The last few weeks of school are always riddled with end-of-the-year activities that are meant to culminate a school year and fill it with final positive memories and good feelings. In our case, we had a Cancer Walk, a day at the park with popsicles and sidewalk chalk and the annual school egg drop. We put together a picture slideshow for the kids to enjoy and reminisce about the year they spent in fourth grade. We relaxed our class schedules and let them have a little fun.
This is the part of the year that goes in slow motion. Without the forward motion of schoolwork and academic expectation, the end of the year can seem to drag. It can be hard as a teacher to enjoy these last few unstructured days, but we try our best to have fun with the kids.
At the same time that all of this is happening, there are many teacher responsibilities that are happening behind the scenes. As a special education teacher, we have all of the year-end annual review and IEP meetings for all of the students in our caseload. We attend two sets of meetings: the ones for our outgoing students and also the ones for our incoming students. We attempt to plan ahead for the students that are coming to our grade level and this sometimes comes with unforeseen problems to solve for the upcoming year with programming and scheduling and other details.
This is the part of the year that seems to happen in fast forward. There is never enough time to get everything done with the diligence that I would like. I am a planner (and a bit of a control-freak) at heart and I like to know exactly what is going to happen so I can be ready for the upcoming year.
Usually, teachers have to pack up their classrooms to get ready for the big summer clean, but this year was a little bit different. I had to move from one room to another – which, actually also, is a fairly typical happenstance at a public school. This is the second time I have moved rooms in the four years I have been at my current school and many teachers have moved more times than that. Every year that you teach, you acquire more “stuff” which just gets harder and harder to move. I tried to be systematic but there was a lot to move and seemingly not enough time to move it all.
Like I said, the end of the year can get pretty crazy, but it’s most important to use this time to connect with your students one last time before they pass into the next grade level and are with a new teacher.
For the students moving on from me, this means they are off on the ascent towards middle school where academics ramp up and expectations escalate exponentially. All I can do is hope that I prepared them as much as I could to work hard, to be good thinkers and concentrate on what they already know to help them succeed in the future. My goal has always been to create confident, independent learners. Only the future will show if this goal has been accomplished. Have a great summer!