The summer is over, you’ve enjoyed your holiday, and it’s time to get back to teaching. The start of a new academic term may feel daunting, but following these tips will help you reduce stress and get back into the swing of things.
The classroom should be a place where pupils and teachers feel welcome, safe, inspired to learn, and proud to recognise achievements. Therefore, it is important that the classroom environment reflects this. Planning your classroom layout, displays and making sure that everything has a home before the start of the year will not only save so much time later on, but also create a nurturing atmosphere from the start.
Granted, this is not always possible before the start of the new school year, however it is so important to take the time to get to know your class well. It may seem simple, but do everything in your power to learn the children’s names as quickly as possible, preferably before the start of the year. This will help them know that you care, and keep on top of any behavioural challenges from the beginning. The start of a new school year also provides the perfect opportunity to find out about your pupils’ likes, dislikes, hobbies, families and friends – grab it with both hands! And don’t be afraid to share some of your personality with them too.
It can be tempting to start the year off as the “nice” teacher, after all, it’s nice to be liked. However once bad classroom habits have formed, it is very difficult to implement routines later on in the year. My mantra has always been to be strict with the class as a whole and kind to the individual. This helps children know that there are rules that need to be followed and consequences for when they’re broken, but also that they will always get a second, third, fourth chance and have a fresh slate every time they walk through the door. Decide what your rewards and sanctions will be before the year starts (in line with school policy) and stick to them.
Making a realistic timetable of when you will mark work and plan lessons will help to keep you on top of your work throughout the year. Make sure it’s realistic though, giving yourself some time to have a proper break, and also to manage those tasks that arise throughout the day.
“Every teacher has their own style, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel when there are so many amazing resources and ideas out there."
Don’t just take my work for it – ask all the teachers you know (and even the ones you don’t!) what their top tips are. Every teacher has their own style, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel when there are so many amazing resources and ideas out there. Why not spend a little time before the start of the year creating a folder of ideas for one-off lessons / cover work that can be used as and when needed throughout the year to help when things inevitably get busier.
By following all these tips, you are sure to have a great start to the new school year. It can be tough to get back into the routine after a relaxing summer off, but being prepared and ready for the classroom can help ease your transition back!