9 Teacher Hacks for the End of the School Year

As teachers, the end of the school year season can really fill our buckets with sweet goodbyes and reminiscing on wonderful memories! Yet, it can be just as overwhelming as carrying an overflowing bucket! Need some help? Then, sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy our 9 Teacher Hacks for the End of the School Year.

With all of the end-of-year activities sloshing around and spilling out such as school programs, graduations, parties, and awards ceremonies, it can be a mess! And guess what?

You still have to teach or at least entertain those students in your care until you reach the end! With a collective of over 40 years of experience in the classroom, we have some hacks to help you survive this busy time of the year! Once it’s all over, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief as that teacher bag becomes a pool bag!

#1 Teacher Hack: Efficient To-Do List

An organized to-do list is one of the tricks that help me so much. Having a to-do list managed by categories to help you visually see what must be done right away, what can wait, and what can wait even longer, can help you tackle your tasks efficiently and less overwhelmingly. Try this FREE to-do list to help you take the bull by the horns in finishing the school year well!

#2 Teacher Hack: Make Dinner Time Easier

Just like when I adjusted from not teaching all summer to suddenly working again in August, I relied heavily on the crockpot at home. It takes ten minutes in the morning to throw something into a slow cooker or crockpot and then when you come home, your dinner is all done. It is such a relieving feeling to walk into your home with your dinner wafting in the air knowing that you don’t have to spend another hour on your feet cooking. Sure, fast food is an easy solution, but we all know you eat healthier at home and can save money in the process and that’s a win/win!

Click here for The Magical Slow Cooker Recipes

Some easy dinner meals I’ve personally used include Pork Tenderloin with Carrots & Potatoes, Chicken with Salsa for Easy Tacos, and a Mississippi Roast.

Here are some more crockpot meals!

If you don’t have a crockpot, we LOVE this one! 

Grab yours today!

#3 Teacher Hack: Many Hands Make for Light Work 

Every school I’ve ever worked at required me to “close out” my classroom. It may have looked different each time, but the overall idea was the same such as taking things off the walls, clearing off my desk, covering bookshelves, and wiping everything down. Every year, I ask my students to help and they absolutely relish it. Students love to be helpful and to feel like they’re contributing. Getting them to help you organize, clean, and take things off the walls gets them out of their seats which they love too.

Don’t feel guilty for asking for some help from your students. If you have a classroom reward system, perhaps you can give them some of your classroom bucks or reward them even more for their help. I’ve given students candy before to thank them for helping out or just rewarded them with a fun snack or extra recess. Many hands make for light work and it’s so true.

#4 Teacher Hack: Bulletin Board Prep

If you’re not switching classrooms, ask your administration if you could leave up or prepare your bulletin boards for next year. For several years, I would leave up the background paper and border of my bulletin boards, or I would take down my old bulletin boards and put up the background and border of a new one I would finish up in August. I would then cover them with a sheet or tablecloth and when I came back in the classroom, I had less work to do. 

Here is our favorite bulletin board background. Better than Paper can definitely withstand multiple school years.

Grab yours today for a better tomorrow!

Our Kindness bulletin board is wonderful for the beginning of the year and you can grab it now to help make your August easier. It comes with a beautiful border you can put up now. 

Grab yours today!

Grab our digital border that you can put up now as well. 

Grab yours today!

#4 Teacher Hack: End-of-Year Student & Teacher Gifts

Make giving out end-of-year student gifts as easy on you as possible. First of all, you don’t have to give a gift to your students if you don’t want to! If you do want to give something simple and easy, try to be kind to yourself and choose something that students will love but doesn’t require too much on your part. 

Grab our Ring Pop freebie today.

Grab a bulk pack of 30 Ring Pops!

Another gift I’ve given out is Little Debbie snack cakes. (Check for allergies first.) Bubble wands, pop-it toys, Mad-Libs booklets, or crazy straws are all simple gifts I’ve purchased from the dollar store for students.

If you want something a bit more personal, try our End-of-Year Certificates. Personalize your students with over 80 diverse looks to choose from and add some sweet adjectives. This is a printable gift that is so simple!

Grab yours today!

Next, if you’re a parent and you need to purchase teacher gifts, just give a gift card. You know, as a teacher, that a gift card is so appreciated, whether it’s for coffee, for lunch, or to your favorite store. Have your child write a sweet message or letter and that teacher will be just as happy if you went ahead and packed a beach bag full of goodies. 

