As a teacher, the last day of school can be bittersweet. You have probably been counting down the days for school to be over since you returned from spring break. The students have been antsy and unruly. The to-do list truly seems never-ending. But then suddenly it’s here and the day passes so quickly and just like that the entire school year is over in the blink of an eye.
Our students become our family and it can be hard to send them to a new teacher in the next grade or to worry if they are going to be fed lunch everyday over the summer. We get to know their ins and outs, their likes and dislikes, their personality to a T, what time of day they are tired, about their family life and what motivates them. We also learn some deep truths about our students throughout the school year. Things such as knowing that Sam is going to come back to school a bit sad on Mondays because he was at his dad’s house all weekend and he misses him. But you now give him that extra hug that he needs when he arrives at school. Will someone else do that over summer? Emily always forgets an afternoon snack but you have been providing her one the entire year and no longer need to add pretzels to your family’s grocery list. Dominic needs a bit of extra practice on his spelling words about 30 minutes before the test and you have been pulling him aside to work on that on Fridays. Will next year’s teacher give him that courtesy? Being a teacher is overwhelming-you are filled with so many emotions everyday- love, determination, kindness, sadness, motivation, worry…
Our job is to teach but we in turn do so much more for our students. Sometimes one year with them just isn’t enough. Sometimes you develop such a bond that it can be hard to let them spread their wings and fly on to the next grade. You want to encourage them to grow but also protect them at the same time. It’s a difficult place to be in sometimes.
Here are some ways to help you get through that bittersweet last day of school:
- Save all of your sappy writing for a different day; not the last day of school.
- Make sure you give each student a hug and tell them how proud you are of them.
- Write some notes to their new teacher that can help them excel in the next grade level.
- Take lots of pictures to remember this class.
- Tell your students to email you if you want to keep in touch over the summer.
- Make sure they know that they can come say hi to you next year.
- Remind them of any strategies you have been working on with them so that they can use them again next year.
- Keep busy on the last day with hands-on activities like this End of Year Doodle Memory Book.
- Have fun with them and smile!
You might also want to check out 5 Tips to Help Survive the End of Year Craziness.