Monday, April 8, 2013

Strategies For Finishing Your School Year Strong

I learned a long time ago that most people remember the first and last thing they see or hear. That is one reason why it is important to start and finish your school year strong. Even as the school year begins the final phases, you can still develop good habits, realize better results, and go into the summer with positive momentum.
This applies to both students and teachers.
Keeping in mind the importance of a strong finish, here are a few tips to help you end the year on a positive note.
"Low Hanging Fruit"
One way to finish strong is to take a moment to recognize when opportunities are presented for you to get ahead. These opportunities may include assignments that come easy to you, extra time for help from teachers, or a fee professional development event. I use a similar strategy when doing crossword puzzles. Do the easy ones first, then work on the more challenging items. It is sometimes amazing how an item that was very difficult becomes easier after applying your strengths first.
The same applies at the end of the school year. Start with your strengths and grab the "low hanging fruit".
Frequent Review
End of the year work can seem like a long term prospect even if it is only a couple of months away. One strategy that works well with long term (or long term appearing) challenges is to have frequent reviews of progress. This may require the help of a trusted adviser, friend, or colleague. However, by tracking your progress, you can see how far you have gone and how far you have left.
Once you set a goal for the end of the year, schedule frequent reviews to stay on track.

The end of the school year is also very busy. With the coming of Spring and better weather, many outdoor trips and events are planned. Therefore, time may be more scarce that it appears. Keeping that in mind, you may begin to feel overwhelmed by the work and responsibilities facing you as you near the end of school. By having clear priorities, you can fight any anxiety that comes up and maintain focus on the issues that matter most.

Break it Down

Difficult work is more easily addressed when you have a clear sense of what to do. Breaking down these tasks into manageable chunks can clear up time for reflection and adjustment. It also helps you prevent careless errors or mistakes made simply due to lack of experience. If working on an unfamiliar or difficult task, pay close attention to what to do by breaking the item down into smaller components.
Mobilize Your Team
Every teacher and student has a team working with them. This team is made up of all the people one interacts with who has either the experience and/or desire to help. As the end of the year approaches, it is a good idea to check in with and mobilize your team. Reconnecting (or connecting with them at all) can bring a fresh perspective to your work as well as offer up ideas and inspire you to try something new. If you are finding a particular challenge very difficult, your team may be able to provide suggestions and support.
Eyes Forward

Finally, if you are looking to push for a strong finish, keep your eyes forward. There will be time to look back when the school year ends. Just like running a race, looking back can slow you down and lead to some disorientation. Set your goal for the end of the year and stay focused on that goal. Also, try to avoid moving your goal too much. After all, it is much harder to hit a moving target.
Spring brings with it the first signs of a rapidly approaching end to the school year. By using a few simple strategies, you are in great position to end yours with a strong showing.
This post was originally posted on my new blog, The Thrivapy Blog, on March 26, 2013. For more, please visit The Thrivapy Blog and check out Thrivapy's webs site.
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