2 Things Every Teacher Should Do In June!
First, let me say, congratulations on completing a demanding school year! It’s tough juggling all the roles you have, but you did it and another year is in the books! 💪June is your month to take back control of your life and catch up on self-care and whatever makes you happy. In the midst of whatever you plan, there are two necessary things that I urge every teacher to do this month. Both of these are necessary to close out one year and prepare for the next. What are they? (I’m glad you asked) Let me tell you!
The first thing you need to do is to rest. I know this sounds super simple but teachers have some of the worst track records with this simple idea. To rest means to be free from tension or anxiety. I don’t know you personally, but I am confident in my assumption that the last 180 days have been filled with a bit of tension and anxiety. Ideally weekends are designed to take a rest but excellent educators tend to see them as opportunities to catch up, get ahead, or sometimes just stay afloat. By the time your breaks roll around, you’re hanging on for dear life and by summers you’re just mentally beat down.
Even if you’re one of the few that takes advantage of your weekends to rest throughout the year, every teacher still needs to l catch up on rest by June because of how the end of the year drains you. For these reasons and more I hope I’ve made my case as to why you need to take some intentional time to rest.
During this time of rest, you should try not the think about work related planning, or prepping. Your mind needs time away from it all. Think about all of the things you wish you could do during the year but can’t and set a goal to do them! Here are some of my goals for my June rest period.
1. Read two books around an interest of my choice.
2. Stay up late and wake up late. (RIP to my alarm clock)
3. Go to a matinee movie.
4. Take a least one nap a day. (Don’t judge me guys)
5. Take a road trip or vacation.
Planning things that you want to do is great but also allow yourself to just go with the flow some days and let the day unfold without having any plans. Don’t feel guilty about staying in your pajamas all day if that’s the way your days goes.If you do find yourself thinking about the next year (I know how you EEs are) then try your best to let it only go as far as thinking about fun aspects like a new class theme, or bookmarking fun items you run across while scrolling on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
I forbid you from doing any hard core planning, curriculum decisions or anything cognitively demanding! Just rest!
The second thing that is necessary for you to do is reflect. Reflection is a powerful practice that is often taken for granted. Each June I participated in a brief reflective period and it was so beneficial for me closing out one completed year and preparing myself to move into another. Moving from one point to the next is best done with a reflective period of some sort. Be careful not to confuse reflection with dwelling in the past. Think of reflecting as taking an intentional look behind you so that it can be helpful with what’s coming.
We practice this daily without realizing it when driving a car. In order to get from one destination to another, the reflection of the rearview mirror is critical. It’s actually one of the main things that helps you get from where you are, to where you’re trying to go. Even when you are driving forward on a highway or street, it is a common practice to glance back in the rearview mirror at what’s behind you. Although your focus is on what’s ahead, what’s behind you can help you to better prepare for where you are going. Still not buying it? Let me expand my example of this a bit.
How many times have you been driving on a major highway preparing to get in the fast lane and after looking in your rearview mirror, you see a speed racer quickly approaching? Looking back allowed you to make a better calculated move forward. We can apply this very principle to other aspects of life – especially teaching.
Looking back briefly is often necessary, even when when moving forward.
Let me give you some reflective questions to get you started in case you need some inspiration.
Here’s a how to guide to jumpstart your thinking. These can all be answered mentally or you can write them down if you wish. Try to think beyond how things went with your students and really think about yourself here as well. (I’ll give you some examples of this)
1. What did I do well?
Example: I did well with building positive class community.
Example: I did well having a work-life balance…(said no teacher ever)
2. What do I want to do better or improve? How will I do this?
Example: I want to improve my math centers. To do this, I will continue sign up to become an EE Insider and get my three math freebies! 😉 I will also follow The Excellent Educator and other educators on TPT for ideas.
Example: I want to do better about staying late at work every day…To do better about this, I will maximize my planning and try to cut down on chatting and having “down time” with my team during my planning period.
3. What was my biggest frustration? What is in my power to do about it?
Example: My biggest frustration was with my co-teacher and I not being on one accord? I can increase communication with her and brief establish weekly check-ins to help us remain on the same page. I may also have to show her an example of things that I expect a certain way.
3. What will I continue to do this upcoming year?
Example: I will continue to incorporate technology in my classroom.
Example: I will continue to empower my students by teaching them how to have a growth mindset.
4. What do I want to do more of this upcoming year?
Example: I want to do more collaborating with other strong teachers and form a network and share responsibilities.
Example: I want to do more problem solving and inquiry experiences with my students.
5. What do I want to do less of this upcoming year?
Example: I want to less last minute lesson planning and organize a planning schedule for myself in order to stay on top of it.
Example: I want to do less complaining about what I can’t change and spend my energy on what’s in my power to change.
You will thank yourself in the upcoming months if you do these two suggested things in June. Take it from me…resting and reflection truly go hand in hand with refueling for the next year! So, what are you waiting on?!