Trina Deboree
Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of The School Year

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of The School Year

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of The School Year

The end of the year can be a whirlwind. Class lists, student folders, and EVERYTHING ELSE is DUE all pretty much at the same time! It really can be a madhouse.  Kids are so ready to be done. (That doesn’t help the matter!) You are either cramming the remaining content down the kids' throats hoping you have covered everything or you were done a month ago due to having to cover everything BEFORE testing began! Either way, it is A LOT! 

There really is no tired like end-of-the-year tired for a teacher! But so many people don’t get it. (And sometimes even your spouse of 15 years!) So I want to share some tips and tricks for getting you to the finish line with confidence and maybe even with a spring in your step. (One can only hope!)

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of the School Year:

1 Eat Chocolate

Yes, chocolate! It helps. There is scientific proof that dark chocolate increases your production of serotonin levels. (The feel-good hormone.) And let me tell you, you need all the boosting you can get. A good run or workout will also do the trick, but who has time for that?!

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of a School Year- Eat Chocolate

2 Barter Time

This next way of surviving and thriving is a little bit of like selling your soul to the Devil. But I think it helps. Make a deal with a friend (NON TEACHER/EDUCATOR) or better yet your spouse. Propose a two week off from meals and possibly even bedtime the last 14 days of school. You can make it up to them by taking their kids/dogs pets or whatever for a few full days during the summer to give them a break. If it is your spouse, maybe you can think of other ways to repay them. (After you have had at least two weeks of downtime!) Better yet, tell them that you will continue being their wonderful spouse/partner for free ONLY if they can step up during crisis time. 

Another suggestion is to take turns with a teacher friend. I know for me my teacher BFF saved me long ago. We used to trade off nights where one of us would stay at school super late to do all the necessary school housekeeping while the other one would pick up the kids from daycare or after school programs, feed them, and have them ready to go. We alternated days. It was a lifesaver!

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of The School Year Barter Time

3 Create a Summer Vision Board On Pinterest

Sometimes our mindset is really what holds us back. (Actually, most times it is.) So changing our mindset or having something in which to envision gets us through the tough times. Why not create a summer vision board on Pinterest. Start pinning things you want to do, ways to relax, vacations you would love to go on, activities you want to do with or without your kids, and more. You may even add some romantic ideas to the board. (This will help you know how to repay your loved one for your two-week break!) 

Vision boards can be life-changing. Spend at least 10 minutes a day visualizing what your life will look like after school has ended. (You might want to set a timer, so you don’t go down the Pinterest rabbit hole. That can be counterproductive!)

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of The School Year Summer Vision Board

4 Sleep

Sleep is an essential tip for thriving and surviving! When you don’t get enough sleep, your body and mind are not working at optimal capacity. Lack of sleep is where we tend to really hurt ourselves. Lack of sleep makes us anxious, and in an already high-pressure situation that is a recipe for disaster. So set a reminder on your phone to start getting ready for bed ONE HOUR BEFORE bed. The reminder alarm will help you stay on track. You want to shoot for at least 8 hours of sleep. (And if you are like me and over 40, you will want to make it closer to 9 hours! I know this is excessive, but trust me you need it right now. You can stay up and get lost on social media over the summer.)

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of The School Year Sleep

5 Be What You Need

Often the end of the school year brings out the worst in people. It almost feels like moving day. (Which for my family and me happened a lot. My dad was in the Air Force. ) Moving days are stressful. Tempers are high, and kids are bored! Actually, sometimes it literally is packing up day. You might be moving to another classroom or packing up to go to another school. 

Either way, it helps to be what you need to others. You probably need a friend’s shoulder on which to cry. Be that to someone else. You might need a hug. Go hug your teacher BFF! You might need to hear a word or two of encouragement. Go tell a colleague what a great job they did this year and how they impacted so many kids and others. Be what you need to someone else. It’s an excellent Karma boost (if you’re into that). And it feels good

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of The School Year Be What You Need

6 Class Incentive

This one was a big one for me. Each year, in the end, I wanted to throttle kids. They almost seemed to become even needier at this time of year. {And I loved my students so much that I almost always cried at the end of each year. Even after 17 years!} I think it may be some separation anxiety coming into play, and possibly from both sides. I know the ones who gave me the hardest times are the ones I’ll remember forever. Kids start feeling the change coming. They sense it. Some kids need extra attention even when you don’t feel you have the time to give it. 

So many years ago, I started doing a themed last week of school. (Hint- that is step seven!) It was awesome. I’ll explain in a minute. What I realized I needed was an incentive for the kids to stay on track academically and behaviorally. So I created a system where all the kids were invited to each day’s activities. I used my normal behavior management system, but if there were issues, they would be removed from an activity or a sequence of activities. However, I ALWAYS made sure to give them opportunities to earn back the activity. If you skip that step, you are only hurting yourself. Kids that struggle with behavior need reasons to turn things around. About 95% of the time every kid was participating in every event. So it really works. If someone didn’t, and they had to do focused support work during one activity, I can guarantee they worked like crazy to earn back any other missed events. 

7 Ways to Survive and Thrive at the End of The School Year Incentive

7 Theme Week

Now, this is where you get all the cool activities to do during the theme week. (Or to hold over their heads. LOL) Truthfully, they are super fun and doing a theme like Camp End of the Year, Surfing Into Summer, Superheroes, End the Year With a Ball (sports theme),Western, or Cruising make the last 1-2 weeks bearable and quite enjoyable. I worked with my teacher BFF to create a Camp- End-of-The-Year packet long ago. It literally made the last week one of my favorite weeks of the year. There is plenty of kid-focused activity so that you can get all the housekeeping things done at school during your actual paid hours. There are also some amusing experiments and events that allow you to have fun with your kids and enjoy your time with them. 

Each end-of-the-year packet has activities for each subject area- reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Some of the packages have an alternative day science and or social studies activity. Some have five full events for each subject. 
Here is an example of the schedule for camp and the surfing into summer (which is basically the same thing in all the different themes.)

You could easily do this with things you already have. Dress it up a bit, and you have an end of the year week of plans! I always throw in some independent or partner reading in sleeping bags or dressed as your favorite superhero or on a beach towel depending upon the theme. That is great for at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted get things done time. Also, game days are super fun. Letting kids bring in games to play can also give you time to organize and close up for the year. In fact, you might even have extra time to plan for the first week of school! How about that for surviving and thriving?!

I wish you the best! I know it can be stressful, but you’ve got this. 

Happy Teaching and Learning

P.S. If you want end-of-the-year packets that are totally done for you. Click on the samples below to take you directly to my store on TpT where you can purchase one. (Or two if you feel that adventurous! Just look closely at what is included. There are some duplicate activities from theme to theme.)