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There are many ways to start or end the school year, but here are a few questions to ask yourself as you prepare.
What do I love about my job?
Make a list! In hard times, it’s helpful to look at what you love. Trying to maximize the opportunities to do what you love. It’s ok to take time to pause and reflect to do this. There is no hurry.
For example, during stressful times, I noticed a lot of that stress was outside the classroom, so I turned inward and focused on what was happening in my classroom. I set some rigid boundaries. I wasn’t letting it get to me if it didn’t affect my classroom or students. If it was, watch out.
I loved teaching. I loved talking about current events with my students. I loved asking them questions that really made them think. I loved researching and learning so I could be a better teacher. Those are the things I focused on.
What do I wish I could change about my job?
Make a list in two columns. Things you can change and things you cannot. We often get stuck on what we cannot change, which burns us out. Once you come to terms with the fact that there are things (like state testing) that you cannot change right now, your year can become easier.
For the things you can change, start to reflect on the processes you use, and pinpoint changes you’d like to make. You may have to do this a few times because it’s a process of monitoring and adjusting. You may have to do it throughout the year, and that’s great!
How can I make my job more efficient?
Here’s the thing, teaching can take over hours of your life if you let it. Ask yourself this question. How can I make this more efficient?
For example, I hated grading stacks and essays, so I developed a way for students to get more out of the process and leave me with a lot less grading.
If you, like me, always forget to take attendance, develop a habit of doing it while students work on a warm-up. I still forgot some days but gave myself grace and kept a note on my computer to help remind me.
Using these prompts to end the year helps as things are fresh in your mind, and you can look at them to start the year too! Focusing on what you can control in a world of unnecessary noise can help alleviate stress and anxiety.