By Jacqueline G. Goodwin, Ed. D.
Anew school year can be stressful even if you are a seasoned teacher. Here are some back to school tips to help start your year off well.
Share some of your life. Let your students know a bit about who you are outside of the classroom. Share stories about your family and your pets. Let them know about your outside interests, your hobbies and the type of books you like to read. Your students will feel connected and want to know more.
Be consistent and follow through when you set routines and consequences. If you let up on consequence, students will push the boundaries and it will be tough to get them to believe what you say. They will test you. When they realize that you mean it, they will stop pushing so hard. If the routines and consequences make sense and they have been explained and accepted as part of the class rules, then it will be easier to enforce them as well.
Follow a schedule. Have a schedule to follow and lessons prepared, but be willing to throw it out or postpone it for teachable moments. If something happens during the day that is relevant to your students, it deserves to be allowed to be discussed, explored, and experienced. Your students will learn more from teachable moments than they do from a structured lesson that is presented at the wrong time. No matter how fabulous the lesson is, if it is taught at the wrong time, it won’t have the same impact.
Have fun. If your students are happy they will enjoy learning. If you are happy, you will enjoy teaching more. Teaching can be hard enough nowadays with all the added pressures of assessment, social and political environments, and burnout. You need to do things to protect yourself from the stress these things cause. Laughing and enjoying your classroom experiences with your students is one way to do this