#5 Teacher Hack: End-of-Year Activities

From playing review games to incorporating writing and art, students appreciate fun and light assignments in the last couple of weeks of school. Check out one of our other blog posts all about 10 Quick End-of-Year ideas

Click here to explore more.

If playing a movie or two is on your radar, check out our latest blog on 7 Picture Book & Movie Combinations to combine some language arts and purpose into your movie showing!

Click here to explore more.

#7 Teacher Hack: Extra Recess & Board Games 

As a new mom, I had a wise friend say to me, “If your baby is fussy, put him in water or take him outside.” It has rung true for me as a mom and even as a teacher. You can’t give your students a water day every day, but you sure can take them outside! Giving students fresh air, extra play and socialization time will do wonders for them and for you!

If it’s a rainy day or even for just plain fun, plan a board game afternoon. In an age where technology is at our students’ fingertips constantly, board games are often sidelined. Board games and card games are educational. From reviewing money in Monopoly to developing inference skills in Clue, game-based education is a valid form of learning. I have planned a couple of board game afternoons for students, and they just loved it. I would play some music in the background. Also, have students bring their own snacks. They would play all afternoon while I finished up my end-of-year checklist. 

#8 Teacher Hack: Reading Afternoon

For some downtime and a way to promote reading, host an afternoon filled with fun reading. Make it even more fun by giving it a theme. Some students love to read and others…not so much. However, if you make it fun and provide a variety of books to choose from, your kiddos will enjoy themselves. Plus, they will love this a lot more than doing a worksheet. 

For instance, turn off the lights, have students bring flashlights, put up some glow-in-the-dark stars. Maybe pop up a tent or two for a camping reading afternoon. Students can bring in a sleeping bag or stuffed animal and you can make microwave S’mores. 

You can even read our book, More and More Microwaveable S’mores. Then, complete the writing activity to get in the camping mindset. 

Grab yours today!

Click over for yours today!

Grab a tan blanket (for the sand), some beach chairs, buckets of seashells, and some laundry hampers as ships. All things combined will make a fun ocean/beach reading afternoon. 

#9 Teacher Hack: Take Care of Yourself

The best hack of all is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself during the hustle and bustle. Go to bed earlier if you can, drink water, pack (or Doordash) a delicious and healthy lunch. Main thing, try not to survive on caffeine and the chocolate in your desk. (Believe me…I’ve tried that!)

When you go home, leave school at school. Focus during your planning hour to avoid bringing schoolwork home. Try to do tasks that will help your future self out. For example, cleaning out your desk drawers or reorganizing important papers. Self-care can come in many forms. If you need to veg out on pizza and Hallmark when you get home, don’t feel guilty at all! Our brains and bodies need rest, so we can be there for our students.


We hope this mixture of 9 Teacher Hacks for the End of the School Year will help make your transition to summer a bit easier. Instead of carrying an overflowing bucket of endless responsibilities, you’ll be carrying a cold cup full of your favorite summer drink in no time!

Hello Summer Self-Care

I’m so thankful for summer. It is a time for everyone to recharge by sleeping in a little later, taking deeper breaths, and just having the time to eat a meal in more than 3 bites.

Yes, summertime is an awesome perk for being a teacher. I consider the time we have off in the summer as payback for all that overtime we banked during the school year.

Even though Self-Care has become a double 4 letter word in the teacher world, summertime is truly a good time to revisit those plans you made while we were working away in school. You remember all those things you said about taking better care of yourself if you only had the time.

So, without further ado, here are a few of our Self-Care ideas for summer:

Spend some time getting back in touch with nature.

If you have the space, now would be a great time to plant a few plants for a beautiful fall garden. If space is an issue, grab a couple of plants from a hardware store. Match it with a beautiful vase. Whoa, a simple and relaxing way to connect with nature during this down time.

Click here to grab these beautiful planters today.

Take lots of long, hot baths.

Yes, now that we are in the summer season, this would be a perfect time to relax with long hot baths each day. Grab some lavender bubble bath, some aroma candles, and your favorite warm tea. Ahhh is all I can say.

Click here for some Calgon
Lavender & Honey Bubble Bath


Go easy on yourself by starting out slowly, or if you have been doing this a while, challenge yourself with a more strenuous action plan. I have included a second workout, not a long one, but a second one, to let my body know that I have some extra time to spend on taking care of it this summer. Consider adding an additional workout. For example, if you bike, add walking or vice versa. Summertime is a great time to do those activities that you love to do and enjoy the most.


