I just uploaded a post where I reflect on this closing school year. And now I’m posting about next school year? What is wrong with me???
I know the end of the year is fast approaching. We’re all thinking ahead to sleeping in, drinking quality coffee, and enjoying personal space, quiet, and relaxation. But, before you dive into your well-deserved summer, do yourself a favor and think ahead to next year.
Observing and learning from fellow educators is an invaluable practice. If you did not do enough this year, plan to do more next year. Engaging in peer observations and professional discussions can inspire new ideas and foster a culture of continuous improvement. By sharing successes, challenges, and innovative teaching techniques, we can collectively enhance our instructional practices and provide the best learning experience for our students.
Grade Level Team Meetings:
Meetings are terrible. But, the only thing worse for your grade level team than meetings is no meetings. Regular grade level team meetings are essential for effective collaboration and alignment. When you don’t have these meetings you end up with more prep time, but you also end up in silos all heading in different directions. Team meetings provide an opportunity to discuss student progress, share resources and instructional strategies, and address common challenges. By working together, we can develop cohesive and vertically aligned curricula that promote student growth and achievement.
Modeling Respectful and Professional Behavior:
How did you interact with your peers this year? Did you mock them (or their courses) in front of your students? Did you stand around in gangs and make fun of administrators, students, or cafeteria food? Did you interrupt other classes? Did you keep students in your room (to finish an assessment or to chastise them) and make them late for their next class? In an attempt to generate street cred, did you inadvertently undermine the values your school is trying to impart on students? For the upcoming school year, how will you model respectful and professional behavior in front of students? Our actions and words have a lasting impact on young minds. Be intentional about demonstrating kindness, patience, and professionalism, right from the beginning of the school year. We create an inclusive and positive learning environment that fosters mutual respect and encourages students to embody these values themselves.
Fostering Cross-Curricular Connections:
This year, did you seek opportunities for cross-curricular connections? Learning is not confined to isolated subjects, but rather its an interconnected web of knowledge. Before the end of this school year, go to your colleagues and start brainstorming ways in which you can provide your students with a more holistic and meaningful learning experience.
Balanced Assessment Calendars:
Take the time to reflect on assessment at your grade level. During this school year, did students sometimes have two or more assessments on the same day? Did you and your colleagues schedule a ton of culminating tasks for the last week of the semester? How can you provide your students with a more balanced assessment calendar? Don’t wait for this to solve itself (it won’t). Reach out to your teammates and think of some easy and intuitive ways that your team can share your assessment plans and collectively manage the workload placed on students.
As we approach the end of another school year, and another glorious, glorious summer, take some time to look ahead to next year. I know this is tough to do. But, the payoff will be huge – future you will be eternally grateful! Do some thinking and be intentional about sharing some concerns and ideas with your colleagues. Set the stage for a successful next year now. Together, as dedicated educators, we can make a positive impact on the lives of our students and empower them to reach their full potential.
Don’t let next year happen to you. Let’s embrace the opportunities ahead and prepare for an awesome school year!