The year has just flown by, and June is already upon us, which can mean only one thing for teachers all over the country; we are finally entering that final half term of the year. The long summer holidays are just a stone’s throw away. As anyone who is involved in teaching will tell you this almost certainly does not mean that things in school will be calming down. In fact, quite the opposite will be happening, if anything the end of the school year is one of the busiest and of course most stressful times not only for your pupils but also for you.
The hot weather and the thought of impending summer holidays can make it harder for some of the students in your class to concentrate, especially the younger ones and this can lead to a more stressful environment. Younger children might be nervous about moving to a new classroom and having a new teacher next year. If you teach year 6, then your pupils are bound to be nervous about the transition to high school; as well as being highly emotional to be leaving everything that is so familiar behind.
But don’t worry if you feel like everything is happening on autopilot there are still plenty of things that you can do to make the end of the year a truly memorable time for both you and your pupils.
Reflect on the year
Sit down with your pupils and reflect on all the different things that you have done during the year. There are bound to be some activities or topics that you have covered that have really stuck in their minds. A great way to get your class to think back over the course of the year is to ask them to write about the things that they have enjoyed the most. It can often be surprising to see which things they have really enjoyed and which pieces of information they have really taken in. This can also be a very helpful exercise for you as you move into next year, knowing what the pupils you have already taught thought worked well. Take time to gather together all of the work you might have displayed in your classroom for your pupils so that it can be returned ready for them to take home to show their parents.
You could even get your pupils to write lists for next year’s students. This works particularly well for older children. Things like “the top 5 things you need to know in year 6” or “5 pieces of advice for year 5 pupils”. As students move up the school, expectations on their behaviour change and so to do workloads; so perhaps your current class have information they can pass on to next year’s class to help them settle in.
Celebrate the successes
While many schools have school-wide awards that they give at the end of the year and also on a regular basis, why not create your own awards in class. This is a great way to look back at all the achievements your students have made. This is also a way to ensure that every child gets their moment in the spotlight. Perhaps you have someone who isn’t gifted academically and struggles with classwork. Work out your students’ strengths and create awards that reflect them. This is the perfect way to end the year on a high note for everyone.
Prepare everyone for next year
It doesn’t matter whether you teach FS2 or year 6 there is a good chance your pupils will be nervous about next year. A new classroom, new teacher, a new environment and of course plenty of challenges. If your school do not hold transition days where pupils spend some time getting used to their new teacher and classroom, then create something yourself. Talk to your class about the sort of things they will be learning and get them interested in all the new and exciting things they will be learning. Perhaps get your children to write a short introduction of themselves for their new teacher. You could also write one for the children who will be moving to your class next year as well.
Use the weather to your advantage
One huge problem that teachers face in the run-up to summer is the weather, being cooped up in a stuffy classroom isn’t fun, and children often act out. Try and create some fun learning activities that can be done outside, weather allowing. Moving lessons outdoors will make it more fun for your class, and they won’t even notice that they are working.
Often school trips take place during the final half term of the year, and this really is a great way to finish the year on a high. Get the children involved in discussing the things you will see and do on your trip. There are plenty of activities you can work in around the trip that they will really enjoy.
Having said all of that, you really have almost made it to the end of the year. Another class of young minds has learnt so much and have made great bonds with those around them. There are just a few short weeks to go, so relax and enjoy the time you have left with them before they move onwards and upwards. Make time for some fun activities in your day and work with the children around any challenging behaviour. You are looking forward to the summer break, you have earned it.
Before you know it, September will have come around, and it will be time to start again with a whole new class of, hopefully, enthusiastic youngsters who are eager to learn.