4 Tips for Finishing the School Year Strong

10:00 AM

Summer is just around the corner, friends! You've almost made it to the end of another school year. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back, do a little happy dance, pour yourself a cold marg - however it is you celebrate, you deserve it.

While some teachers may already be out for the year, there are still many who aren't quite there yet. The end of the year overwhelm is REAL. On top of still having to, you know, TEACH, now your days are also filmed with cleaning out your classroom, paperwork, report cards, and more.

Granted, these days the end of the school year probably looks a little different than most years given the distance learning that is taking place right now. It may be less overwhelming for some, and it may be a lot more overwhelming for others.

Regardless, the tips I share below will help ALL teachers end the year on a good note, regardless of your current situation.

Tip #1: Write it All Down.

I know it can feel like you have a million and one things to do before you're officially done for the year. Sometimes it can be hard to remember it all, and you may constantly feel like you're forgetting something. Not to mention the mental overload from trying to keep it all in your head!

The first thing you need to do is sit down, take a deep breath, and brain dump. A brain dump is when you write down literally everything that's on your mind. Teaching related or not - write it down. This will allow you to focus better when it's time to start tackling those tasks.

Whether you prefer pen and paper, multiple sticky notes, or an organized list on a spreadsheet, take some time to write down EVERYTHING that's on your mind. Don't worry about making it pretty or organizing it just yet - right now, we're just moving everything from your head to paper so you don't have to think about it anymore.

Tip #2: Prioritize.

Now that you've written everything down, it's time to prioritize. First, organize your brain dump into categories if needed, separating out tasks from everything else. 

Next, take a good look at the tasks that need to be accomplished and start prioritizing. These are the questions I like to ask myself to help me prioritize appropriately:

  • Which of these tasks have hard deadlines, and which are more flexible?
  • How long will each task take me to do?
  • Are there any tasks that have to be accomplished first in order for me to another task?
  • Which tasks are easiest to finish? Which tasks are hardest?

I like to prioritize first by deadline - things that HAVE to be done by a certain date take priority. Beyond that, I also look at whether or not certain tasks rely on other tasks to be done first. Obviously, I will need to accomplish the prerequisite tasks earlier. Lastly, I look at how long a task will take me, or how hard it is to complete. To each his own, but I like to complete easier/quicker tasks first, because checking things off my to-do list makes me feel successful - and feeling successful makes me more motivated to complete the other tasks.

Tip #3: Take One Thing at a Time.

Once you've prioritized, it's time to get to work. Start at the top of your list and work your way down. It's best to take it slow and take care of one item at a time. Trying to multi-task ends up being less productive in the long run because you are constantly switching between tasks, aka getting distracted. 

If something happens that road blocks you from completing a task - don't panic! Simply move on to the next item and come back to it later. 

Don't start thinking about other things that need to be done - that will just distract you from the task at hand. This is why you made a list. If you remember something that you previously forgot about, or something new comes up - again, don't panic! Add it to your list, and get back to work.

Before you know it, you'll have checked every item off your list and you'll be DONE!

Tip #4: Treat Yo'self.

Okay, this isn't really a tip so much as a celebration. Once you've completed your list, you're DONE! Buy yourself an ice cream, take a nap, float in the pool, put on a mask and socially distance yourself in the Target Dollar Spot - you've earned it. 

(If you're like me and have trouble finding ways to relax - click here for some ideas!)

I hope these tips can help you to re-focus in the midst of the end of the year overwhelm. I know it's a crazy time, but you're almost there. You've got this.

How will you be celebrating once you're officially done? Let us know in the comments!

by Kayla @ The Average Teacher

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