The Realities of the Summer Term

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Anna Wells

Anna has an MA in Applied Linguistics and came into teaching via Schools Direct in 2013. She currently works at a prep school in Greater London teaching English and has previously been an Assistant Head, focusing on assessment. She is a self-confessed football nerd and...
Read more about Anna Wells

How do you spend the last few weeks of the year?

The last half term of the year is a funny-old beast!

We go in with great expectations of fun things we can do with our class, creating wonderful memories that will be cherished forever. The reality is somewhat different!

Various factors combine to create chaos as we crawl towards the last day, vowing to make it easier for ourselves next year. I’ve summarised a few of these disasters for you to compare with what you would hope to do in this last term, versus what actually happens!

I feel that some of these may be familiar…

What we would like to do?
What we actually do?
1. Stage a Sports Day where the sun shines all day; not so much that children suffer from heat stroke but just enough that they don’t have to wear layers of clothing that will get strewn all over the field.

2. Put on a school play that leaves golden memories in the minds of children and parents alike and has no need for any props whatsoever.

3. Have reports done and dusted by the first Monday of term – the words were flowing out of the keyboard and the statements had to be edited as there was just too much to say.

4. Give children the gift of reading by wrapping a book in ribbon as an end of term present to ensure they are keeping up their comprehension skills over the holiday.

5. Start to take down displays and replace with children’s work to ensure a quick exit on the last day of term.

6. Teach some meaningful lessons where children learn a lot and are thoroughly engaged throughout.

7. Take children outside for an impromptu lesson under the lovely tree that offers shade to all.

1. Wait nervously by the laptop for the inevitable email that Sports Day has been postponed due to bad weather. Try to think of spontaneous lesson to fill the 3 hours that has been left empty by the announcement.

2. Try to ventilate the hall that has turned into a sauna for the last week of term. Prop doors open whilst simultaneously shushing children and muttering that they should ‘respect the backstage area’. Make elaborate props.

3. Still writing with the deadline looming, trying to think of that school trip in October when that child said something useful that shows the learning journey they’ve been on.

4. Realise that the class are leaving in 2 days and you have nothing to offer them for your year of learning together. Panic buy in Poundstretcher where you bump into parents also panic buying your end of term present.

5. Realise that you stapled most of the work rather than using Blu-tak. Have a work-related injury whilst trying to remove staples.

6. Spend 10 minutes calming children down. Introduce the lesson objective.  Spend 10 minutes calming children down.  Ask a question. Calm children down again. Give up and do a word search.

7. Open every window in the classroom and put a fan on. Start a queueing system for the water fountain. Start thinking about schools in different countries that are already on holiday.

Enjoy the final countdown to the summer …

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