How to make the best of the "worst" time of the year...

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When this post goes live, we will have 37 days of school left. {Yes, my 5th graders are counting down!}  I cannot wait for summer break and getting to spend some time with my 6 y.o.  I am ready to read some professional books, revamp some of my teaching practices/units/etc., and spend some time soaking up the sun and working on my tan.  But, I also hate these next 37 days...
  • The students are excited; especially mine who move on to 6th grade--a new school and new adventures.  But their excitement is NOT why I dread going to school each morning...
  • We have state and district testing to complete. But the 5+ days of classroom interruptions this causes is NOT why I dread going to school each day...
  • The weather has gone from 70s to snow in a matter of hours. But the drastic forecasts (and potential for indoor recess because of rain) is NOT why my stomach flip-flops when I think about school...

I hate this time of year because of the anxiety it causes me and the building when discussing grade placements, student numbers, room locations, etc.

I know I shouldn't get worked up over this stuff.  People have asked me if I ever want to get into administration and  I reply, "Only if I don't have to make the tough decisions."  But it's true, I don't envy administrators this time of year.  As a people pleaser, I would would not want to tell teachers who is cut, how many Full Time Employees (FTEs) I have been allotted, who has to switch grades/classrooms, etc.

Now, as nothing has been finalized yet--and things could still even change over the summer--I won't get into the particulars as to what might happen at my school.  However, I will say there is some anxiety and whispers in the hallway, and that this has happened at every school I have worked at for the past 10 years.  April/May is not kind to an educator's psyche!

(Just a little Meme humor...please don't hate!)
That being said, here is how I am attempting to get through these next few weeks:

1-     Cleaning and Organizing

Now, to be fair, I haven't officially stated this part yet.  Actually, my heart is starting to beat faster even as I write this!  The spring is a great time to reevaluate that student project you have saved from 3 years past and haven't done since, or even that lesson from December that didn't go quite as planned.  

And let's not leave this to the physical classroom; how about that computer?  I recently had mine re-imaged and new software installed.  Then, I discovered how to use the Google Drive App to sync folders and my world has changed!  I have so much more space on my drive and desktop, things are more organized and easy to find, and in general, I feel better about the "clutter" that has found a home on my computer!

Plus, I think I am safe in saying this...I have offered to switch rooms in my building if needed!  I came into my current room 5 years ago knowing little to nothing about 5th grade (I thought I would teach middle school forever!) and acquired a closet or two full of stuff I was afraid to throw out.  I can clean these out regardless if I switch spaces, but a move down the hall would be the kick-in-the-pants I need to really purge!
This is what my room looked liked a few years ago, it has been updated...but note the "teacher" clutter that is packing up the room for the end of the school year!

2-     ME time

I have turned the focus to ME when I go home at night or on weekends.  Of course, I still do school stuff, but I have given myself permission to NOT feel guilty about taking the time for me.  I need to unwind, not think about school for a few minutes, and recharge my battery!  If I stay focused on school, I am going to drain myself even more and be a useless puddle the next day.  So don't mind me if I curl up with my Reese's Peanut Butter Egg, a cup of coffee, and enjoy a good book.  I will return to my regularly scheduled teaching position on Monday at 8am.



3-     Have fun with the students and end the year on a positive note!

I know, this isn't something new--we all try to make our lessons engaging, meaningful, and memorable for our students.  I am talking about putting the lesson book aside {insert gasp here} and just having fun, no strings attached.  

For my grade/school, we go to an overnight camp for 3 days and 2 nights in May with students that is a BLAST.  For many of them, this is the only time they will ever have such an experience.

We have typically done an ABC Countdown with students.  My principal asked that we shorten it so my team is going to do "SUMMER" instead.  We have a dress-up day, outdoor events, field-trip, cleaning, and most importantly, mustaches, planned for the last 6 days of school!



My class will also be reflecting on the year, to help me become a better teacher and prepare the incoming students for 5th grade by completing a grade level brochure:

This is only $2 in my TpT store--click the picture to see!
I put these out on my new students' desks the first day of school--it helps to calm their fears a bit and give them a connection, as many will recognize the name of the student they received the brochure from.

I also give all of my students a parting gift....their name with adjectives their classmates would use to describe them:
  
I get the words for these by giving students a class list, and asking them to write one adjective behind each person's name.  I collect and compile these, and then use Tagxedo.com to create the word cloud.  I have used wordle.net/create before too, but I like being able to choose the student's name (from a google search of images) and have the words fill the letters rather than making a random shape.

And that's a wrap....37 more days....

How do you (or your admin) handle the anxiety of staffing at the end of the year?




by Sara from Draz's Class

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