You may have heard the saying, "There is no tired like end of the year teacher tired." As we head into May, you might indeed feel tired, but this is no time to throw in the towel. Historically, May is one of the highest months for teacher absenteeism – which is the perfect opportunity for substitutes to make some extra money before summer break!
If you feel like your fuel gauge is creeping too close to empty, try out these seven tips to make the most of this crazy time of year.
1. Start the day with a positive outlook.
Sometimes feeling tired can lead to negativity. You may wake up and think – today's gonna be a rough one. Try to knock thoughts like that right out of your mind and tell yourself it will be a pleasant and productive day. Positivity breeds success!
2. Teach with deliberation – don't coast.
It can be tempting to take it easy as we inch toward the last day of school, but teaching the curriculum through the last week of school is essential. Stick to the teacher's lesson plans, and try to make activities interesting and engaging for students. Remember – every day counts!
3. Expect unexpected interruptions.
The end of the school year is notorious for unexpected interruptions. Students may be pulled out of class for various reasons (e.g. the school choir is practicing for their graduation performance). You may have to maneuver around award ceremonies and assemblies galore. Our best advice? Go with the flow. Be flexible and do your best to provide a valuable learning day for your students, despite any distractions. If you can't get to something in the lesson plan, be sure to mention it in the note you leave for the regular teacher.
4. Prepare students for interruptions when possible.
If you know of an assembly or other planned variation to the regular schedule, prepare your students accordingly. Chaos is less likely to occur at inopportune moments when a solid plan is in place and well-communicated.
5. Focus on praise.
Positive reinforcement and praise can go a long way to motivate your students at the end of the year. Remember, they're tired too! So give them some encouragement and help them feel good about ending the year on a strong note.
6. Amp up your enthusiasm.
This one may seem counter-intuitive... how are you supposed to raise your enthusiasm when your battery is running low? The key is to "fake it 'til you make it!" You'll be surprised by the results of simply injecting some extra enthusiasm into your teaching style. Students will inevitably become more engaged, which in turn will inspire you to feel more energized to teach. It's a win-win!
7. Remember why you're here.
Reflecting on your core purpose is a great way to rise above fatigue. You have a passion for helping students, and in your role, you're making a difference every day. Summer will be here soon, and you'll have plenty of time to rest – but now is the time to put your best teacher's foot forward and do what you do best!