As the dog days of summer start to fade, it is almost time to get back to school. Before you head back to the classroom to begin the new school year, there are a few things that need to be done to make sure that this school year is the best that it can be.
Having a plan in place for the first few weeks of school is vital as this will set the tone for the entire year. Being prepared before you get into the classroom for the first day will make all the difference in how your year goes.
Send out a welcome
Coming back to school can be very stressful for students and teachers. One thing you can do as a teacher to help your students get ready to come back to school is to send them a postcard welcoming them to your classroom. This way they will feel as if they know you even before they enter your classroom. Do this about two weeks before classes are scheduled to resume. It will also familiarize you with the names and addresses of all of your students.
If this is your first year go in early and familiarize yourself with your classroom and with the bulletin boards. Even if this isn’t your first year, you may want to get into the classroom early and set up a bulletin board to be there on the first day of school. There are hundreds of ideas for great bulletin boards that you can tap into, here are some that teachers have found to be useful in their primary school rooms.
If you have a great lesson planner you should have lots of ideas for days that are important in the month of September. All teachers know how hard it is when the kids get back from vacation to get them back into learning mode. Be creative and innovative.
Make the first few weeks of school lighter and more fun, it will help to get the students attention back on learning. Have some lesson plans that include special dates in September. The 16th is the day the Pilgrims left for the new world on the Mayflower and September 23rd is the day Lewis and Clark arrived in St Louis. These dates can be turned into a history lesson quite easily and history can be made into a fun project.
Organization can make all the difference between a successful year and one that flounders. Before school starts have all your files in order. Have your laminated notes done for your classroom walls with the class schedule and one with the classroom rules and the consequences. Make sure that you have all your student forms and folders ready and easy to find. If you take the time to get ready for school, your first days and weeks will go much smoother.
Get yourself in a positive frame of mind. Even if last year wasn’t the best, this is a new year, with new students and a positive and welcoming attitude will go a long way in getting you ready to face the rigors of teaching. Learn a few de-stressing techniques that can help you to defuse any tense situations. Take a deep breath, smile and think about the wonders of learning and all the great ideas you have to give to the children who will be your students this year. It is why you went into teaching in the first place and sometimes you just have to be reminded of it.