Finishing Strong

If you find yourself staring out the window during class, daydreaming about beach or lake days, not completing homework, or feeling overall academically sluggish, you could very well be suffering from spring fever.

The only thing I can seem to concentrate on this time of year is Gilmore Girls, and the only thing I can finish off is a bag of chips. In my defense, though, I do these things really well.

The problem is we have six more weeks – or 30 more days (this sounds shorter for some reason) – of school remaining. Checking out, mentally or physically, is not an option; we must finish. And how a person finishes matters. Finishing strong is an indicator of good character.

I always show my seniors this video when we return from spring break. While the quality is terrible, the point is certainly made through these clips. Finishing matters. Sadly, students have failed classes, lost scholarships, and even had colleges revoking acceptance decisions based on final transcripts.

I would encourage you to start the conversation with your student(s) about finishing strong. Show them this video and discuss the importance of finishing. What are some of the benefits of finishing strong? What are some of the consequences of not finishing strong? What are some things students can be doing to finish strong? How can I help my students learn perseverance? Guide your student(s) in making a plan for the remainder of the year or setting two or three academic goals. Not only do I lead my students in goal setting for the remainder of the school year, but I have them write at least two learning goals for the summer. When my students have quit staring at me like I have three heads (okay, they never really quit staring at me like that), I encourage them to be in charge of their learning and their future. I’m even willing to let them take books from my bookshelf if they will commit to reading during the summer. (Here’s my shameless plea for books for my classroom library: please give me books if they’re just sitting around your house collecting dust).

If you are an educator, lead by example. Don’t just pop a movie in for the last few weeks. Finish strong. Be over the top creative. Pull out your best lessons of the year. Have class outside (because in Atlanta you will only have two weeks of spring before it’s 100 degrees). Give your students your best. My biggest challenge this time of year is getting grading essays, and I am working on my personal grit every time I pick up a stack to grade. I will stick to my commitment of returning essays within a week no matter how ugly the battle gets or how many pots of coffee I need to consume for the task. I will finish strong.

Generation Y, we will teach you how to finish strong. We will be committed to seeing that you finish the school year strong. We will not enable you to slack off. We will do this because we need you to know that finishing a school year strong has benefits not just lasting until the end of the year but teaches lessons to last a lifetime.

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