Do Teachers Contribute to “End of Year Syndrome”?By Teachers.Net News Desk
Schools are preparing for summer breaks and teachers are lamenting that students have become more active, less attentive, and more difficult to motivate. Teachers.Net asked educators to respond to the question, “Do teachers contribute to students’ end of year syndrome?”
Educators considered: Do we bring this upon ourselves by planning activities that over-stimulate or distract students from curriculum goals? Do we start packing up classrooms too soon, causing students to believe that the year has in effect ended, along with their obligations to perform school tasks and exhibit appropriate behavior? Can we justify the amount of time we “lose” because of end of year activities? Is there something about human children that causes them to be keyed up in May and June? Do kids become less productive according to the calendar or because of other external influences?
Most respondents admitted to exhibiting behaviors, or observing colleagues whose actions cause students to be less productive as summer vacation approaches.
“GUILTY! One thing I start asking them is…What will y’all be doing this summer? Raise your hand if you’re happy it’s almost SUMMER!!!!”
“Teachers are often their own worst enemies, at least at our school. Soon after spring break, it is common to hear otherwise ‘on task’ teachers beginning the countdown. While teachers still complain about ‘senioritis,’ they exhibit much of the same behavior, and it is contagious — the other students catch it quickly.”
“I know that a significant number of teachers do “fold their tents” early. Many of my seniors in AP Chemistry report that their other teachers are showing (non-educational) videos in class.”
“There are a few ways that teachers do contribute to the problem. I teach in middle school and sometimes get discouraged by students who keep asking if WE are going to have a party, if WE can ever have a free day, if WE can go outside and sit in the bleachers on the football field, if WE can watch videos, etc. because that’s what some of the other teachers are doing.”
“Many school activities change as teachers prepare for end of year concerts, field trips, play days, etc. While each of these is worthwhile, the deviation from more rigid schedules can be very unsettling to those children who need a lot of structure.”
“Kids do not ‘spond,’ they ‘REspond’ Their behavior at the end of the year (and the last five minutes of the period or the day) is a response to our behavior as teachers. Their actions are feedback; if we communicate the year is over (by our attitude and actions, not our words) they act as though it’s over. If kids are working primarily for grades, when the grades are pretty well determined there is no reason to continue working.”
Many teachers who posted on this topic recognize that their actions do cause their students to become less productive, but feel there is no alternative because they are forced by deadlines to turn in grades and materials by the end of the last school day, making it inevitable that students will become aware of and react to end-of-year syndrome.
“We are required to do an inventory of all books, etc. That is due on Monday. So my partner and I had to rearrange bookshelves, baskets, and our library so that we could finish this task on time. That means changes in the classroom and our Kinders are aware of all changes. Small children react to any difference in their lives.”
“Our library closed almost two weeks early. P.E. was minimal because those who passed certain levels were treated with special days at P.E. and the rest of the kids had a shortened schedule. Records and grades were due the week before and the kids knew it.”
“On the last day of school the kids leave at 1:30 and we are required to turn [continued on next page]