As we have told our students all year, take time to read and enjoy a good book. Summertime is the perfect time to catch up on your reading wish list. I have several I hope to finish before I return in late August. Definitely time to take my own advice and read to my heart’s desire.  

If you would love some inspiration to encourage you to enjoy your summer a little bit more, grab these affirmations to place on your frig or bathroom mirror to remind you that this is your time.

Most importantly, please remember that this is your downtime, that time we have been dreaming of all year. Do the things you love and hide those lesson plan agendas. Better yet, remove them completely from your computer by storing them on a flash drive hidden in your teacher bag in a deep dark closet. This is your time. Please enjoy every moment.

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5 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout

As many educators around the country are about to embark on winter break, or perhaps you already have, it has gotten us to think about our passion for teaching, and how sometimes it waxes and wanes. Lately, it seems with everyone there are more wanes than waxes. With this, we have put together 5 ways to avoid teacher burnout and reignite your passion for teaching when we come back in January.

5 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout

At the end of every school year in June, I like to reflect on what I would do differently, how I will revamp units, and even about the fun stuff, such as how I will redecorate my classroom. 

In a way, when everyone is starting a brand-new year on New Year’s Day, us teachers “plug” along. I personally do not get too excited. It just doesn’t *feel* like a new year until August rolls around. Yet, as teachers, we should also think about how we want to do things differently as we head into an actual new year, even within the same school year to avoid teacher burnout and reignite that passion.

5 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout: Now is one
of the hardest times in education to date. 

It is one of the hardest times in education to date. We are in our third year of pandemic teaching. Many extra responsibilities have been placed on us. We are trying to juggle the demands of the profession with the burdens of the cultural times at the moment, and every which way we turn, there is something new thrown onto our proverbial plates. How can we, as educators, avoid teacher burnout and regain that passion, when the world is doing everything around us to blow out that flame? Here are some keyways I specifically reignite my passion for teaching.

#1 Examine Your Why

Why did you become a teacher? What made you decide to major in education, or if you took another career path…what made you decide to jump into the world of teaching? 

For me, I was born a teacher. I used to line up my stuffed animals and teach them when I was a little girl. Plus, I had amazing teachers that inspired me to go into the same profession. I loved reading and wanted to spread that joy.

From a young age, I watched my mother in education. From helping her cut materials, complete bulletin boards, and even grade her papers, education was always in my blood. Yet, I also made the decision for myself to pursue it when I was in high school. After watching the movie, Pay It Forward, I knew it was my life’s calling. 

5 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout:
Remember “why” you became a teacher.

In Pay It Forward, a Social Studies teacher assigns a project to have students come up with an idea to change the world in a direct way. This project ends up changing the trajectory of a student’s life and impacts the entire community, including the teacher’s life. This teacher, by one assignment, made an amazing difference.

I think about the difference we make every day. Children grow up and remember their teachers, not the lessons. Children grow up and remember how their teachers made them feel and how they helped motivate them to love reading or to pursue an interest. Teachers change lives. 

Even if our *why* was built on an idealized version of what kind of a teacher we would be, get to the bottom of why you chose this profession. Find your why again. It will definitely help you to reignite your passion for teaching once again.

#2 Take Care of Yourself

I know that “self-care” has become a bad eight-letter word. Sometimes self-care can become another burden on us. It’s just another thing on our to-do list, so I’m not going to tell you to take a bubble bath or put on a face mask. 

I’m going to tell you to drink water, eat three meals a day, take your vitamins, and try to get a good night’s rest. (I know that’s easier said than done as I have a 20-month-old toddler who loathes sleep.) I’m also telling you to try not to bring work home. Get a mental break from school, so you can feel refreshed and ready to go on Monday.

Students benefit from a well-rested,
healthy, and happy teacher.

We cannot simply pour into our students if we have nothing to pour. Students benefit from a well-rested, healthy, and happy teacher. They cannot benefit from a teacher who is run ragged, who is grumpy, disillusioned, and running on fumes.

For me, some weeks are better than others. This past week, my toddler was fighting a cold and her hatred for nighttime sleep was even worse. That combined with sheer exhaustion from teaching in December, and many weekends spent cleaning and doing laundry, has made me not feel my best. It’s difficult being a working mom. I know I need to reassess and figure out some solutions to help me make it through. 

Some weeks are just plain harder and that’s to be expected. When you feel like your gas light is on empty, it’s time to reassess. How can you take care of yourself in tangible ways that benefit you and your students? Should you pick up dinner instead of cooking for an hour every night? Should you clean your house every other week instead of every week? 

