05 Apr Dealing With End-of-the-School-Year Burnout
The school year can feel like a 10-month marathon for teachers, students and parents alike. But the finish line is in sight! As the last day of school approaches, you have a lot going on. As you wrap up school work, tests, and activities, all while making summer plans, you can get burnt out. It can feel like you don’t have enough gas left in your tank to get there. End-of-the-school-year burnout slows you down.
Fortunately, there are ways to combat this feeling. If you find yourself low on energy as summer break approaches, or your kids are struggling to get out the door in the morning, take heart. A few small changes can get you through those final weeks of the school year.
Stick to Your Routine
When you’re this close to the end of the school year, there’s no reason to make big changes. As the year wears on and fatigue sets in, you’re more prone to forgetfulness. Rather than derailing your morning routine because you thought you’d try a new route to school only to hit unexpected traffic, stick with what works. The end of school can be stressful enough. Don’t add self-inflicted hurdles.
Give Your Child Another Reason to Smile
The school years feels even longer to a child than an adult. Kids get up early, manage homework and school projects and maybe after school activities, too. As they happily check off the final days of the school year, offer encouragement. Include an encouraging note or an extra treat in their lunch. Or, as schools often have shorter days near the end of the year, plan a fun activity for after school either as a surprise or as something for them to look forward to.
Break Heavy Workloads into Smaller Parts
For older students, end-of-the-school-year burnout tends to come from the sheer workload. Kids get overwhelmed with so many assignments to complete before the semester ends, plus final exams. Lend them a hand. Work together to break down their workload into reasonable chunks. Don’t look at a list that needs be done by the last day of school. Instead, focus on a shorter list just for the week ahead. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your child’s school for advice to get over this final hump.
Get Creative to Keep Students Engaged
It can be tempting to just schedule a bunch of “free periods” or “free days” once you’ve finished teaching the curriculum for the school year. However, the disruption will only make those final days seem longer. Instead, plan some end-of-the-school-year activities for your students. It will keep the students engaged, and you’ll have to spend less time playing monitor, depending on the grade level you teach. If possible, spend time outside with them and take advantage of spring weather!
Hold a “Clean Up” Day
After 10 months, your classroom probably looks a little less tidy than on the first day of school. It’s probably fair to assume your students had a hand in how the classroom looks now. With that in mind, ask them to help you reorganize and clean it. When the final bell rings, you want to get out of there as soon as you can. So rather than wait until after the last day of school to put your classroom back in order, use the last couple of days while your students are still around to get most of it done. They can help you put books back in order, de-clutter cabinets or drawers, or simply dust. Every little bit helps!
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
When you spend 10 months caring about the well-being of a classroom full of children or young adults, it can be easy to forget about your own self-care. When you don’t make your health a priority, you are even more likely to burn out by the end of the school year. So, as you navigate the piles of quizzes, exams, and essays you have to grade, take some time out for yourself. Get some exercise, eat healthfully, get to bed a reasonable hour and take part in whatever activities help you release your mental stress. You and your students will all benefit.
End-of-the-school-year burnout is common but can be managed. It’s simply a matter of preparing for it. Parents, be there for your children the best you can, whether it’s helping them get through their final assignments or keeping them focused ruing that final stretch. And teachers, the more you can keep your students engaged the last few days of the year, the faster that final bell will ring.