Teacher ~ Prepare Yourself for the End of the Scholastic Year

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_rmorijn'>rmorijn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>







Are You Preparing Yourself for the

End of the Scholastic Year?




This Post is a Companion Piece to 

Teachers ~ Caring for Yourself, Your Students, and Reducing Stress






22 March 2018




Iseult Catherine O'Brien 

Montessori Teacher & Supervisor   |   Volunteer Tutor with Second Level Students    |   

A Member of The Tutors' Association  

Beware the Light!! Youngsters at Risk on Smartphones!!

 Reproduction of vibrant painting by Dublin Artist, Neil Douglas, at abstracteffectsgreetingcards.com. Courtesy of the Artist.







Please read the following Post for your own information and  in preparation for suggesting it to your students ~ BEWARE THE LIGHT!! YOUNGSTERS ARE AT RISK ON THEIR SMARTPHONES & ONLINE!!.  This is a subject of enormous importance, affecting the vast majority of families to a greater or lesser degree: there seems to me to be a determined attitude on the part of some not to face the topic at all.  


If you decide that having your students spend a week with a minimum or preferably no use of their electronic devices would be a beneficial exercise, write to all the parents / guardians / carers (PGCs) early in your planning, to let them know what you wish to do, why, and request their support of the undertaking.


When you have made your preparations, please give your students plenty of notice of what you plan.  You can help your students from as early as six years, and younger, to reduce their use of online or electronic devices, including television significantly, now, for at least the period of one week, even the youngest students shall be surprized how very difficult they find this self-imposed 'deprivation'. 



I suggest you have a 20 minute chat each day with the younger students during the week of abstinance, to find out what part is most difficult for them, let them compare experiences, and wind up each session with encouragement.   Students from eight to ten years and upwards, could keep a daily audio or bullet point diary for the period, describing their difficulties in carrying out the exercise, listing the expected and unexpected consequences, and if they realized the exercise would be so difficult.  It is worthwhile spending at least this much time discussing this topic with the younger students ~ they may be very shocked and surprized at how much they miss not having their devices available all evening, and at other times of the day.


A detailed diary giving each student's new perspective of their usual activities, and any changes in their sleep pattern over one week, should be a very useful exercise for everyone, including you. 


For the period of this exercise, you may wish to put in place different types of work, so that your students shall continue with their studies but using other methods.  For State Exam second level students, have a range of off the syllabus books to encourage reading around the curriculum, which will give insight and broaden their understanding of the curriculum.  As there will be a range of books read over the period of a week, all students could be asked to prepare a 20-30 minute talk on the book they read, as an exercise in precising work, and also in addressing a group on a new topic.  Ask the students to prepare their talk bearing in mind questions may come from fellow students.  The reading and question sessions could be held a few times a week and the whole class should be finished their presentations within two months.



Gather a selection of books from the School / College Library for your particular subject(s), and have a list of other books widely available in Public Libraries.  Give the student as wide a range of books as possible to choose from, and to avoid any book being read by more than one student.  The benefit for the students of reading text from a book and keeping simultaneous written or audio notes of ideas they consider particularly interesting, novel, radical, useful, plus keeping a note of the requirements for a bibliography, is that they shall be reading a book actively, with the intention of mining it for every nugget.  Passive reading is an easy habit to get into to, and we all need to fight against drifting through a book.



Many of your students shall be facing exams, and even if they are not State Exams or end of college year exams, they shall still experience high degrees of stress, heightened by expections.



Holding a few period-long written examinations in the classroom, without prior warning or preparation, is an excellent way to help students get used to the experience of exams.  Have the written work handed up at the end of the class, and over a few days work through the papers, noticing where students had difficulties.  A lack of information is not what you are looking for, initially. 



You need to find out if your students know how to face exam situations.  It's possible your class has never faced a serious exam, and none of them knows how they would perform.  Once you have examined the papers from the first written 'exam', and returned them, discuss with the students what elements seemed most difficult, and ask if any were surprized by marks or remarks you gave for particular sections.  You and they need to know this well before the Summer exams are upon you ~ explain this to your students.  If you and they can discover their most common errors in facing an exam situation, you and they can work together on eliminating those errors.  To lose marks over basic grammar, spelling, or sentence or paragraph construction is a dreadful waste of an opportunity.



We don't have to like an exam system that is so reliant on one or two written exam papers per subject being the main test of a whole school career.  We do have to accept the systems presented to us, and try to find the most user-friendly way to approach them.  If students can be instilled with confidence and self-belief, it will help them in any exam, and especially if they hit an unexpected obstacle.  Practise and resilience - which they will have developed - will see them through obstacles.



Working with your students about the quality and quantity of information required to answer adequately an exam question is a different skill, which shall also need to be accommodated.  If you present your students with a series of Work Plans to help them manage the work load expected of them, you shall be giving them the best chance to manage their time wisely, and reduce their stress levels.



Please see the Posts, THE STUDENT TAKES THE LEAD DESIGNING WORK PLANS / UTTERLY FOCUSED ON YOUR EXAM NEEDS, DO NOT LET ANYONE DISTRACT YOU FROM YOUR PREPARATION PLAN.  You may find some useful ideas you could adapt to your circumstances.  Please do so with my pleasure. 



The latter Post is designed to help students to get into the practise of answering exam questions, so that they can eliminate as many errors as possible, thus giving them the confidence and time to deal with the actual questions in a real exam setting.  Many of the usual pitfalls are listed, to assist students in getting into the practise of using correct grammar and sentence construction.



If one doesn't have to decide whether to use affect or effect, because that's been settled in advance, one saves time when answering questions, and keeps one's stress levels as low as possibleEvery time one comes across a situation one has faced and decided upon, the confidence level rises.




Children from the age of around six years up to adults all need to be protected and learn to protect themselves from cyber-bullying, and online 'virtual physical assault' which feel no less real than the real thing.  




Cope with the Stresses of Modern Life

 Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_seaonweb'>seaonweb / 123RF Stock Photo</a>


Best of Luck!

Regards, Iseult

Iseult Catherine O’Brien



If you see any errors, typographical or factual, or if you disagree with any of my ideas, I should be very glad to hear from you.


Please let me know what you think of my ideas.  I'd welcome any suggestions and, of course, you'd get an acknowledgement beside your idea if included. 


Email  iseultccobrien@gmail.com.


I am an elected Member of The Tutors' Association.


LinkedIn https://ie.linkedin.com/in/educationbelongs2all







If I quote a person, group, organisation, or establishment, I do my very best to source the material quoted, and to attribute it properly.  If I cannot satisfy myself I have found the author or speaker who voiced a quote, I resist using it, no matter how tasty a bite!  If I refer in passing to views expressed by others, I attribute the views even if they have not been given verbatim in the text.  


I work on a basis of goodwill and good intentions.  I shall make errors, being human, and when I do, I apologise now, and should always welcome a correction, which I would insert in the relevant Post prominently, in clear unambiguous text and type, repeating the apology. That's is the best I can do!