Many teachers have said goodbye to the students and now face the prospect of a day or two planning time. You don’t need me to tell you that this boils down to just a few hours by the time meetings are scheduled. Many of us are operating on reduced levels of “genkiness” post the end of year rush. So, what is the best use of your limited time?
1. Organise your copying for the start of term
This may sound like a procrastination strategy, but you can guarantee that the school photocopier will breakdown week 1 term 1. If you are using the Hiragana Patch for example, print off your flashcards now and have the workbooks ready to go in a box. Print the levels tests and top up your filing cabinet or folder.
2. Prepare your welcome email to the class and parents
Many language teachers complain that they receive little parental support. Conversely, many parents complain that they don’t understand what their child is doing in the language classroom and they worry that they cannot help them at home. One way around this is to open the doors of communication week 1 with a blanket email introducing yourself to the parents of your students. Provide some background information about your own path to bilingualism and why you feel your course is so important. You can find some sample emails at: http://www.mantenresources.com.au/teachers/blog/developing-parental-allies/
We also have some free fliers you can share with the parents answering such questions as “Why should their child being learning a language?” and “How can I help my child learn a language?”.
3. Target your weakest area
We all have one aspect of our profession that we like less than other aspects. What generally happens is that we avoid that aspect with “busy” tasks all year. Then we spend our precious summer holidays catching up or worrying about catching up on this work. Be honest with yourself and begin work on that task. You don’t have to finish it – you just need to start. Even an overview or draft document will be a welcome sight when you return to school next year. If there are resources out there that can help you, buy them! You can still edit the resource to make it your own, but it might save you hours in the holidays. Popular choices for this type of support currently include programming resources, systems for teaching script and assessment tasks. Or team up with another teacher and make a day of it. Stop for lunch at a Japanese restaurant and reward yourself for your hard work. If you’re working at home, try to make it a pleasant experience. Decorate your desk with a flower or candle or plan a nice morning tea break for yourself. I try to go for a swim with my family early in the morning. This wakes me up and stops me feeling so bad when I have to return to the desk later. It doesn’t matter what you choose but the key is to make your work more of a pleasurable experience.
Well done everyone on all you have achieved with your classes this year!