A semester, the likes of which we have never seen before, is drawing to a close and you would be forgiven for feeling more than a little tired. You have been asked to change your entire way of teaching, seemingly overnight and have done so like a champion. You have then welcomed your students back into the classroom with open arms, getting back to normal with as little fuss as you could manage. You have worked yourself and your students hard in an effort to ensure that learning has not been disrupted during the COVID 19 epidemic.
And now it is almost time to rest. Seeing the finishing line in sight, it is so very tempting to stop. To stop planning, to stop the structure of your classroom and stop thinking! The very worst thing anyone can do at the end of a term is to abandon the classroom structures that they have worked hard to build. It is an invitation for students to lose their way and for uproar to ensue. It is also equally as unadvisable to keep pushing your students beyond the limits of their endurance in a quest to maximise learning. The reality is that your efforts will probably have exactly the opposite effect. Here are my suggestions for a smooth ending to Term 2.
- Keep your classroom structures and routines right up until the end of the term. Your routines and structures will be the backbone of your behaviour management strategy even when you and your students are tired.
- Be kind to yourself. There is no need to stay at work late or go the ‘extra, extra’ mile just now. Do what you need to each day and then go home! Turn your computer off, put your programming away and relax.
- Be considerate of your students and their cognitive load. Right along with us, our students are tired and their brains are about to explode. While it is important to keep the structure of your classroom, it isn’t necessary to doggedly push on with your usual program at the expense of student wellbeing. Pull back a little. Simplify tasks. Your students will be much more responsive between now and the end of the term.
- Reach out to your colleagues and spread a little cheer and kindness. One of the most important things we can do is to let another person know that they are not alone. Take notice of who on your team is in need of a little TLC right now. Pop them a little gift, make them a cup of tea or offer to have their students for a little minute to give them a break.
- Let your students know that you are proud of them. We have just come (or are still working through) a time where we have probably been asked to grade and certainly ask to comment on our students’ learning. This is often a difficult process, particularly for our students who find learning difficult. Let all of that ‘judgement’ go, look your students in the eye and say, “Well done! You made it!”
The term is nearly at an end, but you don’t have to be. Looking after yourself now and then making sure that you rest properly during the upcoming break will mean that you are in a much better position to be there for your students in the new term.
I promise I will try and take my own advice!
I am pleased to announce that in Term 3 I will be running two Teach Alongs: Supercharging Your Phonics Teaching (an introduction to the science of reading) and Text Based Learning. You can learn more about these professional learning opportunities and register your interest here. Take care, Jocelyn.
Are you are school leader, curriculum coordinator or coach or a senior teaching hoping to influence and support the chance to evidence based reading instruction in your school? Then my new Facebook Group, Inspiring Change is for you! I would love you to join this group of dedicated and motivated group of educators to share, support and grow in your own skills in leading and influencing change.