Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Tips And Tricks For Finishing Well With Kids
People have no idea how much stuff has to happen for teachers in the last few weeks of school. I wish it was just hanging out with kids and doing fun stuff. Instead I'm coaxing the last bit of work out of kids, grading papers, worried about all the stuff I wish I had gotten to teach or reteach this year, starting to pack up so that I can hopefully find everything I need in August, completing inventories, filling out permanent records, taking classes, sorting tons of paperwork and all the unexpected stuff.
I'm also working on the summer online class for Brave Teachers, working around the house to get ready for a party this weekend, living with a three year old, and making plans for summer and fall.
On top of all of that I'm trying to finish well with my students. They are so ready for summer and 5th grade. They are ready to move on. They do not have the language to express all of that, so behaviors escalate. Yesterday I felt myself starting to take that personal.
So how do we finish well? Here are my thoughts for myself and my students:
One of the best ways I know for finishing well is to not take it personally. It isn't.
Talk about it. We have been talking about this in our class meetings.
Talk to kids individually, too. I say to some kids that I think the reason they are acting this way is because they are going to miss me so much. (I don't always know this is true, but. . .)
If you can't beat 'em, join them. Yesterday we spent the last 30 minutes at the end of the day playing string games. I taught some. Kids taught some. It was fun, and way less stressful than trying to squeeze in one more lesson. Most days in these last few weeks of school, every day has some special little part to it. I'm not talking big or expensive. I'm teaching them how to play games or make crafts that they can do at home with few resources this summer. I hope to share a few here!
Be kind to yourself and others. I could probably spend all my waking hours at school and not get everything done that I think I need to do. This will only making me an ogre. I also need to be patient with myself. When I'm gentle and patient with myself, it's so much easier to be gentle and patient with others. I try to put myself in the shoes of kids who are ready for summer, and accept that they are not looking at these last few weeks from an adult teacher perspective. I try to be generous with patience and kindness and grace. (I do not always succeed, but I do try.)
What tips to you have for finishing well?