7 ways to keep 4th quarter from being a drag.
Right after Spring Break the classroom gets a little crazy for educators. 4th quarter usually feels like a whirlwind. Or maybe it feels like pushing a boulder up hill. Or maybe it feels like a race.
That’s the illustration I need!! 4th quarter feels like the last leg of a horse race where you are dragging the horse across the finish line.
Let’s face it, after Spring Break the students are done, and honestly, so are many of the teachers. We are all tired at this point and really want summer.
Summer isn’t so much of a break as it is a fresh start. I usually think, “If I can just get to summer, I’ll plan better and fix all of the mistakes that I made this past year. The next year will be amazing.”
The problem is even next year will have its highs and lows.
The solution to the 4th quarter blues isn’t to hold out until summer. The answer is to change your mindset.
Here are 7 ways to change your mindset for 4th quarter.
#1 — Decide to head into 4th quarter with a ton of energy.
Everyday that you walk into your classroom, enter with high energy. Even if you don’t feel that energy, fake it until you make it. Feelings follow decisions. Not only that, but your energy in the classroom is contagious. You will infect the students with your cheesy high energy. By helping them have their energy up, you will completely change the way that they approach 4th quarter.
#2 — Don’t wait until next year to start making changes.
Is there something you regret about your teaching this year? Change it! 4th quarter is not too late to make changes. Go out with a bang! One of my changes this year is treating all students the same. I feel like I have let a lot of students slide through the rules simply because I know them. I was recently challenged by a friend to not let students slide like that. The rules exist, and that has nothing to do with whether I like the student or not. Maybe the students will whine about me suddenly enforcing certain rules. That is ok. They are teenagers. They are supposed to question authority.
#3- Approach 4th quarter as a beginning and not as an end.
Instead of thinking of 4th quarter as the end of the year, think of it as the intro class for next year. A lot of times in teaching we lose steam at the end of a topic. Think about the next step for the students. Will they move to Spanish II, Calculus, or graduate and go to college next year? Treat 4th quarter as prepping them for that next step.
#4 — No regrets
Learn from your mistakes, but don’t beat yourself up over the things you have done this year. You are just a human. You are going to make mistakes. Instead, take some inventory and figure out your victories this year. It is ok to try those victories again. Repeating those victories is a chance for you to make them even better.
#5 — Take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’
Starting with high energy is easy. Keeping that energy up is hard. Even if you have a bad day during forth quarter, don’t let that get you down. You already have a lot on your plate, and not everything will go according to plan. Just keep moving forward and treat every week, every day, every class as a chance to create a new experience.
#6 — Try something new
Speaking of new experiences, always be in the habit of trying new things in the classroom. Just because it is 4th quarter doesn’t mean that you have to have everything 100% figured out. Try something new this quarter.
#7 — Say “no” to negative talk
Are your colleagues going through some 4th quarter stresses? Try spreading a positive mindset to them. If that doesn’t work, spend less time with that particular person. Negative thinking seems to be more easily contagious than positive thinking.
4th quarter can be a busy time, but it can also be the best quarter of the year. Make up your mind today to give it all your resources, energy, and enthusiasm. Expect amazing things. Trust me, it will make summer break that much better!
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If you are breathing, you are an educator.
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