Core scripture: “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.” (Isaiah 51:10)
Message: I love the last week of school! It might be the most exhausting yet fulfilling week I teach. Last Friday I poured myself into my classes all day long, and by the time I stumbled in my house around 4:00, I literally faceplanted on my bed for an hour. I think we all feel that way this time of year. Lucky I caught a second wind in time for my neighbor kid’s birthday!
What do we do the last week of school? How do we handle the craziness? Last week I created a document that I shared with my students including a plethora of options: inspirational videos, wisdom, stories, games, you name it. I even sent a survey out to the kids to see what they wanted to do and hear about the most. Now I get to live these activities out!
Here are a few things I consider as the last week closes in …
- Celebrate your students. Each of my students gets a personalized note, a heartfelt speech, and recognition from me before they leave my classroom. They also get a copy of their beginning of the year survey to show how much they have changed throughout the year. Laughs are shared, tears are shed, and students are praised. Focus on the positive. Even the naughty ones have good qualities. Impress those qualities upon them before they leave.
- Teach life lessons. I took the time to write down 10 stories from my life that I felt comfortable sharing with my students. They get to pick the stories they want to hear. Each story has a purpose. A point. Some of these stories show lessons I learned the hard way. Humbling yourself before your kids is a powerful experience. It shows you are human! And you never know who will be listening to your wisdom, applying it to their life down the road.
- Have fun. If you don’t get the crazies out, your kids will drive you batty. Yesterday we did that Following Directions activity that I mentioned last week in my “Just For Fun” section. We took a field trip to the front lawn and challenged them to follow 40 crazy directions. I got it all on video, and they savored every second of it. Less than 10 kids actually did it right, but we had a blast, and it proved a powerful point that following the crowd can lead you to make yourself look silly.
- Create memories. I put the final touches on a 15-minute video last night that the kids will be enjoying together on the last day. It was quite a bit of work, but SOOO worth it! And the kids will get the link to that video to watch it as many times as they please. Take lots of pictures for scrapbooks. Enjoy a class photo together! One goofy one and one nice one. These memories are sacred to ALL of our hearts.
- Be flexible. There will be a time when you try an activity that blows up in your face. The kids will not respond well to it, or you know a certain class cannot handle it. I tailor my last week activities to each class. They have a choice, but I get the final say. Sometimes I lovingly take it down a notch and watch a short inspirational YouTube video as opposed to doing something crazy. It all depends on what they need.
Want to know what I need? Wisdom! With all these activities to choose from, I better go to the Lord to see what He thinks is best. James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” You go do the same.
This week is how you will be remembered by your students. This is your legacy. You can either give it your all or check out early. You can do it right or you can flip the lights off and show a meaningless animated movie. Don’t throw in the towel just yet! Sprint to the finish line! Pour yourself out so there is nothing left in the tank.
If you spend yourself in a worthy cause, you will be saying the same thing Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Challenge: You have plenty of last week ideas to pick from above. Choose the ones that are right for your classroom and implement them!
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Pray for wisdom on how to finish with a flourish!
- Praise God for the moments you had with your students this year.
- Pray for love, joy, hope, and blessings upon your students as they transition to summer.
Song application: “Fill My Cup” by Andrew Ripp
Fill my cup, Lord
Run it over
Give me love, give me joy
Give me peace (oh-oh-oh)
Fill my cup, Lord
Run it over
I am Your child in need
Lord, I need You (oh-oh-oh)
Just for fun: Not sure if you all would care to watch, but here is the last day video I mentioned above. The last 4-5 minutes are the best to watch if you want to fast forward there! Those clips were all taken Monday as they did the Following Directions activity.
Prayer: Father, give me wisdom, endurance, and love as we collectively tackle the last week of school. Amen.