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May 21, 2017 End-of-Year Tips for New Teachers By Rhonda Stewart
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    The school year’s end is near – a time that can be overwhelming for first-timers and teaching veterans alike. As the days count down to the last day of school, besides our normal responsibilities, teachers must complete required paperwork, receive email updates on end-of-year responsibilities, and most importantly, maintain structure and order in the classroom. This can be a difficult balancing act for a first-year teacher. Seasoned teachers feel some of that too, but our experience helps us get the job done. As my last post of this school year, I would like to offer some helpful tips to ease some of the stress that new teachers feel. (Please note that these are not in any particular order of significance as they all are equally valuable!)

    Rhonda’s End-of-Year Lifesavers!

     

    Tip#1: Check in With Your Mentor

    Remember that your mentor is your lifeline. They know the routines that comes with preparing for the end of the year. It can be difficult to absorb all of the procedures that come with closing out the classroom. They are there to guide you through the often confusing end-of-year procedures. Be sure to ask questions when a procedure is unclear so that you are not wasting time. If you do not have a mentor, check in with a buddy teacher in your grade or subject area to assist you. Just think about this: this time next year, you will be the seasoned pro and will able to pay it forward by being able to offer a helping hand to the incoming new teachers in your building.

    Tip# 2: Create a Calendar (To-Do List)

    During the last few weeks of school, I am mindful of what needs to be completed. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments when a colleague will pull my coattail and remind me of something that may have changed on the schedule due to a last-minute email. Having a calendar has simplified my life. With so much information coming at you, it is very easy to miss a deadline. Use a calendar to jot down when you have a wrap-up meeting with a supervisor, deadline for achievement certificates/report cards, or any special events. This will be a great asset to help keep you organized. I use the one associated with my email. Here’s a quick peek at my last few weeks of teaching:

    Tip# 3: Re-evaluate Your Year!

    It’s time to self assess. Take a look at the moments where you shone and when you dimmed. One trick that I use is jotting notes on my lesson plans for what I would do differently next year. You can also go back to your evaluations and re-examine the feedback from your administrator. This is a time when you are straddling the fence; you are preparing for the end of the school year as well as the beginning of the upcoming one.

    Tip# 4: Organize, Organize, Organize!

    Work hard now, work less later. Spend time thoughtfully packing up your classroom so it will be easier to unpack in fall. Label your boxes and cabinets, no guessing! You want to be able to locate your materials easily. If possible, leave a paper copy of your floor plan attached to your board so that custodians will be able to put your furniture back in its proper location. Take pictures of your room. Did you love where you placed your anchor charts or centers? Having a visual image will also save you well needed time in the fall especially if you do not have the luxury of getting to your school early to set up.

    Tip# 5: Plan Something Fun for YOU!

    My last tip is not for you the professional, but for you the whole person! Plan to rejuvenate during the summer months! Plan to take a fun trip, hang out with family and friends, or even just sleep in. This is the time to re-energize! I plan my summer reading by the pool and even look at professional development opportunities to hone my teaching craft. I definitely look for ones to fit my budget — FREE! But when I am unable to do that, I find ones that I can turn into a mini-vacation. For example, Scholastic Reading Summit is going to be in the Washington, D.C area in July. I can mix my professional learning and seeing the sites in the nation’s capital. That’s what I call a WIN-WIN! Also check out American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA) or your local teacher organizations for summer professional development.

     

    Pearls of Wisdom — Fight the feeling that school is over. Students still need structure. Keep to your routines as much as possible. This will help to keep your classroom moving as smoothly as possible during the last days of your school calendar.

    Need some more ideas to help with the last few weeks of school? Please check out the following posts by my fellow Scholastic bloggers:

     

    Mary Blow –“End the Year on a Positive Note

    Christy Crawford – “How to Throw a Fabulous Year-End Celebration

    Allie Magnuson – “Top 10 End-of-the-Year Tips

     

     

    The school year’s end is near – a time that can be overwhelming for first-timers and teaching veterans alike. As the days count down to the last day of school, besides our normal responsibilities, teachers must complete required paperwork, receive email updates on end-of-year responsibilities, and most importantly, maintain structure and order in the classroom. This can be a difficult balancing act for a first-year teacher. Seasoned teachers feel some of that too, but our experience helps us get the job done. As my last post of this school year, I would like to offer some helpful tips to ease some of the stress that new teachers feel. (Please note that these are not in any particular order of significance as they all are equally valuable!)

    Rhonda’s End-of-Year Lifesavers!

     

    Tip#1: Check in With Your Mentor

    Remember that your mentor is your lifeline. They know the routines that comes with preparing for the end of the year. It can be difficult to absorb all of the procedures that come with closing out the classroom. They are there to guide you through the often confusing end-of-year procedures. Be sure to ask questions when a procedure is unclear so that you are not wasting time. If you do not have a mentor, check in with a buddy teacher in your grade or subject area to assist you. Just think about this: this time next year, you will be the seasoned pro and will able to pay it forward by being able to offer a helping hand to the incoming new teachers in your building.

    Tip# 2: Create a Calendar (To-Do List)

    During the last few weeks of school, I am mindful of what needs to be completed. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments when a colleague will pull my coattail and remind me of something that may have changed on the schedule due to a last-minute email. Having a calendar has simplified my life. With so much information coming at you, it is very easy to miss a deadline. Use a calendar to jot down when you have a wrap-up meeting with a supervisor, deadline for achievement certificates/report cards, or any special events. This will be a great asset to help keep you organized. I use the one associated with my email. Here’s a quick peek at my last few weeks of teaching:

    Tip# 3: Re-evaluate Your Year!

    It’s time to self assess. Take a look at the moments where you shone and when you dimmed. One trick that I use is jotting notes on my lesson plans for what I would do differently next year. You can also go back to your evaluations and re-examine the feedback from your administrator. This is a time when you are straddling the fence; you are preparing for the end of the school year as well as the beginning of the upcoming one.

    Tip# 4: Organize, Organize, Organize!

    Work hard now, work less later. Spend time thoughtfully packing up your classroom so it will be easier to unpack in fall. Label your boxes and cabinets, no guessing! You want to be able to locate your materials easily. If possible, leave a paper copy of your floor plan attached to your board so that custodians will be able to put your furniture back in its proper location. Take pictures of your room. Did you love where you placed your anchor charts or centers? Having a visual image will also save you well needed time in the fall especially if you do not have the luxury of getting to your school early to set up.

    Tip# 5: Plan Something Fun for YOU!

    My last tip is not for you the professional, but for you the whole person! Plan to rejuvenate during the summer months! Plan to take a fun trip, hang out with family and friends, or even just sleep in. This is the time to re-energize! I plan my summer reading by the pool and even look at professional development opportunities to hone my teaching craft. I definitely look for ones to fit my budget — FREE! But when I am unable to do that, I find ones that I can turn into a mini-vacation. For example, Scholastic Reading Summit is going to be in the Washington, D.C area in July. I can mix my professional learning and seeing the sites in the nation’s capital. That’s what I call a WIN-WIN! Also check out American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA) or your local teacher organizations for summer professional development.

     

    Pearls of Wisdom — Fight the feeling that school is over. Students still need structure. Keep to your routines as much as possible. This will help to keep your classroom moving as smoothly as possible during the last days of your school calendar.

    Need some more ideas to help with the last few weeks of school? Please check out the following posts by my fellow Scholastic bloggers:

     

    Mary Blow –“End the Year on a Positive Note

    Christy Crawford – “How to Throw a Fabulous Year-End Celebration

    Allie Magnuson – “Top 10 End-of-the-Year Tips

     

     

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