The final weeks of school can be some of the best days of the year. We are celebrating a year's worth of growth and we are proud of all of the accomplishments. It is exciting! With that, I challenge you to take some time to reflect on the year coming to a close and also prepare your students (and yourself) for the summer months just a few hours or days away. Face it, you have worked hard and acheieved so much. Be excited and celebrate. And, have a plan for moving forward.
1. Review Your Goals. We all started the year with both personal and professional goals and with the best intentions hopefully we achieved them. Take a few moments and reflect on what you have done this year. Here is a letter I send to my teachers along with a copy of their goal sheet. From there, it is up to them to do a review and plan for the year awaiting.
2. The Power of the Team. We are better at what we do because we work together, we collaborate. These jobs on our own would be daunting and overwhelming. As you wrap up the year, reflect on the power of your team and where things could be tweaked, refined or improved. Check out this document that we used this year with our middle level teams as the wrapped up their work. Our goal was to share with them this template and then come together to process.
3. Check the Pulse. If you truly want to know the direction of your staff, you better ask them. Literally. Don't be afraid to hear the straight talk from you teachers and seek feedback from all aspects of the school year. We should expect feedback from our staff so that we can grow and ensure we are meeting the needs of those we work with. It is essential and this is your chance as a leader to get the information you need to be that much more successful.
4. Plan for Personal Professional Growth. If you expect your students to grow in their knowledge then you better expect the same of yourself. You have put in countless hours this school year in planning and delivering best practice. Now it is time to take care of yourself. Check out this list of resources for your summer learning. Whether reading a good book, attending an EdCamp or blogging, there are some simple and powerful ways to grow as a learner.
5. Balance is Essential. The saying goes that if you work hard you should play hard. The same applies for us as educators. As you think about all of the work you have accomplished this year, take an opportunity to give yourself a break. Spend time with friends and family and power off. Find balance in the days and weeks ahead.
Remember, some of the best learning can happen away from the classroom. You have worked tirelessly to prepare your students and your staff for the next chapter in their learning. Reflect, celebrate, be purposeful and enjoy your today as you work toward being ready for tomorrow and beyond.