The countdown to the end of the school year has begun. I’ve been reading blog posts about helping students work through senioritis. Other posts encouraging teachers to resist the urge to head into cruise control and end the year strong. The urge to slow down and stop is real.
But I wonder how often we judge student and teacher behaviors as being on “cruise control” when, in fact, the behaviors result from a completely different feeling – the feeling a marathon runner gets when he or she hits the proverbial wall.
When hitting the wall, marathon runners wonder whether or not they can make it to the end. They will themselves to put one foot in front of the other, attempting to ignore the current pain and the enormous distance they have to travel in the coming few hours.
With only five weeks to go, each of the projects on our “to do” lists seem larger and more daunting. Like the marathon runner, we need to put one foot in front of the other. We need to cut each other – and ourselves – a bit of slack for feeling sluggish and temporarily slowing down.
When we can acknowledge our own struggles, we can better empathize with our students who are struggling to finish the year while they are, perhaps, dealing with the anxiety of a move to a new place or a new school division.
Putting One Foot in Front of the Other
- Remind your family and friends that this is a rough time of year. If you’re moody, it’s not about them.
- Clean off your desk. It makes you think better. Really.
- Focus on one goal (besides the regular teaching stuff) each day. Maybe your goal is to finish two student report cards or grade ten pieces of student writing. Break the tasks into manageable chunks. The daily chunk is the only pile allowed on your desk.
- Consider “grading parties” with colleagues. Order pizza. Crank the music.
- Reward yourself for finishing daily tasks. I’m a big fan of bubble baths, foot massages, dates with the hubby, and walks with friends. Rewards should make you either laugh, relax, or become more energized.
- Admit your struggles and model your process with students. Ask them what works for them and how they can keep themselves going through this tough time of year.
What are your strategies for pushing through the end-of-year struggles?
If you like what you read, consider subscribing to Expat Educator (below).