Bright sunshine, balmy breezes, stuffy classroom, worn workbooks, antsy students, dreamy teacher—it’s springtime and the end of school is beckoning. The countdown is getting lower but there are still some weeks left until the welcome summer break. Do we just set the autopilot and coast till the end of the school year—maybe trying to just hang on and not let everything fall apart? Or can we put these last weeks to good use and finish well?
I think all of us (except for a few first graders who still think school is their favorite place to be) are becoming weary of school life and school routine. We could all use a boost in school fervor about now. For the teacher it can become easy to let things slide. We are almost finished, so does this class time or subject really matter? Students also can become lax in their diligence. They’ve done well enough all year. Things they’re learning now will be reviewed next year. Is the rest of the year really important?
I would like to suggest to the teacher that you take thought for next year. Bad habits that develop at the end of this year will need to be broken at the beginning of the next. Take stock of your classroom management. Is it still going strong? Are you still following through? It is easy to let things slip at this time of year. But it only leads to frustration for both the students and the teacher. I recently found that it was time to introduce the next level of my discipline plan. It hadn’t been necessary up to this point but now I needed to call students to a new level of excellence. Don’t be afraid to implement a new strategy if that is what it will take to help students and teachers finish well.
Are the lessons becoming humdrum and lacking in student engagement? Often by this time most of the difficult subject material has been covered and students are working with review materials more independently. The lesson counts may also be winding down and students have more free time. Take advantage of the easier load to add in a few extra projects that push for excellency and add some spice to the normal workbook pages. A few ideas to spark your own:
Those warm, sunny days call us outside. Vigorous exercise while playing aids the classroom work. Exercise is good for our physical, mental, and emotional health. It can be tempting to spend extra time at recess. Occasionally this is good. Just remember that making it an everyday habit does no one any favors. But make sure everyone gets the chance to enjoy being outdoors. Take time to clean the playground of trash, dead leaves, and sticks. It might be even better to figure out how to effectively take the classroom outside at times. Soak up some sunshine while eating lunch. Send students out to write a paragraph about what is going on around them. Delight in the warmth and renewal of spring.
Teachers set the tone for their classroom. And yes, teachers, sometimes you are weary to your very bones. Maybe you have a student who takes extra diligence and maintenance every day. Maybe you have questions about a student’s ability to move on to the next grade. Maybe your duties seem overwhelming. Ask God for grace and wisdom and strength to continue to finish well. He gives it out liberally to those who ask (James 1:5).
The last weeks of school should not be viewed as a cell where we are just counting down the moments until freedom. You will never have these days again. Use them well!