Well it’s that time of year again: June. Report cards, plays, sporting events, conferences, interruptions, bad behaviour, ants and vermin, no air conditioning etc. School is almost over.
Believe it or not, even experienced teachers get cranky at this time of year. It’s normal. We are at our wits end. We have done everything we can think of (and more) to be engaging and to facilitate learning. Unfortunately, students appear to have shut down. Getting work out of some is like getting water from a stone. Don’t give up. Choose your battles.
You can do this. Here are some tips on how to change it up and make it through.
Report card season is in full swing: Use that to your advantage. Remind them of what’s coming, pull out your fake marking clipboard and circulate. (they don’t need to know that your report cards are ready to go already).
Give them the opportunity to surprise you: Let students know their theoretical marks now. Also let them know what’s left to be done between now and the end of the year and what each piece of work is worth. You may be surprised in the change in work ethic.
Turn lessons on their head: Now is the time for them to show you. They have learned the lessons, and perfected the skills. Have them teach their peers. Be it a game of capture the flag, tennis or a dance; let them be the teacher. Show them how a class lesson would be organized and allow them to be the experts. It’s a great way to show leadership, innovation, creativity and well… it gives you the chance to assess without a million “miss!” being thrown your way.
Are bribes really that bad: Give the students an incentive. For some it may be as little as a Freezie (I am anti-candy and food because it reinforces the wrong message on health and well-being) or it could be a free period, a video, free play, tickets for a draw… the sky is the limit. Find out what they want (within reason) and use it to get that final test done!
Give yourself a break: The weather is fabulous, get outside. Go for walk. Cool off. This year, I organized a bike club at lunch. Mainly I did it so I could get on the paths and exercise in the sun but, as it turned out, I had almost as many staff join me and my merry band, as I did students. Even our administration got in on the rides. We all seem to come back smiling. The added benefit is that we are teaching physical literacy, bike safety and care all while applying it in the real world.
I hope these ideas help you make it through. If you have some more ideas on how to hold on, drop me a line. I’d love to learn more.