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as inspiring your creativity and providing practical ideas you can’t wait to implement in your own settings!


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4 steps to help you effectively

draw your school year to a close

When the school bell rings on the final day, the temptation is to run for the hills on the heels of the kids as quickly as possible without a backward glance.


You’ve had an incredibly long year (each year seems to feel longer).


You’re incredibly tired (you wonder how you managed to reach the end).


And now it is the summer holidays and you want to reap the rewards that you have quite rightly earned.


It is your time, now.


However, there are two issues with the summer holidays.


First, they are here too quickly (bet you didn’t see that issue coming!). What I mean by this is that you’re at school and then suddenly, you’re not. It’s like falling off the edge of a cliff or doing an emergency break. You were in motion and then all of a sudden, you’re not. This disconnection can be quite disorientating. 


The other issue with the summer holidays is that they are over in a blink of an eye! It’ll be September before you know it. And that isn’t a welcome thought either! Sometimes, 6 weeks doesn’t feel long enough for switching off, resting and then getting back into gear for the new school year.


Despite these issues, there are steps you can take now to ensure you reflectively close on this school year, transition to your summer holiday comfortably and still feel ready for when September does arrive.



1) Remember your goodbyes


Every time I visit my family, the goodbyes are long and full of love. My brother regularly says, “toodle-pip, toodle-pop and toodle-oo!” It helps us all to remember that we love and are loved.


And the same should be said for school.


There will be pupils you will say goodbye to, colleagues who are moving on. Perhaps you are the one moving on this year.


Then there is the fact that people you see day in and day out will be absent from your lives over the summer.


There is an aspect of mourning that occurs at the end of the school year although, it may not seem that way.


So, take time to say goodbye to those that are important to you. If there is a colleague who you feel especially close to, promise to arrange a meet-up during the summer. Thank those that have helped you throughout the year and acknowledge the positive impact that you and your colleagues have had on the community of your school.



2) Reflect on the year that has been


Within a couple of days of the end of school, find a quiet moment to reflect on your school year:


  • What have been the highlights?
  • What have been the lowlights?
  • What influence did you have over these moments?
  • What would you like to carry forward into the new school year? How might you do this?
  • What would you like to leave behind in this school year?

When we train to become teachers, we are encouraged to be reflective practitioners but the busyness of our days can often get in the way. So, take this time, whilst it’s still fresh in your mind to briefly reflect so that you can put the year to bed and begin to picture how you would like next year to go instead.

3) Reflect on the impact teaching has had on you


Teaching is an all-rounder. It uses your physical energy but more significantly, your mental and emotional energy too. Where you have experienced a mental or emotional drain, do take time to reflect on these. Where a particular class, student, colleague or even parent has been a source of mental or emotional drainage, do explore what happened, what influence you had on the situation and what you would like to do differently next time (use the question prompts above to help with this).


Once you have done that, use the following mantra, based on the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono, to release any mental or emotional burdens you have been experiencing.


Once you have done that, use the following mantra, based on the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono, to release any mental or emotional burdens you have been experiencing.


“I forgive you. I thank you. I am sorry and I love you.”


Remember to also use this mantra for yourself too. You are worthy of forgiveness, recognition, apology and love for any mistakes or errors you have made too. Please remember to give yourself this gift.


4) Leave yourself a roadmap for September


The likelihood is that you have a few things that you’d like to achieve before September. Perhaps you ran out of time this side of the summer holiday or you ran out of steam. Both are okay. It’s normal to have things left over.


Before you completely switch off for the summer though, make sure you have left yourself clear instructions for your return to school.


Leave a clear list of what you have done, what you are part way through and what is still to be done.


By doing this, you are reducing any feelings of overwhelm or stress later on in the summer holiday.

 

 It is incredibly tempting at the end of the school year to sack off everything to do with school and close the door on school for the summer. However, by taking these small steps now, you can experience a sense of achievement as you look back on your year and reduce the chance of stress in the future.


Many thanks to Gemma Drinkall for writing this article. 


Gemma Drinkall is an Educational Wellbeing Coach, helping middle leaders to create clear boundaries so that they can thrive in teaching. Discover more about her work here: www.headsphere.co.uk

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