End of the School Year Reflections

by Mandi Olson

Once again educators have stepped up to the plate and have done an amazing job teaching and guiding students during another year with unique and challenging circumstances.  Educators have again been tasked with the normal demands of supporting and teaching students while navigating the complexities of also living through an additional year of a pandemic.  I see the exhaustion on teachers’ faces every day. As we reach the end of another school year, I hope that teachers can see and feel the immeasurable impact that they have on the learning lives of the students they have worked with this past year.

As I walk the halls of my school, I see students who love learning with their teachers.  I see teachers who make learning reading engaging and fun each day.  I see students participating in challenging math lessons where they persevere while solving difficult real-world problems.  I see students conducting science investigations where they ask questions, make observations, and collect data. I see art and music being created by excited and happy children.  It is because of the teachers’ hard work and dedication that students get to participate in engaging and relevant learning experiences each day.  

As an educator, I know how difficult the past few years have been for teachers.  As we are ready to end another challenging year let’s provide students the opportunity to share what they have learned with each other.  At the end of each year, I, like many other teachers, try to provide different culminating activities to help students showcase what they have learned throughout the year.  One example is having students create concept maps of all the different content that we have learned.  While working in groups, students can break down the big ideas or concepts that they have learned and then connect the skills within the standards and make connections showing how the skills build upon each other.  Another idea is to have students be the teacher and create a lesson plan to teach the class one of their favorite things that they learned throughout the school year.  This helps students transfer their knowledge and understanding of different skills and content as they teach other students.  Students can also show additional knowledge of different content by creating a slideshow, movie, or writing about all the things they know about a topic.  This allows students to choose topics relevant to them which can help students become more engaged in the learning activity.

I know that many teachers feel exhausted and tired at the end of the school year and this year is compounded with the overwhelming exhaustion from the ever-changing needs of students as a result of the pandemic.  Teachers continue to make a huge difference every day to students and I continue to be proud to be an educator working to make a difference in the lives of the students we serve.  As difficult as it has been the last few years in our profession, I know that the work we do is vital and as we continue to manage the difficulties we face, I know that we can meet the challenges if we stay student-focused and work together to make decisions based on what works best to increase student learning. 

Mandi Olson

Mandi Olson Mandi Olson, Ed.D, is an elementary educator who currently works as an instructional coach in Utah. She utilizes her fourteen years of knowledge and experience to support others as they further develop their educational expertise. She will provide practical insight to help teachers navigate the complex roles and responsibilities of an educator.