Skip to content
ascd logo

Join
June 4, 2018
ASCD Blog

End of the Year Reflections: From Exhausted to Invigorated

    Professional Learning
    Using Character-Based Classroom Management Thumbnail
      There’s no tired like the end of the school year tired…at least, until the beginning of the school year tired. Teachers across the country drag themselves across the last day finish line as visions of pool time, Netflix binging, and unlimited restroom breaks bounce through their head. As a classroom teacher, the bombardment of field trips, yearbook signings, and pressures of year-end benchmark testing would leave my brain fried and body exhausted. Interestingly enough, just shortly after the end of the school year, I would find myself re-energized and ready to start daydreaming about my next year. What would my students be like? How could I rearrange my room? What new practices could I implement that would totally overhaul and revolutionize my instruction? My days by the pool would include scrolling Pinterest for bulletin board ideas, reading articles posted on Twitter, attending professional learning sessions, and texting my teammates about new ideas for the school year. This phenomenon led me to reflect, how do teachers go from drained to invigorated in such a short period of time? How can teachers harness that summer energy and take it into the new school year? Accomplishments and successes are incredible motivators and there’s no bigger feeling of victory than making it through another school year. As educators, giving ourselves a long-term goal with short-term objectives allows that feeling of achievement to occur more rapidly, leading to increased motivation. Write these goals down at the beginning of the year, share them with anyone who will listen, and build a network of enthusiastic cheerleaders who will check in with you along the way. Celebrate with your colleagues, students, and Professional Learning Network when your objectives come to fruition. Many of our end of the year festivities are highly engaging and relationship-centered.  While not every day can be a field day, taking the components of what makes these days so exciting and bringing it into the day-to-day lessons can make learning fun for both the teacher and the students. As a learner, I find myself benefitting the most from lessons that feel relevant, give me time to process with my friends, and have an element of fun. As a teacher, I find myself enjoying my job so much more when I incorporate these components as well. I’ve found the better the students like me as a person, the more likely their behaviors and attitudes towards school will be positive. Planning lessons that both the teachers love teaching and the learners love learning makes the days more rewarding and less depleting. Make the relationships first, and the learning will always win. Summertime is self-care time. Probably the most impactful way to move from exhausted to invigorated is to take time for yourself. Teachers tend to be better caretakers than self-caretakers. During the summer teachers get more sleep, have time to cook healthier meals, and aren’t stressed with the daily grind. There’s no way to completely replicate the relaxation and time that comes with summer vacation, but our self-care shouldn’t be limited to just one time of the year. Plan and schedule time on your calendar specifically for self-care and make it a priority. Give yourself evenings without planning and grading. Take a mental health day. Schedule yourself time for hobbies, exercise, or spending time with those that make you happy. Self-care must take precedence to truly be able to take care of others and if you invest the time in yourself, I’m willing to bet you’ll find more joy and energy in your work. Language matters. A requirement feels a lot different than an option. Choosing to sit through an all-day professional development session is much more satisfying than being forced to sit through an all-day professional development session. The school year is full of “have-to” tasks and the summer is delightfully all “can-do” tasks. Requirements, deadlines, and protocols are present in all lines of work, but our attitude in our approach and the language we use to describe these tasks can completely alter our demeanor. When presented with a task during the year that seems less than appealing, try to change the language you use to describe it. The task will feel a whole lot more beneficial and you’ll feel a whole lot better. For me, reflecting on one year leads directly into planning for and anticipating the following school year. But, for now, I’ll enjoy my lazy days with my own kids by the pool and lazily scroll Twitter or Pinterest for my next great educational inspiration. 

      Tammy Martin is a member of the ASCD Emerging Leader Class of 2017, a Board Member of the Kansas ASCD affiliate, and a proud member of the Wichita Public School District. She is a District Curriculum Specialist for Elementary English Language Arts and Social Studies.

      Learn More

      ASCD is dedicated to professional growth and well-being.

      Let's put your vision into action.
      Related Blogs
      View all
      undefined
      Professional Learning
      What Is Depth of Knowledge?
      Erik M. Francis
      6 years ago

      undefined
      A Three-Step Coaching Model to Help Teachers Grow
      Jo Lein
      9 months ago

      undefined
      Short Cycle Management: When to Tighten Time Between Coaching Cycles
      Jo Lein
      1 month ago

      undefined
      “Fishbowl” Coaching: Helping Leaders Find Their Voice
      Jo Lein
      3 months ago

      undefined
      3 Ways to Shore Up Teachers’ Confidence After the First Weeks of School
      Angela Salinas-Oviedo
      3 months ago
      Related Blogs
      What Is Depth of Knowledge?
      Erik M. Francis
      6 years ago

      A Three-Step Coaching Model to Help Teachers Grow
      Jo Lein
      9 months ago

      Short Cycle Management: When to Tighten Time Between Coaching Cycles
      Jo Lein
      1 month ago

      “Fishbowl” Coaching: Helping Leaders Find Their Voice
      Jo Lein
      3 months ago

      3 Ways to Shore Up Teachers’ Confidence After the First Weeks of School
      Angela Salinas-Oviedo
      3 months ago