As I write this blog post, I am silently mourning the end of my Spring Break, but as my mother always says, ‘All good things must come to an end’. My thoughts now turn to the task at hand of completing the final trimester. Having final examinations and the Holy month of Ramadan all falling in this trimester, it is set to be the shortest and probably the busiest of the year, leaving very limited time for teaching and learning. If we are not careful as teachers, we become overwhelmed by the task at hand before we even begin. We start to think of all the learning outcomes we did not get a chance to cover in the first two trimesters along with the ones for the upcoming trimester and we wonder if we will be able to get it all done. The recent holidays soon become a fast fading memory and the frantic worry of looming deadlines set in.
In spite of all of the above, I still believe the final trimester regardless of how short it is, still provides us with an opportunity to impact the lives of our students positively. Before I do anything in the last trimester I usually take some time to go through all the required learning outcomes (objectives). When I do this, I am sometimes surprised to find that there are some objectives that I already covered. I look for commonalities between the objectives and group them accordingly. In doing this, I am sometimes able to use those cross-curricular links or common assignments and tasks to meet a group of outcomes instead of just one or two.
I have found that it helps to co-plan with a colleague or a group of colleagues. This might be an embedded practice in your school but if it is not, I assure you it is not too late to start this trimester. Planning with colleagues at the same grade level or in the same subject area is excellent practice. By doing this, I am able to implement my own ideas into our lessons. I am also able to tap into the wealth of knowledge and expertise that my colleagues are able to provide. You can save time on planning lessons from scratch by using lessons planned by your colleagues; simply modify them to suit your students. Sharing lesson plans and resources is not only beneficial to the teachers but it also ensures that more students benefit from everyone’s hard work and knowledge.
As we look towards the end of the year, I find that taking the time to focus on a key skill has its benefits. I think about a key skill that the students would definitely need in order to be more successful at the upcoming grade level and focus more on that skill. Sure all the skills are important but if we could give additional help in one skill which one would it be? We can focus on the chosen skill by including practice of that skill in the daily lesson starters or plenary or we could carve out a designated period of time during the lesson when students work on the chosen skill. However, we plan to do it, I am sure our students will be better for it.
Yes, there will be a sprint to the finish line in this trimester, but running the race smart is a big part of how much we get done and how well we do it. Here’s to a great trimester!
About Christina Morris
Christina Morris is an educator who currently teaches in a cycle three school in Abu Dhabi. She has been in the UAE for four years and enjoys sharing her experience with others especially those looking to move to the UAE to teach.