Yes…that’s right. I’m advocating for educators to start thinking about the end of the school year now! Not in the way you might be thinking though.
I’ve been doing some searching for information regarding the impacts of transitions on student performance and behavior. Office referrals generally increase prior to any school vacation that we see. You always hear that “full moon” comment as you walk through the halls, but I think it is well beyond the lunar cycles and more to do with a sense of loss and change that hits our students on the eve of any break.
In a recently posted article called Do Teachers Contribute to Students’ End-of-Year-Syndrome? By Teachers.Net News Desk (http://teachers.net/gazette/wordpress/editor/teachers-do-you-contribute-to-end-of-year-syndrome/) points are made about the annual pack up of classrooms and impact this has upon our students and learning. They also ask some great questions:
Do we bring this upon ourselves by planning activities that over-stimulate or distract students from curriculum goals? Do we start packing up classrooms too soon, causing students to believe that the year has in effect ended, along with their obligations to perform school tasks and exhibit appropriate behavior? Can we justify the amount of time we “lose” because of end of year activities? (http://teachers.net/gazette/wordpress/editor/teachers-do-you-contribute-to-end-of-year-syndrome/)
Ask yourself the following:
- How are your field trips distributed throughout the year? Heavy on one end of the calendar? Which end?
- When do you start seeing posters coming down and boxes going out of classrooms?
- What is the reaction of students when these things start happening?
- What’s the difference between your programming and planning pre-vacation and post?
The bigger question for me is around programming. As educators we often discuss and share the lack of time that we have with students to accomplish instruction. Should we be considering an audit of how we use our time throughout the year. It’s not just summer vacation that prompts these questions…we often see this prior to other vacations. Programming lightens, homework decreases and we start the vacation process.
Considering the impact of this upon our students before we start the year may help us support learning for a full year!