Though many people might assume that teachers are all laid about the staff room joking before a half-term draws to a close, in actual fact, my experience of this in both primary and secondary, has been a crazy rush to tie up loose ends, get organised and basically do as much as you possibly can to limit the amount of school work to be avoided in the school break.
Teaching can be truly exhausting: even after a short half-term, you can find yourself crawling out of bed on a morning, clinging to a slither of hope that in a week’s time you’ll be binge watching ‘Vampire Diaries’ under the pretence of ‘learning to understand your students on a deeper level.’ If you do battle through the tiredness however, then the last week of any term can be a lovely time to enjoy your craft, really listen to your students and pat yourself on the back for every little thing that has gone well thanks to you.
Here are my top tips to squeeze every bit of happiness out of your last few days of the year:
- Be mindful in the classroom – Be present in the moment when you’re teaching. Forget the ‘to do’ list. Notice everything about the students that you’re teaching – their curiosity, their kindness, their humour…
- Enjoy conversations with the kids – Ironically, we’re often so busy teaching that we don’t have time to really talk to the students we teach. In this last week, when you’re potentially giving them ‘nice work’ that they can get along with, take the time to ask them what they’re doing over summer and just enjoy the chit-chat.
- Take stock of your achievements – My dad always told me that teaching was a ‘thankless profession’; at this time of year, take the time to at least pat yourself on the back for everything that you’ve done over the course of the year.
- Give thanks to those around you – I’m a firm advocate of ‘selfish gratitude’; being nice to people who you’ve taught/worked with/worked for or bossed around makes them and you feel really, really great. A card or a mini cactus, or both, go a long way.
- Get yourself to the staff room – In so many schools now, staff rooms are more like crypts, with only the odd ghost floating around with a lukewarm cuppa and a 70s text book. Take the time now to actually have a lunch break and have a laugh with your colleagues.
Have a great last week! 🙂