Once you figure that out, your passion for teaching can increase because you’ll have energy again. You will feel better and be able to work at your best. 

#3 Become Interested in What You’re Teaching

If you have some flexibility within your district or school, make your lessons interesting to not only your students, but to yourself! If you are excited about what you’re teaching, it’ll reignite that passion. It’ll also make your students motivated as well. 

A super interesting lesson or fun project can give the students something to look forward to and something for you to look forward to as well throughout the day.

I know that sometimes if I’m not excited about teaching a lesson, then I know the students probably are not looking forward to sitting and listening to that lesson. My lack of enthusiasm for that subject matter probably rubs off on them, just like my bubbling enthusiasm would influence them as well. Find simple, yet creative ways to spice material and lessons up.

5 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout:
Create Fun Hands-on Projects.

For example, I teach 8th grade Social Studies which happens to be Economics. I am an English teacher through and through. Economics borders on high-level financial math sometimes. I struggled to teach this subject last year, as I, myself, did not find it interesting at all. I never looked forward to that class, and I knew my students were not enjoying it. 

After doing some unit researching, I was able to find fun hands-on projects that still hit those Economic standards, but was something my students and I looked forward to. Now, Economics is made up of some projects like Holiday Budget Shopping, Design your Own Coffee Shop, and Make your Own Charity Benefit Concert. It’s more fun for us all around!

Whatever flexibility you have, use it to make those lessons creative and engaging so you will love teaching and they will love learning.

#4 Examine Your Environment

Environment influences how we feel. When our classrooms are neat and tidy, it makes us think better. When my classroom is cluttered, it makes me feel like my mind is cluttered too. 

I am a big proponent that the classroom environment is extremely important to teacher and student well-being. When students and teachers are in a welcoming environment conducive to learning, they are able to think clearer. 

As a middle school teacher, I value and teach organization. A place for everything and everything in its place. I feel like on days when I just can’t get organized or there’s papers everywhere or the classroom is messy, then my passion for teaching fades. I find myself getting frustrated and distracted by my surroundings instead of focusing on what I was meant to do. 

5 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout:
Organization is Key.

If you’re finding that you’re getting aggravated or your passion isn’t quite there anymore, examine what your environment looks like. Do you need to take some time to reorganize? Do you need to take some time to create a cozy and welcoming classroom that makes you excited to come to school? 

My classroom is coffee-themed with calm blues and greens throughout. I have some fake plants placed around the classroom and lots of books in my library. My classroom makes me feel instantly calm and excited when I enter it in the morning. 

Decorating a classroom is one of the fun parts of teaching. Even if you are lacking time, just bringing in some new decor that makes you feel at home can instantly lift your mood and make you feel excited to teach again. Design an organized and cozy classroom that you love to be in!

#5 Don’t Grow Stale

If you are currently doing the same things in the same ways, sometimes this can grow humdrum and your passion fades. As teachers, we should be lifelong learners and bring that new information into the classroom to not only make us motivated to teach, but to aid in our students’ success. 

Read up on the latest strategies and newest ways to teach concepts. Read resource books that get you excited about trying new things. 

5 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout: Incorporate the Different Types of Learners into your Instruction.

Find interesting and new ways to incorporate the different types of learners into your instruction. Perhaps, it’s just a shift into adding an artistic element into a project to excite those visual learners, or adding a song in as a way to remember a concept for the auditory learners. Revamping units, learning the latest strategies, and trying out new ideas can help rekindle your passion.

When you are inspired by others, it will
help reignite your passion for teaching.

Another way that helps me regain my passion is being around other teachers who are rocking what they’re doing, enjoying their career, and having fun. If you find it hard to make time to get to know other teachers in your building, then Instagram is another way to connect with other teachers, share new ideas, resources, and get inspired. Instagram is a way to access teachers all over the world that have ideas that perhaps you’ve never thought of. I love to follow certain teachers who share their ideas on Instagram and inspire me to approach novels in different ways, try out exciting methods, and just inspire me overall.  When you are inspired by others, it will help reignite your passion. 


Teaching, like any other career, can have its highs and lows. We are at a historical point right now in the educational world in which we are the most exhausted we’ve ever been as well, making our passion for teaching fade. By examining your “why,” taking care of yourself, being interested in what you teach, examining your environment, and not growing stale, your passion for teaching can surely grow and bloom into what it once was!

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