The “up and out” energy of springtime is building – and so is the pressure of the final testing period. The end of the school year feels close enough to touch. For high school seniors, “senioritis” is epidemic and motivation for learning seems to have melted away along with the snow.
This is a demanding and often frustrating time of year for most educators. But nobody has it tougher than tutors, many of whom are engaging with kids who’ve already weathered a full day in a hot classroom.
How can tutors turn spring fever into learning excitement? Here are seven timely tips from the teaching trenches.
Bring the outside in
Since everyone’s attention is drawn to the explosion of life happening outdoors, find a way to align that focus with your learning objectives. Choose reading materials with summer themes, suggest writing about summer plans, or plan science “field work” studies in outdoor settings.
Nature’s creative magic inspires creative expression. Whether through art or technology – or both – give that expressive energy an outlet through your lesson plan.
Let kids rule
Breaking routine is a great way to motivate students to embrace new challenges. Now is a good time to offer learners choices – let them suggest topics they’re drawn to explore, or pick a new way to engage with a topic. Perhaps you can work together to create “mini lesson plans” around their inspirations.
Preview coming attractions
Once exam prep winds down, students love an opportunity to sample the curriculum for an upcoming grade, or a college-level class. This can build confidence as well as get them excited about learning adventures to come.
Provide space for reflection
The end of the school year brings with it a heady emotional mix of freedom and farewell. Creating a lesson plan that gives students a way to reflect on the academic year can be beneficial to both them and you. Now might likewise be a good time to survey your students on your time together. Take the opportunity to share with them how far they’ve come and what you see as their strengths, and also offer suggestions for what they need to work on.
Give ‘em a break
This one is a no-brainer. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and let students release stress and pent-up energy through a few minutes of physical activity. Take a break and spend a few minutes outside. Even just standing on a sunny sidewalk swinging your arms for a few minutes is a great way to ground and balance the energy in the body and feel refreshed.
Start where you are
You’re a professional, but chances are you’re not perfect. If you’re feeling stressed or frustrated by your students’ high springtime distractibility, start by acknowledging that to yourself, without judgment. Take a moment before and after sessions to ground and release tension. Doing something you enjoy with your students is another way to infuse your interaction with positive energy.
Inspiration for this post came from friends and family who are educators, as well as these blogs and articles:
Featured photo by christmasstockimages.com.