The end of the year is approaching and people are working hard to make sure we aren’t just mailing it in for the last month of school. Andy Milne (@carmelhealth) discussed this on our Blab two weeks ago. His point was we get paid the same rate for the last two weeks that we do for the first two. According to Andy, our effort should remain the same regardless of what time of year we are teaching.
Jen Hogan, a principal in Alabama, started the hashtag #lastbell for much of the same reason. Here is a large excerpt from her blog:
“Let’s throw that “tradition” on it’s head. Let’s re-evaluate the influence we have on students’ lives. Let’s all join together as an education community to celebrate the time we have left with students. Because, whether it’s August or May, every moment we have with students is valuable.
Starting on May 2, and every weekday during May, the Voxer group for Women in Educational Leadership is leading a movement on social media to celebrate those who teach until the last bell. This movement includes school leaders, classroom teachers, counselors, and support staff, because in a school, we’re all a part of the group that influences children’s lives. We want you to join us for this incredible movement using the hashtag #lastbell!
Let’s celebrate those who bring it in May! It’s easy… just snap a picture, share a quote, and more to let the world know about those people in your school who make a difference for others. You can share this on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Periscope, and/or your blog. Be sure to use the #lastbell hashtag, since the hashtag will be the “hub” for sharing our celebrations!” Resource link
The irony of the situation is that my students are the happiest they have been all year. The teachers are the ones with the burnout. Why are the students so happy? Reason number one is that the weather is changing in New Jersey. The students are playing outside for recess more often now. The movement combined with the sun is making a huge difference. The benefits of recess are so numerous that a school in Texas is giving their students 4 recesses a day!!
Another reason my students are so happy is that there are a ton of field trips planned for the end of the school year. When the students are able to make connections outside of the classroom that is where we succeed as teachers. This begs the question why don’t we do more learning outside of the classroom. I know field trips cost money but that doesn’t mean that is the only way to learn outside the classroom. We can take walking tours, team up with local businesses to see how they operate, or simply learn outside. We can use GAFE outside without a wifi signal and it will automatically synch when we enter back onto the wife.
I have made it a point to take my students outside as much as possible this year. I lose some control when a plane from the local army base flies overhead, a bee buzzes past someone’s ear, or the garbage truck comes making more noise than seems necessary. This doesn’t bother me anymore. Hopefully, the students are associating being outside and moving with enjoyment. This is a huge goal of the physical education community. Create a positive association with movement and the environment. The benefits of achieving this goal are on par with teaching students to read or learn mathematics.
If you are burned out take a look at your class. See if they are burned out as well. If they are, shake things up a little. Get out of your classroom. Go to the gazebo, under the trees, or walk to the park. The time you will lose getting there will be more than made up when the students are happy to be there. This positivity will spread to you and help make you a happier teacher. Take pictures and videos of the people who are making a difference at your school and post them to #lastbell. And remember, you get paid just as much during the last week of school as you do during the first week. Thanks for the reminders Andy and Jenn!!!!
Q1. How do you to get the students out of the classroom when you teach?
Q2. How do you minimize distractions when you leave the room?
Q3. What is your favorite field trip you went on as a child?
Q4. What is your students’ favorite field trip to go on now?