Longer days are here, brighter sunshine and warmth on our backs. Summer is certainly a great season.
But with it come a lot of stresses and strains for teachers. Students have exams on the horizon, it’s been a long year (or few years with the impact of the pandemic), and there are many distractions (we all remember how we would have rather have been outside playing or hanging out with friends in the park). How do teachers keep students and pupils motivated for the summer term and find that last boost of energy to get through to the end of the year?
Break it down
Everyone loves to tick stuff off and see their progress. By setting both individual and class goals to help with organising homework, scheduling and daily habits, it’s easier for everyone to keep on top of things and see progress. A big goal like ‘get a B in my GCSE’ can be very overwhelming. Breaking this down into things like raising marks in each assessment, spending 15 minutes every day on the bus reading over notes, or breaking down in each subject into modules can all make it seem less intensive. Creating a tick list of things to do, and building regular activity and habits into the plan makes it seem far less intimidating.
Build self care into the plan
Yes you want students to do well in their exams, but not at the detriment of mental health. Student mental health is a big issue, and studies show that more and more are struggling and not being . Burnout is no good for anyone. Encourage students to take regular breaks and build self care into their revision plan. But so is fun! Maybe it’s about having a pizza night with family and taking an evening off, or taking time to watch a trashy TV show every evening. Or try meditation apps like Headspace or Calm, or even take a five minute meditation break in class.
Have something to look forward to
Whether it’s a holiday with friends for older students, or a day at the beach for younger pupils, or something in between, encourage young people to plan something nice for the summer holidays, so that they have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It might be a nice dinner at home, or a day exploring local museums, or a nice walk. It’s important to make sure that there’s a breather at the end of all the exam pressure.
Remember to sleep
There’s no clear cut rule, but young children need anything from 9-12 hours a night, and teenagers 8-10. No one can do great work if they are exhausted. And the same goes for you as a teacher. Exhaustion is no good for anyone. Don’t overwhelm pupils with homework that will mean studying late into the night. Of course everyone needs to be at school at a certain time, but encourage consistent bedtimes that allow for a good sleep - and it’s ok to have a lay in at the weekend if that’s what your body needs!
Remind yourself of why you do this
Yes there are targets to hit and standards to meet and exam results to attain. But at its core teaching is about developing the next generation to be the best they can be. Sometimes bearing this in mind and celebrating the small wins, whether it’s a student opening the door open for another, or someone saying thank you, can help keep you going when things get tough.
You're doing a great job!