Being a former basketball coach, I relate many things to sports. In basketball, you can make a great move and get by your defender but if you don’t finish the shot, you still get zero points. You could have the best start to a speech, but the thing people will remember most is what you say at the end. In a race it is better to save a kick for the homestretch then to be the pace setter at the beginning.
Perhaps since it is baseball season, I should sink this in with a famous Billy Sunday quote: “Stopping at third adds no more to the score than striking out. It doesn’t matter how well you start if you fail to finish.” Finishing strong is important for a school year as well.
Students need to stick to their routines and stay motivated. Students and staff are getting ready to have a nice long break with no schooling, but it is important that we don’t start it early. Students need to be prepared to be in the curriculum learning until the end of the year.
We all know that when the weather gets nice and state testing is over the tendency is to relax. It is okay for students to take a deep breath and be glad the state tests are over. It is also okay to enjoy the weather. Since the weather is nice there may be field trips, but be sure to use those trips as hands on learning opportunities. Teachers have much more knowledge to share, so soak that up along with the sunshine. You may need to take a timeout this weekend to refocus on the finish line. How this year ends will set the tone for next year. Set some goals.
Set goals for the next school year and begin to implement them now. Working toward these goals — and seeing during the last month of school that your goals are attainable — will give you confidence going into next school year. You could look to set goals in a number of areas. Maybe you would like to do all of your homework. Maybe you would like to study for at least 30 minutes for all tests. Maybe you would like to be kind to others.
A goal I would like to see many students work on is attendance. It is much more difficult to learn if you aren’t at school each day getting the instruction.
Try making “SMART” goals by using the process below.
S - Specific (What do I want to measure?)
M - Measurable (How am I going to measure it?)
A - Attainable (Is this a reasonable goal?)
R - Results-oriented (What will my goal look like when I’ve reached it?)
T - Time-bound (When will I reach my goal?)
Getting in the habit of finishing everything strong now will help students develop into more productive citizens in the future. Finishing strong is a quality I believe all people should strive for. It will serve them well throughout a lifetime! So, don’t just allow the school calendar to run itself out, choose to finish strong.
Local columnist Adam Kreischer is the League Elementary principal.