This is the classic time of the school year when students begin to let their eyes wander from books to sun-filled windows.
Wait. Mrs. Ferrari. That can happen at any point of the calendar!
Too true, too true. However, at least there seems to be incentives to be on their best behavior. By the time the end of May rolls around, many factors can build up so high for students to climb on in their anarchical behavior.
1. Higher temperatures make it easier for students to picture themselves outside.
2. Extreme Fussiness Syndrome (EFS) 9 months of lectures, taking notes, studying, reciting and drilling, writing essays, time-outs, talks in the hallways, trips to and from the principal’s office to hear the same scoldings and reminders of how today is the first day of the rest of your educational journey. Oy!
3. Learning how to play by each teacher’s rules and how to push the right buttons to get a reaction comes too naturally after 9 months of practicing.
4. Teachers let their standards slack because WE’RE daydreaming about that cruise or day-long coffee sipping and novel reading summits on the hammock in the backyard.
5. “What more can they do to me?” mentality.
So what is a teacher to do to maintain a sense of order and mental competency during these last few weeks of the school year?
Dos and Don’ts To Maintain Order in the Classroom
1. Do maintain order and high standards; this is still quality time in the classroom and keep your lessons rigorous.
2. Don’t be that teacher who begins the “End of the Year” party too soon. This will lead to students thinking that they can slack off in all of their other classes.
3. Don’t let the bad behavior get to you. If the students see that they can fluster you, they’ll take advantage and have something to use against you in their game of “Stir the Pot to Avoid Actual Work.”
4. Do reward your students for their attention to their school work and dedication. It takes everything for some of the little darlings to make it through 6-7 class periods a day when they want to be outside.
5. Do something fun! Save an interesting , intriguing, or hands-on unit for the end of the school year. In my own high school experience, my Psychology teacher saved the “Serial Killer” unit for May; I teach “Romeo and Juliet” and “Othello” this time of the year because, believe it or not, the kids get into it and there are many activities that get them out of their seats and their imaginations flowing.
6. Don’t forget why you and they are there: you’re there to teach, they’re there to learn, and you’re in this partnership and need one another.