The 3rd quarter can be such a tough time of the school year. You’re tired. The kids are tired. And unless you live in Florida, everyone is cooped up inside for way too long. The academics are reaching their rigorous point and….well, you know how challenging it is. You don’t need me to rehash all the complaints.
As a teacher, sometimes I felt like the only way I could survive the 3rd quarter was through snow days. 🙂 But in reality, we don’t have to just survive the year. We can truly thrive and make the most of these months.
To bring you extra advice and inspiration, I reached out to some administrators of various Christian schools. I received some excellent responses that will help you keep first things first and will hopefully give you that little boost you need to keep at it.
How You Can Survive (& Even Thrive) in the 3rd Quarter
- Visualize your students as mature adults. It’s so easy to get discouraged at our students’ current level of maturity and behavior. But we need to realize it’s just that – their current level. They are works in progress, and God is not done with them yet. Remembering this can make all the difference. It can also help to realize that change takes time – often years. You many not see the results of your hard work this month or even this year, but that doesn’t mean you’re not making a difference. [In my post “What to Do with the Student Who’s Driving You Crazy,” I tell the story of a particularly challenging student who, over the course of a couple years, made an incredible transformation.
- Reteach procedures and start preparing students for the next year. Pretend you are starting a new school year and review all your routines and procedures. If you are teaching first graders, tell them you are helping them learn how to act like they are ready for 2nd grade. If you teach a transitional grade (especially the grade before middle school/junior high), change some procedures to help them prepare for the upcoming transition.
- Use a to-do list. If you’re a list person (and if you’re not you should try it), create a to-do list each day, and prioritize the items that most need to get done. Crossing items off that list provides a feeling of accomplishment, and a list also helps alleviate your mind since you don’t have to keep track in your head of the millions of things you have to do. It’s also a great idea to put some things on your to-do list that are personal in nature and will help you refuel your tank.
- Build fun into your lessons. I know learning is always fun (wink, wink) but, seriously, this is a great time to add a fun activity to your lessons. Don’t just add an activity for the sake of an activity, though. Make it valuable and memorable, something that will really help your students grasp a concept. And don’t just do this once. Get creative in your lessons and spice them up however you can.
- Build relationships with your students. By now, you know your students, and they know you. These weeks provide a great opportunity to build deeper relationships with your students. Show them you care, and take advantage of the opportunities that will naturally arise to teach life lessons. Enjoy the time with your students. They’re why you’re teaching in the first place, aren’t they?
- Remember your calling and renew your strength. This administrator said it so well: “The main thing I try to do during this time is to encourage our teachers to be intentional about remembering their calling, lifting up themselves and their peers in prayer, and feeding their soul. During this time of year, it is so easy to try to do things “our way” and in “our efforts”. If instead we will focus on serving our students and each other out of an overflow of what God is doing in our hearts and minds, we will restore our joy and be rewarded with spring time right around the corner!”
What else helps you stay on track and navigate the challenges of the 3rd quarter? Share your encouragement with a comment below.
Special thanks to administrators from Bethlehem Christian Academy, Eagles Landing Christian Academy, Hebron Christian Academy, and North Cobb Christian School for contributing advice for this article.
Apple image by toddwendy