This year I have had the pleasure of teaching with a first year teacher. This is not my first time, but I have learned how to be the effective team teacher for a newbie. Veteran teachers can forget how frustrating and emotionally challenging it is to be a new teacher. At the end of the school year, teachers begin to feel emotionally drained and ready to end the year. So how does a veteran teacher continue to help motivate the first year without losing their own motivation for the final few days of the school year?
- Projects! Spend time with the first year teacher searching online for projects that peak their interest and relate to curriculum taught during the year. Help them plan the lessons by preparing them for what may occur. Be the voice of reason, not judgment.
- Swap classes for a day, couple days, week, etc. My teaching partner and I sometimes take turns teaching each other’s lessons for a breather of our own curriculum. Teaching another subject can give you a new zest for the last couple of weeks.
- Get out of the comfort zone. Try something new. Try that lesson you are hesitant because you are not sure what will happen. Run it by a couple teachers first so you can plan for several different outcomes that are possible. Try a collaborative assignment that is outside both of your comfort zones.
- Field trips! Students love field trips, even if it is to the park. Get out of the building. Taking the kids to something outside the school building can rejuvenate everyone! My teaching partner and I are taking our students to a history museum that aligns with the Washington State History curriculum and then heading to the local park for lunch. The kids are excited to have a couple hours away from school with each other. Not all students are able to see their friends over summer and this allows them the time to enjoy each other’s company and for teachers to see the students outside the classroom.
- Deep breathing. This one may be more out of the box for some. However, simply taking a few minutes to breathe deeply and just be present can help to diffuse the frustration and anxiety for teachers and students. It can be 1 minute, 5 minutes or more. The key is a few deep breaths and focusing on just the breath.
- Have a share day where students and teachers can showcase their personal interests. Students like to see and know interests their teachers have and love to talk about theirs. Give them the platform. Allow some more connections to occur prior to the last day.
- Reflect and experiment. Take a look back at what worked and what didn’t. If you want to try something to see if it would work better a different way, try it. Ask the student which way worked best for them. Allow students to be part of the teacher reflection of lessons from the year and get their feedback on how to make it better next time.
The end of the year brings a whirlwind of emotions for all. Some students get excited while others get upset their only consistency in life is ending. It can be difficult to remain positive and calm for. However, this time of year it is needed more than any other time. Enjoy the last few days of the school year!
I enjoy hiking in the summer and traveling around the state with my 3 children and husband.
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