Here in Australia, we're approaching the last few days of the school year.
Report cards are done (well they are with our deputies for sign off but as far as your average classroom teacher is concerned they are done and dusted!).
School Christmas plays, farewells and other activities are in their final stages or have just been completed.
...and we are counting down the last few days before summer holidays!
The stress of the 'end of year' can be overwhelming when there is so much to do!
Most aussie teachers will now know what year level they will be teaching next year and what classroom they will be in. A lucky few will be on the same year level and the same room! However, most will be moving rooms, year levels and sometimes even schools! Every teacher I speak to is feeling overwhelmed and the added pressure of Christmas can sometimes send students and teachers a little crazy.
What to do?
Here are my 5 quick tips for surviving the Christmas school crazies...
1. Make a list.
Listen Santa does it so it must be good but even he has to check it twice! Try not to make lists on lists on lists as this will only compound the problem. I make a list for Christmas tasks to do at home and a list of school related jobs that need to be done.Two lists, keep them handy and check them regularly. Just the process of making a list can keep you focused on what needs to be done.
2. Plan ahead
I'm often accused of over planning but I'm a strong believer in being prepared at all times. If you don't know what room you're moving to next year, don't wait to be told. Chase the information down and if you still can't get your admin to commit to a room start to pack your things up and take them home. It's easier to do this bit by bit, something each day, than to have the stress of heaving all your teaching materials home on the last day.
3. Get your class set with some activities they can do themselves.
Once your students are busy with a craftivity then you can focus on editing report cards, packing your belonging or even preparing materials for next year. Christmas is the one time of the year when you can go to town with your Christmas crafting and nobody blinks an eye! If, however, you have a principal that frowns on crafts in the last few weeks (there are a few out there) then try some Christmas Around the World packs (Geography and Art). My students have been busy creating some Farewell Folders by themselves while I printed and laminated my posters for my new room next year. Self-directed and busy on task, while I do some last minute jobs. Perfect.
4. Take care of yourself.
Getting enough sleep can be hard when you're worrying about end of year events that fill the calendar at this time of year. However, it's essential you get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Christmas party nibbles and after work drinks can add to an over stressed body. Nothing puts a spanner in the works like getting sick when you have a million things to do.
5. Enjoy yourself
As I watched my students at their leaving party, I was touched by how much they had grown since the start of year. Teachers are really so lucky to actually see the impact their teaching has on little lives. I love this image below, it reminds me that even though we only touch their lives for 12 months, we are just one of many that help that child grow into a citizen of the world. Powerful stuff! Give yourself a pat on a back and sit back and enjoy the final few days with your 'kids' - you know you'll miss them!