This year Miami-Dade County Public Schools start Spring Break at the end of the third quarter which will be March 22, 2013. Nice! When we return, we have two weeks left until FCAT takes over our lives and the rest of the time to tie up loose ends. As a teacher, I really feel that FCAT and any end of the year exams should be done AT THE END OF THE YEAR! Makes sense right? Not to Florida.
So, what can we all do to make the last nine weeks smoother, effective and productive?
Here are 5 suggestions. If you know more, please add them in the comment section.
Get Organized- Your students or your children, if you’re the parent, should take the time during Spring Break to make sure that they have an organized notebook for each class and enough school supplies to last them until the end of the school year. It’s going to make everyone feel better. Trust me on this one.
Why? Because by the end of the year, teachers shouldn’t have to hear from the students “I don’t have something to write with”, “I need paper”, “ I can’t return my textbook because I can’t find it”. I know that when I hear that at this time of the year, chances are the conduct grade will be somewhere below a C. It’s the END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR! If they aren’t with it by now, then when?
Communicate– It should really be the parents who reach out to the teacher by the end of the year to find out how little Bobby or Nicole can improve their skills during the summer so he/she can be ready for the next school year. Unfortunately, parents don’t always do that, especially the parents whose child needs it the most. But parents in denial are for another topic. So if parents won’t reach out, it’s up to us. How? Very easy. Make a checklist of the areas that pertain to your teaching subject.
For example: I teach Language Arts. So my checklist would have the following: reading comprehension, spelling, penmanship, verb agreement, organized notebook, and punctuation.
It can be as brief or lengthy as you want. Check off the ones for each student and have the students bring it home to the parents. If the students are in high school, there is little chance it will go home but perhaps the students might want to know for their own sake. ( Yeah! It can happen that students want to learn and improve for their own benefit without adult supervision. Well, it can!)
Don’t Play Catch Up– I’ve seen many people including myself fall into this trap. It’s the end of the year and we want to cover everything. As teachers, we never feel we have enough time with the students to teach them what they need before they move on to the next grade. But is it really smart to shove all of this information so quickly at the end of the year?
Wouldn’t it be wiser and more effective if as teachers, we review everything we taught them throughout the year? I’ll be doing that the last two weeks of school because usually the last two weeks are filled with school nonsense. I know that the word “nonsense” isn’t politically correct but hey, I’m honest.
Get Real– This is for the parents and the students. Time to get real. Please don’t go to the teacher to ask for extra credit or a chance to make up work so that the student can pass because he/she has had straight F’s since the beginning of the year. It’s time to get real. Why should the teacher have to do all of this extra work because little Bobby or Nicole chose to do nothing the entire year? This always baffles me.
Instead, get real about the situation. Make the plans for summer school or virtual school or tutoring or no vacation time because of this situation. One time, a student of mine who had failed my class didn’t go to summer school because the parents wanted to go on vacation. YUP! So the child had to repeat my course. There go priorities!
Give Thanks –Be thankful that the school year is over and that you have more time for your second or third job if you’re a teacher. Thank the people who helped you throughout the school year. (This applies to teachers, students and parents)
Here’s a little tip: Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up. Time to thank those teachers who have taught your child while you were at work or home or at the gym or wherever. Thanking people goes a long way. As teachers, we can’t expect a decent salary but saying thank you can be priceless.
Which ones do you think you can apply?