The school year has a natural ebb and flow as periods of steady learning and those of frenzied energy mark the passing of time. Almost universally, however, the end of the school year is known for being hectic and stressful. Some people feel that it’s a sprint to the finish line, while others limp along just hoping to make it to the end. While adding one more thing to your plate may seem impossible, it’s important to do one thing before saying goodbye to school completely—take a moment to make an end of year reflection on the school accomplishments you and your students have made.
Wrapping up this year with clarity and a sense of accomplishment is an effective way to set yourself up for future success. Not only will you ensure you don’t leave anything undone this school year, you will create a roadmap for school accomplishments next year as well. Here are three quick actions to take.
Assess Students’ Current Skills
Before you check out of school for a couple of months or start a summer education schedule, evaluate and record the skill level and knowledge your students currently have. This will give you clarity and reveal opportunities for you to capitalize on strengths, as well as create a plan for filling any gaps. You’ll also gain insight into the school accomplishments your students made during this year, giving an oft-needed boost of confidence. Evaluating skill sets now while everything is fresh in your mind will serve you better than doing so at the end of summer.
Reevaluate Your Goals
At the beginning of school, you may have written a list of goals for your students to achieve. Looking at that list now, you may realize that some expectations were not met. Allow yourself some brief time to feel disappointed, and then use this as a teachable moment for yourself and your students.
First, it’s important to model that working through disappointments is an important life skill. Plans change, things don’t always go smoothly, and we all process information differently, leading to working at a different pace than expected. The way you handle this perceived setback can influence how your students handle their own unmet goals.
Second, use the unfinished list as an end of year reflection on realistic expectations moving forward. Perhaps you had the best intentions, but your list is just not attainable. This information can be the filter through which you make decisions moving forward regarding summer work, next school year, and beyond. Keeping a positive mindset as you go through this process will also be beneficial towards making progress instead of being bogged down by disappointment.
Celebrate the Small Wins
While you look over your goal list, recognize the school accomplishments that you were able to make and celebrate these wins, regardless of how small. It’s sometimes easy to see the big wins, such as awards, amount of curriculum covered, and milestones met. What can be overlooked, however, are the less obvious but no less meaningful successes. Recognize the acts of friendship, perseverance, and fortitude that occurred throughout the school year. Look at the individual growth you discovered while assessing current skills and share that celebration with the student. While a school year may seem long, it’s made up of thousands of tiny moments that set the tone for the year.
You’ve Recognized the School Accomplishments, but Now What?
Before deciding your next step, remember that you’re already more empowered for success after doing your end of year reflection.
- Summer study: Summer is the perfect time to bolster specific skills or fill in learning gaps that may have been discovered. Keep the pace more relaxed and tailor learning to the individual as much as possible.
- Take the summer off: Let learning happen more organically rather than having a predetermined regimen! Sometimes you just need a summer break for a fresh and enthusiastic back-to-school season. Even learning disguised as summer activities can leave students feeling like they got a break from school.
Regardless of what step you choose, trust your instincts. While there may be a lot of voices influencing your decision, only you know your students best. Trusting yourself to make the right choice for them is the best conclusion for your end of year reflection and the best course of action for future school accomplishments.
Thriving in 2022–2023 Badge
We encourage you to download the badge, share it on social media to celebrate how your family has thrived in the 2022–2023 school year, and tag your friends who you think would find this encouragement beneficial.
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