It’s a wrap-up time everybody!
Some of you may be reading this while already enjoying summer holidays. I haven’t had that luxury yet, unfortunately, but rest assured – I am counting down 😉 while planning my final sessions with students.
I know we work at different organisations, and our schedules and curricula are not always the same, but I am sure there is something for everyone below to be found useful. Here are some ideas on how to organise the last weeks of the term to feel fulfilled, as well create a positive atmosphere for our students. This time is usually busy, so I hope this list will help you remember the important things and decide on priorities:
- First things first. Monitor and offer final revision sessions/exercises for students who have to re-sit exams. Keep them motivated, which, I agree, can be difficult, as other students have passed all exams and feel more relaxed. Ask those high flyers to support their classmates the way you may not be able to, eg. using their native language to clarify exam rules and procedures.
- Survey time! Just for our personal use. This qualitative feedback can inform our future planning a lot! Create a list of questions you would like to know the answers for and design a short questionnaire – not necessarily a paper-based. A group discussion or an interactive Kahoot survey may be interesting (and saves paper). Survey Monkey or Google Forms are useful too. Ask what students liked, perceived useful or important. Don’t be afraid and ask honestly what wasn’t good, done well or what was simply boring, and why students found it that way. The more you know, the easier it is for you to adjust.
- Do final internal assessments and tests. Offer individual and constructive feedback and discuss the completion and achievement of SMART goals set by and for students in their ILPs. This is where building rapport continues (especially when you revisit goals during the academic year). When doing exit interviews offer personalised feedback to each student. Avoid clichés such as “You are very nice” or “Great job” and comment only on performance/effort (not personality) and processes (not natural abilities). Talk about the distance travelled. Link your feedback to students’ SMART goals and be specific and authentic. It is really important that we also comment on additional skills like social skills/behaviour (eg. attendance, punctuality, initiative), teamwork, ICT or employability. All the time, make students feel appreciated, important and there will be a high chance this will motivate them to continue their learning in the future. Your tone and body language should be genuine and positive. Below you will find a helpful list of expressions you may want to use in order to elevate your comments. I have taken ESOL/ESL/EFL students into consideration and have added a visual representation of students’ journey that can be useful when speaking to pre-entry/beginner level students (laminate it for a multiple use). Every organisation has its own set of procedures to follow. Ensuring that all processes are completed appropriately provides intelligence for the next year or term, making our lives easier. Remember that funding for next years will be based on this year’s results, so, really, make sure the data input is immaculate and standardised.
- Arrangements time! Always provide your students with a clear timeline in relation to when and where to come back or what to do to enrol next year. Inform your students about re-enrolment dates and requirements, confirm if students’ contact details on the system are valid.
- You may have thought that by point 5 I have forgotten about this one, but sorry, here it is: Tidy-up time! Believe me, it’s better to do it now, you will get back to a nice and tidy office/classroom in August to start afresh. Archive, store (for the next year), share, recycle or bin. A confidential waste bin is our friend here ;-).
- Notes time! Go through your notes and delete/update points achieved. Just because every teacher is very prone to forget things when on holiday, and your notebook and pen will not be sunbathing with you: make a list of ideas to be applied next year. Start new lists for “the future you”. Write down all those wonderful ideas now! You may not remember them in September…
- Encourage collaborative work by planning and arranging trips & visits, parties, charitable events for staff and students.
- Arrange careers advice sessions or signpost students to get relevant employment-related information. Some of our students may consider moving on to full-time employment. Let’s support them with that!
- Say goodbye to students in a motivational way. Use pictures if you have taken any, recall positive moments, show some previously completed work. If possible, mention achievements of each student in class. Show and discuss the distance travelled and the progress made. You may decide to hand out some certificates of achievement. Wish your students luck and encourage them to continue their hard work. Be open and say what you have learned from your students, this will show that teacher-students interaction works both ways.
- Behind staff room doors play Avoid-I’m-tired-phrase-Game (make your own rules). Every one of us is tired, no doubt about it! This time of the year is best to stop repeating it as the holidays are just round the corner! Teachers are tired so they start holidays soon. Nothing else can help it better.
- Reflect on you professional performance this year. Yes, your performance. I know you are a great teacher, but believe me, you can be even better next year! Go out of your comfort zone (choose one particular area at a time) and see the difference!
- Don’t forget about your-after-hours-self. Start a holiday list (more details in my previous post) to make sure you will make the best out of it!
While some of us are still planning and printing certificates, I would like to award all of us with this certificate of achievement ;-). Well done guys!
Have I missed anything? I’ll better start wrapping-up too! Good luck!