It's also a great opportunity for strengthening your relationship and can help ensure that you and your student capitalize on the progress you made together this year.
At your last meeting (whether it's just for this year or for good), you should talk about your student's strengths and what the relationship has meant to you. You can also ask your student to reflect on what he or she thinks they gained through the relationship and what their favorite things about the time your spent together were.
If you are brave, you can ask them what they think your strengths are - or how they would describe you!
Here are a couple other ideas for your last meeting:
- Give your student a letter where you write about the many positive qualities and abilities you've observed in them and what the relationship has meant to you. You can also give some advice for the future.
- Buy your student one of the books you enjoyed reading together (or one you know they will enjoy) and inscribe it with a personal message.
- Make a friendship bracelet together.
- Create an end-of-the year scrapbook. (Cut out letters from magazines to form words that describe your student's strengths or cut and paste images about the things you enjoyed doing together - or would like to do together).
- Give your student a journal and ask him or her to write down their thoughts and feelings about things that happen over the summer. They can also make a list of the things they want to talk about with you when you see each other again. (If you have been keeping an Elevating Journal, flip through it together and discuss the highlights).
- Write your student a letter of recommendation on your letterhead. (In your other sessions with your student this month you can ask them about what types of jobs they would want to apply for in the future).
Tangible things that remind your student of their strengths are a very powerful tool. Kids are visual so the best way for them to remember the highlights of your relationship and the progress you made together is by having something they can look back at, time and time again.
Its hugely important for kids to continue to get the message over and over again, that they have strengths, that you have faith in them and in their abilities and that you believe that they can accomplish anything they put their mind to. Often they receive contrary messages from others in the community or have already labeled themselves as someone who isn't going to amount to anything. It can be difficult to change a negative feedback loop. But by constantly reinforcing positive messages and reminding them of their strengths, you can change their mindset - and their future.
As the saying goes, "Believe you can and you are half way there."
Fun Questions for Conversation
Here are some ideas for questions you can ask you student that will help them reflect on the past year, allow them celebrate their accomplishments and also encourage them to think about what changes they need to make for next year:
The accomplishment I am the most proud of this year is. . .
This year I persevered when . . .
The five things I liked the most about this year are....
The three things that I need to work on this summer for next year are....
What strengths would my teacher from this year tell my teacher next year.....
Click here for an easy to use sample End-of-the-Year Reflection Book