It really is hard to believe that in a few short weeks, the first semester will be over. Time has certainly flown! Hopefully, things are starting to feel a little more “normal” after the last few years. This time of the semester can be pretty hectic and can often become pretty unproductive once semester exams and other requirements are complete. However, it’s important that we don’t just “coast” through the last few weeks without a focus or goal in mind. This can still be a productive time for students. We can ensure learning and growth and also enjoy the seasonal activities. Finish the semester strong with these tips.
1. Review Goals
If you haven’t looked at your goals for a while because you’ve been a little busy teaching and doing the 1001 things on your plate, take a little time now and see where you are. Check off those things that you’ve accomplished and celebrate! Cross off the things that are no longer important to you. What goals would you like to accomplish before this semester ends? Be realistic, this is a very busy time of year with end of semester testing and holiday happenings.
2. Look at Student Data
Take some time to look at student data. By this point in the year, you should have some key data to know how students are performing. Are they where they need to be? Are interventions working? Use the data to make a plan to help students reach important semester milestones. Adjust interventions as needed to ensure growth.
3. Make a Plan
Things can get very chaotic from now till the end of December with so many “extra” things going on at school and at home. You want to stay ahead of it as much as possible by sitting down with your calendar, your lesson plans and any other tools you use to guide instruction and make a plan for your days. Plan your days carefully so there is nothing left to chance and you don’t end up with days where you’re tempted to just throw on a video and “wing the rest of the day”. Everyone needs routine and structure and if you can maintain that, the final days of the semester will be productive and fun.
4. Get Organized
Clear your desk and organize all those papers now so that you won’t be the last person out of the parking lot on the last day before winter break. I know that’s over a month away, but once you return from Thanksgiving break, things are going to get very hectic. Do you have piles of grading to do? Schedule a few minutes every day to get it done. Tackling a little at a time makes the task a little less daunting and getting those grades entered before the end of semester rush will help you enjoy things a little more and stress a lot less!
5. Take Care of Yourself
Illnesses are spreading like wildfire through communities! If you’ve managed to avoid getting sick, kudos to you! If not, you’re definitely not alone. This time of year can be challenging. There are so many things to do with wrapping up the semester and all the fun events and holiday celebrations that we tend to burn the candle at both ends. Prioritize those things that are most important at school and in your personal life. Try to keep your healthy routines. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy (easier said than done in the season of amazing food) and exercise.
We think of the end as the conclusion, but did you know that the word “end” comes from the Greek word “anti” which means “before”. Think of the end of the semester as setting your students up for what’s to come next semester.
Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.