There is a special feeling to the end of the school year. It is this strange combination of nostalgia, excitement, disappointment, panic, and exhaustion. Though many schools across the country are already out, in New Jersey, we have a little bit longer. These last 2 weeks are special for me. While many people think I am crazy, I cherish this time with my class. I will not say that I am not spent in some ways, but there are many things that raise up my teacher adrenaline that help me power through the last few weeks with the same intensity with which I started the year.
Here are some things I love about the end of the year that make me wish I could have just a little more time! (There are enough people who complain about the things at the end of the year, its time to share some positive things that empower us to finish strong!)
– Our end of year assessments While this year I stressed just a little bit more about the outcomes because they were attached to my SGO scores (see blog post 48:365×2). But regardless, there are always a few students that you wonder how they will do, and then they blow you away! I never over emphasize these assessments throughout the year. They are good data points to learn from and adjust instruction. I worked hard to help each child grow this year, and when they do, it makes you wish you could keep going just a little longer!
– Trying new things There is no better time to build something for the following year than to test run it on real students! This year, I am working with our reading specialist on a new bench marking system and taking advantage of her time in the classroom to revamp my guided reading practice. I have always taught guided reading since I was working as an instructional aide eight years ago, but working with a reading specialist who is constantly learning and developing best practices is helping me to essentially redirect the way I am teaching guided reading. Not only is this helping my kids now, but it will make the use of these new strategies even more effective when I start with them next year.
– The Secret Knowledge of Grown-ups Alright, so this is not a strategy and it is certainly not something I would share at other points in the year, but this is one of my favorite things to share with kids every year. We build up to them being able to have the responsibility of learning from this “top secret” book. In truth it is ridiculous and makes us all laugh. For a while in the story though kids still believe this information is part of an adult conspiracy to make them behave in certain ways. If you don’t use this book, you may have your own favorite that you love to share. Either way, it is something I look forward to EVERY year.
– Reflection There is nothing like reflecting on your year to help you wish you could steal a little more time during the year. Even when you reflect and there were “bad times” you still feel like there was something you needed to keep doing that will make all the difference in the world.
After all this time, I desperately want to keep teaching for just a little bit longer. Sure I am exhausted, sure its too hot, yes the kids are ready for summer, but in the end, all of that doesn’t matter more than the simple fact that I love teaching and learning, I love getting the privilege of spending my days with kids.