Any term that’s over six weeks in length is a struggle. They’re all getting tired, losing focus and becoming irritable – and that’s just us teachers.
Personally, I always aim to get any assessments done within the first six weeks of term. Getting the most out of students (and yourself) is really hard after this.
I think it would be beneficial to re-arrange the school calendar so that there isn’t a term longer than six weeks. We’d get a lot more out of the students and ourselves this way – all of the time focusing on learning. I don’t like that at the end of term it can feel like “getting through” rather than “making it count.”
But it is how it is – we just have to do what we can to stay inspired up until the keenly awaited last day of term. Here are some ideas for getting the most out of the last few weeks:
Take risks and try new things
This will take energy on your part, and if you’re worn down that is hard to find – but it will be worth it. Try something brand new. If you’re like me and you’ve already done the assessments then you’ve got nothing to lose – give it a try and if it works you’ve got a great lesson in the bank for next year.
Personally, at the end of term, I love being able to spend a little more time doing something creative. I don’t feel like I give students enough time in my normal lessons – every task is short and precisely timed. So, at the end of the term, I want to step back a little and give students a longer more detailed task to develop their own self-motivation. I’ve recently shared a ‘modernising a play’ project which I have used a few times over a week at the end of term.
Get the students to do the teaching
Split the next few lessons into sections and give the students part of it each to research and explain back to the class. This develops their research, presentation, and (if they work in groups) teamwork skills.
Speaking and listening
Developing on the point above – students’ ability to present ideas, to listen and question each other is important. As English teachers, we do this as part of their English Language GCSE – the more practise they give for this the better. It’s not just the student speaking that learns, those listening develop their note making, questioning and listening skills.
Celebrate students’ growth
How often do we take time to look back across the year and show students what they’ve achieved? The end of term is a great time to do this. Dig out some old assessments – could you improve this now? What do you know now that would make this better?
What do you do to stay inspired until the last day of term?