Monday, May 16, 2016
"It might be one of the last days of the year that end up mattering the most. Make every minute count." Jeff Charbonneau, 2013 National Teacher of the Year.
I have seen many teachers on my reading and presenting circuit for GRADY GETS GLASSES. One thing is universally true- all of my teachers friends are overwhelmed with end of the year chores and tasks! They told me they need advice and inspiration! So, teachers- this post is for YOU! Right now, you are panicking because this school year is going to be finished in a few short weeks, and you have so much to do! Stress, stress, stress! But remember the most important job is to keep on teaching and paying attention to your students, who will always need you. In fact, for some students the last weeks and days may provide their last chance to connect with you!
As for the mundane end-of-the-school-year jobs each teacher must get done, here are a few tips:
1. Make a list- even if you normally do not make lists. Keep this list with you- at home and at school. With so many tasks to do, and all of them end-of-the-school-year-imperative, you must remember ALL of them. When you finish one of the tasks, check it off! The act of checking an item off your list will help you to de-stress.
2. Instead of complaining about all of the items on your list, spend that time on a single item on the list. Give up chit-chat for a few days, and eat lunch at your desk those same days. You will be surprised at how many items you will be able to check off with that little bit of extra time.
3. If student grades are online, tell students it is their responsibility to see you if they have an assignment missing. (This works best for upper grades.)
4. All teachers take work home. If you are exhausted, go to bed. It is better to wake up a little earlier and be fresh to tackle an important job, rather than to be so tired and have no focus. Morning is better.
5. If you are so stressed that you simply can't sleep, get up and complete one small task on your list. You will be relieved to check off another item- and you should be able to sleep.
6. Collecting books was paramount at my large school, and a HUGE job. Sometimes,getting students to actually turn books in on time was difficult. Solution: write a list on the board or in your classroom- students hate to see their names on the "teacher's list." The list- and reminders from their school friends, helped me to collect all of my books. Put the onus on the students. (Explain that you are not their mother/father. Always good for a chuckle.)
7. Student volunteers often helped me during my 37 years of end-of-the-year things to do. Trustworthy students would volunteer to come to my classroom during their study halls ("Please, Mrs. Rittman, I am SO bored in study hall!" ) to count and stack books for me. English teachers collect LOTS of books, and I appreciated the help. (Sorry, elementary teachers, this would not work for all of you- especially for the early grades.) Check off the list- books counted and stacked! (A student who volunteers to help a teacher is a treasure.)
8. As you are packing up personal teaching items, do a quick evaluation: if you haven't used it for 2 school years, pitch it! I am speaking as someone who had difficulty throwing materials away for those 37 years, but you have so many resources available online that you can streamline your classroom space and declutter by giving unused items the heave-ho, or by sharing them in a department center.
9. Remember that if you really can't get it all done, you can always come in for a few extra hours when no students are in school, and wrap up the 'to-do" with fewer interruptions. The students are the most important items on your list every day, even at the end of the school year. You still have plenty of time to make an impact.
10. English and language Arts teacher- I know this is extra work, but I always wanted my students to read over the summer. They went home with a list of upcoming novels, as well as suggestions for "fun" reading that would help to improve vocabulary and comprehension. No wants wants the "summer slide."
Just remember- that when you are doing ALL of those things on your list, you must remember to keep teaching. Here's why: "It might be one of the last days of the year that end up mattering the most. Make every minute count." Teacher Eyes: Quotes from Jeff Charbonneau, 2013 National Teacher of the Year
BE PROUD of the job you did this year! Think about how many lives you touched, and know that you made a difference every day. I applaud your efforts!
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®
Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading.
Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired!
Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom. Check them out! http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . The website www.gradygetsglasses.com IS UP AND RUNNING!!!. Signed copies ARE available! Grady plush toys are ordered!
Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl
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