2019-2020 will go down in history as a ‘special’ school year, for reasons we know all too well. Classrooms are empty, most schools are still closed and there are no in-person celebrations of success. However, here are some ways to make our goodbyes memorable:
‘Why I loved being your teacher’
You could make a list of 10 reasons why being your students’ teacher was so special. You could even personalise it for each student and email it to them and put on Zoom or any other platform(s) you’ve been using for distance learning.
60 days of fun
You could encourage summer study by giving parents ideas for different activities: some more academic, some more fun. The combination will ensure that students keep up with their schoolwork while balancing their summertime with lots of fun time. We published two posts on Free Teaching Materials as well as Free Books ready to download. You may access them here: https://www.facebook.com/EEE-Awards-Excellence-in-Expat-Education-2239966932930108/
Create positive expectations for the new school year
Although things seem to be a little uncertain, we can look with optimism to a new school year. Encourage our students to create wish lists, introduce themselves to the new teacher, set some goals together and make a friends list. These are all things you can do to help them stay positive about going back to school soon.
Create a memory book
Some schools present their students with memory books, while others expect the students to create their own. If your teacher doesn’t not know where to start, here is a link to a free online book you can create and share online: https://simplebooklet.com/index-sb-pricing.php
‘Thank you, teacher’
Teachers have worked really hard under unprecedented circumstances and they deserve a thank you note. As everything seems to happen online these days, maybe you could take a picture of your child holding a handwritten thank you note for their teacher and make a collage of them. As a teacher myself, such notes reinforce the idea that my job has a great purpose.
Take time for self reflection and setting personal goals
It’s very important to be able to understand what you did right while teaching/learning online and plan how to do it better in the coming school year, should that transpire. You might want to brush up your tech skills, experience with different platforms, or maximise the use of existing platforms to look as professional as possible.
Make a time capsule
This can be used either for teachers or students. Parents might want to get involved as well. Write notes, include memories of this special school year and sign a date and time when it should be opened. This is my all-time favourite activity.
Make a list of things parents should know before starting X year
This is to help you build meaningful relationships with the parents and community. What things should they consider for the next school year? Include summer academic objectives to ensure students stay in gear, departing and arriving students transition emotionally, ways you’re going to ensure they are integrated, develop physically, etc. If you stay with the class, you might want to include differences between this school year and the year ahead, to help parents and students understand what to expect and build excitement for the wonderful times ahead.