The end of the school year can be challenging, even for experienced teachers. It can be draining trying to get everything done while still being the amazing teacher that you are. These tips for surviving the end of the school year will help you put a plan in place so you can manage your time and student behaviors and make the most of the end of the year!
Tip #1: Be Present While Looking Forward.
The first tip for surviving the end of the school year is to be present in the moment while looking forward to next year. Your students have grown attached to you over the last nine or ten months of school.
The thought of not seeing you every day or you not being their teacher next year can be sad, scary, or unsettling.
Be sensitive to that and make them feel loved and valued. Be present with your students. Give extra hugs, compliments, and words of affirmation.
Help them get excited about what is to come next year and all that they will learn. If you are able to, have a few of the teachers from the next grade level pop in to say hello and introduce themselves.
Meeting these new faces ahead of time can help calm students’ nerves and apprehension about next year.
Tip #2: Practice Patience.
Practicing patience is always important as a teacher, but especially at the end of the school year. Understand that your students are just as excited for summer as you are.
They may be more wiggly, giggly, and off task. Try to have extra patience with your students.
Tip #3: Take Time For Self-Care.
Summer will be here before you know it! This is a great time of year to practice self-care and give yourself grace.
We all know that this is a busy time of year. Between packing up your classroom, end of the year activities and celebrations, deadlines, and meetings, your schedule is FULL.
Don’t forget to take time for you. Grab a cup of coffee and drink it before it gets cold. Put your cell phone away and get lost in a Netflix series.
Whatever self-care is to you, take the time to do something for you. It’ll make surviving the end of the school year so much easier.
Tip #4: Remember and Reflect.
At the end of the school year, it’s important to set aside time for students to talk about and reflect on their school year.
They can write about their experiences, draw a picture, or simply talk about it with their friends and teachers.
Older students might create a skit to re-enact their favorite day while the other students guess which day/activity they are acting out.
Memory Books are a fantastic way for students to reflect on the year and document their thoughts and experiences from the year. Students will have a blast being creative while remembering the special times they’ve had.
Plus it serves as a sweet memento for them to look back on. As a bonus, parents love them, too!
Tip #5: Attitude is Everything.
Even though you may be stressed out, worn out, and are on the verge of checking out, it’s important to keep a positive attitude.
It’s so easy to get upset or frustrated over an unexpected schedule change or snap at your kiddos. Try your best to go with the flow, have a back-up plan, and keep your cool.
You don’t want to end the school year like that or send your kiddos off to summer break with memories of a grumpy teacher.
Instead, play some music, do a brain break, go outside with your students, and do something fun! Eat a piece of chocolate if you need to!
Above all else, remember why you became a teacher. Take time to enjoy the last days of school. You will never have that exact same class or group of students again. Celebrate them. Enjoy them. Love them.
Tip #6: Activities on the Fly.
One of the best tips for surviving the end of the school year is to plan ahead and have a few creative, no-prep activities that you can pull out at any time.
Maybe you have a few minutes to spare between the end of a lesson and the start of an assembly.
Have students make a welcome banner for your class next year. Write letters of advice to next year’s class. Have students make an autograph page for their peers to sign. You can use a piece of paper or something fun like a paper plate or colored card-stock.
Think of engaging, no prep activities that students can do that will keep them focused and on-task.
If you’re looking for a fun way to incorporate writing into your end of the year lessons, you can use no-prep, summer-themed writing prompts for students to share about their summer plans. After writing and illustrating, students can share with the class!
Tip #7: Routines Are Important.
Just because the school year is winding down, doesn’t mean that routines should change. In fact, this is one of the most important times to keep your routines consistent!
Changing routines leads to behavior changes. Stick to your normal routine of having morning meetings, read alouds, literacy and math rotations, etc.
Keep working on key skills and learning with fun, engaging summer review activities for kindergarten.
Now is not the time to slack off or make big changes in your schedule. You can’t expect your students to give their 100% if you aren’t doing the same.
Tip #8: Brain Breaks Are a Must.
Just like you, your students are also working hard on surviving the end of the school year! Don’t expect them to work for long periods of time (this goes for ALL year long).
You’ve got to get them up, moving, and actively learning! Incorporate fun activities and games into your day.
Have dance parties. Play Simon Says. Practice counting with jumping jacks or spelling CVC or CVCe words with squats. Be sure to incorporate plenty of brain breaks.
These are all ways to incorporate some movement into your day. Not only will your students love it, but you’ll get a great workout, too!
If you’re looking for a fun review game to get your students up and moving while learning, try this FREE Summer Stand and Sit Review Game!
Just fill out the form below and it’ll be sent right to your inbox. This game is editable, so you can add any skills you’d like to practice!
Tip #9: It’s Okay to Start Over.
Seriously, it’s okay to review expectations the last month or week of school. Sometimes a reminder of the rules and your expectations are needed.
Remind students how to sit on the carpet, how to walk in the hall, how to handle classroom materials, or how to behave during specials and in the cafeteria.
It’s better to review the expectations than to let chaos consume your final days. If you need to, make some new class rules together.
If your students are extra chatty in the hallway, have them think of their most favorite thing about school or their favorite read aloud as you walk down the hallway. When you return to the classroom, pick a few students to share what they were thinking.
Tip #10: Plan Something Special.
Whether you do an end of the year countdown or just have a few special days or activities planned, give your students something to look forward to.
Ask your principal to read your students a story. Plan a lesson that can be done outside. Have students bring in a stuffed animal and have a picnic that day.
Hold an end of the year awards ceremony and award each student with a special class award. This is a great way to celebrate them and send them out with pride.
While you don’t want to break your routine, it’s okay to have some fun and occasionally do something a little bit different.
Tip #11: Get Students to Help.
There’s so much to do at the end of the year, so let your students help whenever possible. They love helping and feel accomplished when they get to help organize or tidy up.
Students can help sort classroom manipulatives and puzzle pieces. They can sort markers to find the ones that are dried out and don’t work. They can toss empty glue sticks, wipe down tables, sort crayons and pencils, etc.
Think of easy jobs that they can do that will save you time!
Summer will be here before you know it. You will get there!
Just remember: Breathe, plan, make to-do lists, and enjoy this time with your students.
By incorporating some of these tips and ideas, you will be well on your way to surviving the end of the school year!