The cycle of the school year includes a typical and final push to the finish line. As educators and parents, we are looking towards the final weeks or days of learning, leading, and living together in a unique community of learning. Our hearts know, ‘It will never be the same again.’

I am reflective on finishing well. What are the ingredients of bringing each school year to a close in a noble and gratifying way? How does the process look the same for parents and teachers? We’re all in this together!

I have five easy suggestions.  You can get started applying all of them in 15-20min today.

Get Organized

The proverbial checklists are essential to finishing well.  I am writing a checklist for my daughter’s activities, for my school, and for those I serve. I recently completed The Checklist Manifesto where author Atul Gawande makes the case that we can no longer manage the complex systems and magnitude of our information society effectively, so we must devise simple and guiding checklists. Our school has checklists for each year end, so everyone knows the key outputs from now to the end of the year.

Write one brief checklist on a post-it or in a favourite space before the end of the day?

Reflect Thoroughly

What are the rituals serving you? What encourages your thriving? Each year The Builder and I reflect on our year. In-and-of-itself, our visioning weekend offers us a powerful gift of thriving because it allows us to take stock of our year and consider “What is Our Truth?”

We do a similar reflection process as a school? We brainstorm highlights of our year, big achievements, initiatives that served children, and professional advancements.

And, in the secret places, each and every teacher considers each and every student. With certificates drafted, report cards written, and desks cleaned out, we know what we accomplished and also what remains in a rich and long-term growth process. Even parents think through the edges and in-betweens.

We call it year-end, but upon reflection it isn’t ending, it must continue! It is Learn Forward.

Write down the whispers of success for the child in your life? Where are the frayed edges?

Approach Imperfections with Compassion

These unmet expectations, unfulfilled relationships, and undone loose ends are a part of each year. They are soft places, even laced with regret.

Even this morning I spoke to The Builder about a classmate I wanted our daughter to connect with and still I haven’t organized it. Imperfect.

We all have aspects of the school year remaining unfinished, unpolished, or even held with a shroud of pain.

I wonder how we can hold these places with compassion, knowing we did our best?

Say out loud, as you reflect, “We did our best!” Doodle it somewhere fun!

Focus on Growth

The summer is coming! Whether you are a parent or teacher, we all can set clear intentions for growth over the summer. Hopefully those intentions have a hefty serving of rest, like a wooden spoon heaping with mashed potatoes.

Did you know that all growth in nature comes from a place of rest?

Additionally, the summer season allows us time and space for the creation of new routines, projects, or activities. What opportunities does this time of year hold for you? For the children?

Brainstorm together and create bucket lists or book baskets or gardens of ideas designed for thriving in the season ahead.

Give Thanks!

My favourite part of the end of the school year is saying thanks to those who’ve made it wonderful: The Builder, my family, my teams, the teacher heroes in my life, support staff, volunteers and all the brilliant members of our community.

We sing, we make videos, we give cards and gifts, we socialize, and celebrate the goodness of learning. It never grows old.

Send someone you love a thank you text right now.

In Closing

It only takes 15-20min to consider these five ideas of finishing well.  If you repeat them each day or so for the remainder of the school year, I know you will be blessed.

What does finishing the school year well mean to you?  How will you inspire the children in your life for the season ahead? What intention do you want to set for thriving?

For the sake of the children,