The school days are numbered! You’re so close to a well-deserved break. However, we still need to push through to the end of the school year because we still have a lot to do! That's why we need end of the school year tips to helps us through. For many of us, even after the students leave, we are going to have inventory to complete, a classroom to clean, grades to finish up, and maybe even summer school plans to attend to. So, how do we get to the end while keeping our sanity? By using this end of the school year tips!
#1: Create a Prioritized “To Do” List
This first end of the school year tip is one of the most important if you’re someone like me who gets distracted easily. When I start doing one thing, I get distracted by something I find or by someone walking in the room. Therefore, many things get started, but nothing actually gets done. By creating a prioritized “To Do” list, you’re putting the most important things first. If everything is of equal importance and can all be done at the same time, I would stagger things I like with things I absolutely despise!
For example, I do not like doing inventory. I always have to go search a desk, the library, or the office for a missing text book. However, I do love organizing. So, to make doing inventory more enjoyable, I organize while I inventory or before I inventory. Sometimes I will be organizing and just decide to count what needs to be counted while I am cleaning up. This makes everything so much easier for me in the long run. The biggest key with making a prioritized “To Do” list is never moving on to the next thing until the first one is done.
#2: Enlist Help at the End of the School Year!
Another end of the school year tip is all about getting help where you can! Students are always my first in line to help out in my classroom. Therefore, I give them tasks they can help with. Need help going through markers that work and don’t work? Add it to one of your center activities. Students can test the markers and throw away the ones that no longer work. Make sure you have a garbage by the center so they can easily throw the markers away.
Students can also help with counting, wiping down surfaces, and even organizing various areas. Make it fun by playing some music and it can become an end of the school year activity along with all the other projects you can do. You can use visual direction cards to show what needs to be done. You can also make a checklist of supplies that is being counted. Then students can put a checkmark next to items they think are low. This will help with another task you have to get done at the end of the school year.
#3: Set a Timer
When you start going through things, it is so easy to get distracted by a memory or a mess! That’s why a timer can be incredibly effective end of the school year tip. After you make your prioritized “To Do” list, you’ll want to estimate how much time you need for each activity. Once you determine how much time you’re going to need, set a timer. Once the timer goes off, give yourself a break and reassess if you’re going to need more time. If you get done before the timer, give yourself a pat on the back!
When you set a timer, you tend to be more focused on the task at hand because you know your time is limited. I have found doing this helps get something done because I feel like I have a deadline.
#4: Just Say No to Extra Duties at the End of the School Year
Everyone is tired and they are realizing all the things they need to get done at the end of the year. I have a tendency to be an automatic yes to virtually anything when it comes to helping others. However, when you have a to-do list a mile long, you need to make sure you aren’t just saying “yes” to be nice. Instead, assess what you need to do and decide if it’s something you have time for. If the answer is no, that’s ok.
You have to take care of your needs as well. If the answer is yes, great! You can help out a colleague. However, it’s important to note that if you need to say no simply because if you don’t you’ll have no time for yourself, then you should still say no! We have to be mindful not only of our to-do list for work, but also of our self-care needs.
#5: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
This end of the year tip is for all you teachers out there who have to make summer lesson plans for students. First of all, if your students are struggling, make sure you are doing what you can to help them now. Don’t wait until time for summer school. If you are still making summer school packets for students who need an extra push, use your center activities that you have already done. Summer school shouldn’t be about doing more work. It should be about students gaining skills they struggled with throughout the year. Even if they are getting the same activities, it is still practice!
The end of the school year can feel like a crawl to the finish line with all of the things you have to do to actually be done. However, by using these end of the school year tips, you’ll be able to get everything done quickly so you can start enjoying summer sooner. No matter which tips or tactics you choose to use to end the school year, make sure you are listening to your body. You want to start the summer healthy!