– Tips for Parents AND Teachers –
It’s almost the end of the academic year and the kids are getting restless. As school winds down, end-of-the-year events — from music-dance-drama concerts, sports dinners and, of course, greatly anticipated to Speech Day and graduation assemblies — are probably clogging your calendar. Are you prepared for these last, hectic weeks of school?
Teaching AND Parenting in December can be a bit of a nightmare! If you can spot a teacher in their classroom, they usually look somewhat frazzled with glazed eyes! They are also usually buried under big piles of paperwork – reports, grading spreadsheets, next year’s class organisation. The endlessness of a teacher’s to-do list at the end of a school year is matched by only one other fierce contender: the boundlessness of student energy that grows exponentially with each passing day until the last day of Term 4.
Try to picture that mass of energy, and then remove common sense, well-established classroom habits, and generally any form of motivation to learn. You could then throw in selective hearing, some hormones, a considerable measure of girl drama, and lots of holiday anticipation and excitement mix them up – and there you have it – end of school year madness!
I might just say it again… Teaching AND Parenting in December can be a bit of a nightmare! On the parenting side of things, the family activity calendar jumps into overdrive. Parents have to rally their limited energy and patience to get their kids to every event, pack for every holiday trip, and find clean clothes and outfits for every concert. Then they have to make a great effort to enjoy the innumerable year-end concerts and ceremonies and photograph/video such events accordingly. AND… when you’re faced with the aforementioned hormone-drama-selective hearing-excitement cocktail, some serious parenting mojo has to be found.
Both teachers and parents deserve a huge medal for making it through the last few weeks of school.
Although the work won’t lessen, and the kids won’t miraculously calm down, it’s important to make a strong finish! Making sure your kids finish with their best effort — when their efforts are required in so many different areas — can be quite a challenge.
Here’s what I have discovered has helped slightly.
- Stick with the routine. As much as possible, try to stick with the regular routine – for teachers this would be during the school day, for parents your after-school and before-school routine. Don’t change things unless there is absolutely no other option!
- Have a plan. Think through your end-of-year survival mechanisms and always stick with the plan. If the kids sense a lack of structure they will get off task easily.
- Take time to release energy and get a breath of fresh air. Get kids up and moving whether it’s at home or during the school day. Don’t let them sit around and watch the grass grow. They have lots of energy and they need to let it go – at the right time and in the right place! Set them up for success.
- Don’t plan complicated projects or outings. Either as a teacher, or as a parent, you need to keep it easy on yourself! Sometimes a small, simple activity or project can be just as much fun – keep the more rigorous adventures for another time!
- Be aware of tough student transitions. Keep in mind that not all kids will be overly excited about summer holidays/end of school year. If your student/child is not so “at ease” with the transition, accept this and do whatever you can to help them through. Do not chastise them, but lead them in small, positive steps towards the approaching new phase of their life.
- Give Thanks. –Be thankful that the school year is over and that you have more time for other relaxing pastimes. Parents and teachers – take the time to thank the people who helped you throughout the school year. Never underestimate the positive aspects of a team effort for your child/student. It does really take a village to raise a child.