The school year is over and it’s time to reflect on the year, and then shift your focus to YOU!
The end of the school year is an emotional rollercoaster. The highs and lows come from the excitement of summer, knowing you will have the next two months to relax or at least have different demands placed on you (perhaps you are still taking classes or working a summer job). There is also that part of you that will miss the students you bonded with and became close with. You became part of someone’s life, and they became part of yours. That’s an incredibly special relationship to have created. Newer teachers feel the loss differently; they may have been your “first babies” (as my 7th grade teacher used to refer to us as- hats off to Ms D). But either way, senior teacher or newer teacher, there is a feeling of sadness as you watch these kids go on.
Celebrate – Do something for you (monumental, symbolic) to celebrate your accomplishments this year. (When I was a teacher we used to take a ride on the #ConeyIsland Cyclone to commemorate the last day). It’s important to celebrate- you know how you give your kids stickers or pencils as a reward? Do the same for yourself- science shows your neurological system and brain is reinforced with positivity when you reward yourself.
Reflect – Take a moment to think about the 3-5 best things that happened this year in your classroom. Write them down in a journal. Take the time to document your successes for either your future self to review, or your child/grandchild to review one day, etc.
Prepare – After you take a few weeks to chillax, start thinking about who you want to become as a teacher next year. Do you want to become an expert in behavior management? Questioning? Data analysis? Who do you want to reinvent yourself as? After my 5th year as a Principal, I started feeling like I may want to try my hand at something else, but then I realized, I can also reinvent who I am, and I do this as a practice every summer. This is important because it will help you avoid the burn out feeling you can get after numerous years on the job. What skills do you want to add to your repertoire on your journey to becoming a Master Teacher?
Lastly on behalf of all the students you work with, THANK YOU! Thank you for getting up every morning, for coming into school with excitement and energy, for being patient, for being loving, and for making a difference in someone’s life and becoming part of someone’s story. You never know, 40 years from now, one (and maybe many) of your students will be saying, “My favorite teacher was (YOU). S/he made a huge difference in my life because they (fill in the blank). And that’s one of the reasons I am where I am today, because of that teacher.”
“A society grows great when teachers plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”