Teaching is like running a marathon, and we’re coming up on the finish line! Wrapping up a school year is bittersweet, and the homestretch can feel like the hardest part. So much to accomplish, so little time left. We tend to kick it into survival mode until testing is over and the checklists are complete. Finding a balance between cherishing the final days with our students and keeping our heads above water can be challenging. So, here are some tips for teachers, by teachers, on surviving the 4th quarter.
On keeping students engaged:
- Go back to the beginning of the year strategies of movement and singing. Lots of change in activity. Short and frequent. —Lauren, Kindergarten teacher
- Review rules, up the reinforcements and incentives, praise the positives twice as often as usual. —Angie, 3rd-grade teacher
- Do the fun things they will never forget! —Lisl, 3rd-grade teacher
- Stay consistent in your routine! —Melanie, 2nd-grade teacher
- Try to save the most interesting units for the end of the year. —Kay-Lynne, Family & Consumer Sciences teacher
- Do the activities you always wanted to do with them. Enjoy and treasure the last few days with them. At the beginning of the year, you will wish you had them back! —Charlene, 4th-grade teacher
- Put more responsibility on the students. If you have been teaching with the same routine for three quarters, they can teach it now! Let students “run” the classroom as much as possible. —Ashley, 2nd-grade teacher
- Have fun. Do more art projects. Keep them busy! —Jennifer, 4th-grade teacher
For more ways to keep students engaged until the last day, check out The 10 Best Tech Tools for Student Engagement.
On managing the workload:
- Do not overcomplicate final assignments. Give yourself grace and enjoy the kids. —ShaNele, English teacher
- Boundaries. One day at a time. Have fun. Take time to enjoy your students and make memories. —Candice, 2nd-grade teacher
- Be flexible, be kind and give yourself and others grace! —Ginny,
- Take one day at a time and plan something special to look forward to once school is dismissed. —Diane, Special Education teacher
- Make all assessments something that is automatically graded – Google forms, for instance. —Tracey, Exceptionally Gifted teacher
- Stay relaxed, have a plan, and stay positive until the bitter end. —Susan, Music teacher
- Get the “have to” done, and then have some fun with your students. —Laurie
- Path of least resistance in all things: lesson planning, grading, dealing with other people. —Heather, English teacher
- Have empathy. Students feel the same way teachers do. —Brandi
- Remember that if you’re tired, your students are tired too. Give grace when you can and make the “have-to” more important than trying to get everything done. —Deborah, Middle school teacher
- Start packing up your room (in a small way) now. —Kay-Lynne, Family & Consumer Sciences teacher
- Pick your battles. Some things are just not worth the effort. —Alice, Veteran teacher
- Work a little each day and stay ahead. You have the regular end-of-grading period and you have all of the end-of-year jobs to get done. Be patient. Understand some things will have to wait until the last day or two of the year. Stay patient and focused. —Jeff, Retired teacher
For more tips, check out Preventing Teacher Burnout.
- Don’t take it personally. Any of it. —Christie, Spanish Teacher
- Get a good massage. —Danielle, Veteran teacher
- 10-minute walks and talks with other teachers help. —Brett, ESL teacher
- Maintain your sense of humor! —Elizabeth, English Teacher
- Do what you can and take time for yourself! —Beth, ELA Teacher
- Leave everything behind some days. It’ll get done, but you can’t give what you don’t have. —Jessica, 2nd-grade teacher
- Breathe. Don’t take behaviors personally. Keep the schedule as normal as possible. —Jennifer, 4th-grade teacher
- Don’t be afraid to use a day (sick or personal). —Karen, Middle School teacher
For more ideas on how to take care of yourself, visit Self Care Teacher Tricks.
When you need a pep talk:
- You got this. You have made it through the worst and are in the home stretch. Don’t lose sight of why you teach. —Sally, Sp Ed Consultant
- One day at a time – lean on your people. —Julie, 4th-grade teacher
- Remember that you still are enough. —Cory, 2nd-grade teacher
- Hang on. Deep breaths. You are doing the best you can. —Teresa, French teacher
- You’ve made it this far! You can do it! —Leslie, Special Education teacher
The finish line is in sight! So, when you’re feeling burned out, come back to this post and remember you’re not alone.
Do you have any tips for surviving 4th quarter? Share in the comments below!
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