5 Great Back to School Tips for Teachers & Students
As summer winds to a close, that means a new school year is just around the corner. Back-to-school time can mean a mix of emotions for both students and teachers. Students may feel excitement to see old friends, eagerness to escape summer boredom, anxiousness at meeting new people, and fear that they might not know anyone in their classes.
Similarly, teachers can feel apprehension over starting a new school year, sadness over summer vacation ending, and anticipation toward making a difference in the life of students they have yet to meet.
So how can teachers help students focus on the positive and get excited about going back to school?
Here are five "Back To School" tips to get you started.
1. Point out the positive.
A new school year is a chance to make new friends, see old ones, learn new things, and try new activities. Help your students focus on these positive aspects of school by incorporating get-to-know-you games into the first days of school and letting them know some of the amazing topics they'll be learning about during the school year.
Let them know that everyone can feel a little nervous at the beginning of something new and that they're not alone as they become comfortable and more familiar in their new class.
2. Get organized.
Get organized and plan ahead.
Set up your classroom in a way that helps you feel comfortable and helps your students feel like a part of the classroom community. Incorporate interesting pictures, images, charts, and other visuals on your walls to draw in your new learners as they become curious about what they will be learning about in your class.
Consider personalizing desks, cubbies, chairs, classroom chore charts, etc. with students' names so they immediately know they're part of their new classroom.
Organize early so you can dive in to instruction and classroom bonding on day one.
3. Ease into new schedules and habits.
Even teachers need to adjust to the new school schedule, so start early.
Consider waking up 15 minutes earlier each day until you're on schedule and make sure to go to bed early so you don't feel the pain of a too-short night's sleep.
Shop for and pack healthy lunches and snacks so you're feeding your body what it needs to have the energy for the day.
Encourage your students to do the same thing through discussions and modeling. Trust us, they're watching you.
4. Discuss goals.
Talk with your students about classroom and individual goals for the school year.
As a class, you might even set rules and goals at the beginning of the school year that you can turn to throughout the year. Maybe their goals include reading every day or never being late.
Don't penalize students for not reaching their goals. Instead, encourage them to keep trying and notice their gains as they stick to their plans.
These goals can be edited if needed by calling a class meeting.
Students often feel empowered when they help to set their own goals, and it can be a great way to find out what interests your students have.
5. Make it fun.
Finally, celebrate the last day of summer and the start of the new school year!
Have students write a letter to themselves that they will open on the last day of class, telling themselves what their goals are and what they hope to learn that year.
Take pictures of each student on the first day of class so they can see how much they've literally grown throughout the year.
Make a list of favorite books, treats, movies, activities, etc. that you can turn to throughout the school year for small celebrations.
Traditions like these can be a fun way to build a classroom identity and create positive feelings about the year ahead.