Year End Blues: Avoiding Nightmares While Creating Visions
Helping Children Get through the Last Few Weeks of School
With only a few weeks of school left, the challenge facing parents and teachers is to remember that the year end blues letdown can result in distractions and lowered grades among school children. The job of the adults is to avoid nightmares while creating visions.
Facing the End of the School Year
A sense of closure is rushing upon parents and teachers alike. The challenge is to remember to play out this year’s script without dropping the ball, even as families plan for the summer and next year.
Sometimes the spring fever letdown carries throughout the rest of the year, ending in bitter feelings about oneself and the school. For some students, this includes a change in summer dreams and plans to the reality of summer school.
Students Remember How the School Year Ends
Remember that students tend to retain the memory of the way the year ended. Thus it would be wise for parents and teachers to make every effort toward a relatively happy ending.
This is where the part about avoiding nightmares comes in. As Murphy’s law has shown, the right thing always needs to be done at the most difficult time.
It’s harder to keep the push and the positive going, but it’s often true that the way the year ends is the way students feel about themselves. So don’t leave (as parent supporters) before the finale, and remind your children and yourself that “It’s not over till it’s over.” Do this in all the positive ways you can dream up.
Plan for Next School Year as This Year Ends
Planning for next year involves a piercingly honest look at this year. There is one yardstick by which parents and teachers can measure both reflections and goals: Do they meet the child’s needs?
Here’s the part about creating visions! Now, when you are most tired of the school year, is the time for you to envision not only a fairly happy ending but a successful summer, and an even better year next fall. (Maybe the thud of spring fever has some value in that it will make your plans more realistic.)
Guide youngsters to maintain their academic interests until the end of the school year. Adults need to nurture this while looking ahead to the carefree days of summer and on into next year.
Ask yourself if this year was too challenging, or not challenging enough. Look at your child’s life to see if there is a balance between academic, physical, and emotional growth areas. Include this information in making next year’s choices.
Plan to Continue Learning in the Summertime
Summertime is a great time for relaxing, but it’s best not to go brain dead. Continued learning amidst an enjoyable schedule can guide your child toward lifelong learning and prevent frustration in the fall. Vacation times offer golden opportunities to motivate for present and future learning. Higher levels of thinking (why and how) can be fostered in picnic conversations. And of course, challenge yourselves as parents to make learning fun.
Some decisions (like retention) are painful and cause immediate grief now, but can be a catalyst for happiness later. Being brave and looking down the road usually pays off.
Adults, face the end of the year knowing that children will remember how it ended, plan for the next year while supporting your child as this year ends, and continue their learning in the summer. As your children squish their toes in the sands of spring, be sure to remember to avoid nightmares of spring fever while creating visions of the rapture of comfortable success.