book! This is great for PreK, Kindergarten, and First Grade students. It will become a cherished memento for them and their parents for years to come.
There are a lot of pages and options for differentiation included in this memory book. It is a great way to recap the end of the year during the last few weeks of school.
Your students can complete one page per day for the last month or so of school. Before they head out for summer, they can take home their special memory book to keep forever to remember their year.
#3: Say thank you.
We all know it truly takes a village to have a successful school year. As part of your end of the year activities, be sure to take time to thank those parent volunteers or staff members that have really gone the extra mile for you.
Remember those who have lightened your workload, been a support for you and your students, or helped in any way.
Even though most people don’t expect it, it feels good to be recognized and appreciated.
There's no need to be extravagant. A simple card, a small potted plant or candle, or an inexpensive gift card will be more than plenty to show your gratitude.
#4: Nurture your adult relationships.
Another end of the year must-do is to check in with your work besties, coworkers, and teammates. Remember, if you’re feeling the pressure, more than likely, so is everyone else in the building.
Stop by for a quick morning conversation and cup of coffee to start the day. Leave chocolate on their desk.
Take the time to eat lunch together, even though you may have a million other things to do. You can even plan to meet for appetizers or a meal on a Friday after school.
Your relationships with teammates and co-workers are integral to your daily happiness. There's no better friend than a teacher friend.
Show your appreciation by checking in and sticking together during the final days and weeks of school.
#5: Celebrate with your students.
Celebrating the year and all of your students' accomplishments is key on your list of end of the year must-do's.
It will make your students feel proud and ready to head into the next year with confidence.
Take some time to celebrate academic accomplishments as well as positive attitudes and other areas of growth.
To make it really special, you can have an End of the Year Awards Ceremony with your students and hand out these End of the Year Class Awards!
You can even invite parents and school staff, such as the principal, specials teachers, etc., to attend your awards ceremony.
This is a special way to give each student a unique award that fits them and their unique personality and accomplishments.
#6: Pitch in and help each other out.
When it comes to end of the year clean-up and packing, it’s a bummer to still be lugging boxes to your car when the rest of the staff is heading out for happy hour.
Pitch in and help each other out. Go by the motto: Nobody’s done until everybody’s done.
Sharing the workload sets the tone for next year and helps everyone leave for summer on a positive note.
#7: Reflect on the year.
This last end of the year must-do may have to wait until all is said and done. You may need a week or two of doing nothing but relaxing, basking in the sunshine, and catching up on Netflix before tackling it.
However, it’s really important for your professional growth to take time to do a teacher end of year reflection. Reflect on what went well this school year and think about ways you can improve next year.
For instance, maybe in the middle of a unit or teaching a skill this year, you realized it would be much more effective to take a different approach.
Maybe you tried a new classroom management technique and it worked great. Write it down now! At the same time, if something didn't work well, write that down too.
Chances are, if you wait until it comes up next year, your memory will be foggy. As the new school year approaches you can refer to your list and decide what to do again and what areas you want to tweak and improve upon.
You made it!
Most importantly, don’t forget to acknowledge and congratulate yourself for all of your successes.
Gather up all those drawings and sweet notes you received from students and put them in a special place. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, because teacher friend, you made it!
The end of a year can be bittersweet. Most teachers find themselves excited for the freedom and relaxation of summer, but sad to say goodbye to the precious relationships they've invested in.
It is the cyclical nature of the profession and part of what keeps it fresh and exciting.
Never lose sight of the difference you have made in those precious children that were entrusted to you for all these months. The work you do is important and it matters, every single day, even on the very last day.