Gearing Up for the Last Few Weeks of School

By Angie Harris, Cohort 6 Mentor and Principal at South Vermillion Middle School

Don’t you love when you hear people (who aren’t in the education field) say, “Aren’t you glad the school year is winding down?”  Don’t you want to scream and yell at them and say, “Are you KIDDING ME? There is nothing about the end of the year that winds down!  It is more hectic and intense than ever!”  The end of the year feels like you accelerate until you hit a brick wall and hope your seatbelt allows you to get out intact and limp off to summer break. 

The first weeks of summer break we feel totally spent.  Every shred of everything you had to give has been given.  Well, we are to the “winding down” point of the year.  It is the time of year that is nerve wracking, exhausting and taxing…..but also a lot of fun. 

We have to remember that at this point of the school year, it is more important than ever to stay strong and stay committed to excellence.  Don’t lower your expectations for behavior or academics.  The minute you give an inch, students will take a mile, and it will only make the last weeks more difficult.  It is never okay to go on autopilot at the end of the year.  Finish strong, do incredible things, never settle.  It’s okay to have fun.  Kids need to have fun because they are as spent as we are.  The key is to have fun with purpose.  Be intentional about everything, especially about making memories with your students.  Remember, the magic happens outside of your comfort zone.  Don’t get comfortable….improve and get better and end in an amazing way!  You can be memorable or you can be forgettable, and so can the content you teach.

Don’t forget that some of our students are counting down the days, but not because they are happy to be done.  Some of our students are worried about the school year ending.  They may be worried about not having you in their life every day.  They might be worried about not having two guaranteed meals each day.  Be sure to acknowledge these concerns if you see them in your students.  Lastly, remember to be flexible and positive.  There are many stressful things going on at the end of the year with testing, daily schedule changes, and activities.  We have to focus on what we can control.  We can’t control if the testing site doesn’t work, and we have to totally change our testing schedule.  We can’t control the Internet connections.  We can control how we handle these things when they happen.  Stay positive and stay flexible!  End the year on a positive note and be proud of all you have accomplished!