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Thursday, April 23, 2015

End of Year: A Classroom Teacher's Perspective

At times, administrators might wonder about educators' end-of-year questions and concerns. Administrators might wonder because they don't see it from a classroom teacher's viewpoint. This is a list of factors that affect the end-of-the-year for classroom teachers.

Worry and Anticipation
Students and their families may worry and anticipate with regard to the year to come. It is a teachers' job to listen to and respond thoughtfully to those feelings. The more information we have about the future, the better we can respond to students' and families' worries and anticipation.

Service Delivery
Service delivery typically changes during the final weeks of school. As specialists get ready for the year to come and finalize year-end reports, their service delivery to students sometimes diminishes. This means that the classroom teacher has to teach differently since the services they relied on throughout the year for their full-inclusion classrooms have changed.

Clean-Up
When June rolls around, the classrooms are usually very hot and very sticky. This isn't the optimal environment for cleaning up the classroom. Hence to clean up as you move along is best. Yet it's important to know of summer work efforts and changes so your clean up can be targeted. It's a lot of work to clean up the typical elementary school classroom as there's furniture to move, supplies to sort and put away, and more. Custodians are very helpful, but the ratio of custodians to teachers makes it difficult for custodians to help everyone.

Summer Work, Study, and Plans
Typically teachers study, work, and take care of family during the summer. They strategically make those plans to fit nicely into the summer weeks. Therefore if in-school work goes beyond the closing days that can impact a teacher's summer work and study.

Reports
The end of the year typically means completing reports which takes time. If teachers know what's expected, they can carve out the time for those reports.

Special Events
The end of the year is filled with special events. Lead time with regard to knowing about and planning for those events means greater success.

Transition to the New Year
There are letters to write and work to do to transition students well to the new year. This also takes time and when well organized this work flows smoothly and positively affects the transition.

New Teams and Assignments
Teachers typically go in many directions once summer comes. Hence, it's great to establish new teams with some time for planning and meeting before the school year ends. This will right teachers' summer efforts and ensure that efforts to plan for the next year are not done in vain.

Supplies
Current systems of ordering and supply acquisition can be cumbersome and time consuming. It's essential that educators have the time they need to access the best and most cost efficient supplies for the coming school year. The better the time for this kind of work, the more prepared educators will be for a great start to the new year.

Day Care Schedules and Family Needs
Typically educators have to let day care organizations know ahead of time about the following year's plans. That requires knowledge of their own schedules and expectations. Also, educators with families, have to make plans related to transportation, finances, housing, and more. All of these decisions are impacted by an educator's role and expectations too. Lead time matters in this regard.

There's lots to think about from a classroom teacher's perspective at the end of the year. Since we're mostly on task with students during the school day, we use our nights and weekends to complete paperwork and other planning endeavor to end the year well and prepare for the new year.

It's good for administrators to work with teachers in this regard and to meet their needs with transparent, regular communication that encourages good work and relays the important information for a positive ending to this year and invigorating start to the next.