The summer break was needed more than ever this year! We hope you’ve managed to find some time to recharge – whether it was spending quality time with family or friends, taking part in some physical activity, or just sitting in front of the TV being inspired by the determination and resilience of the Tokyo Olympic athletes.
Back to school is already here for some and the countdown is on for the rest of you! You’ve got this! To help you along, we’ve put together some simple tips to start the school year off feeling positive and prepared.
1. Reflect on your break
Did you do everything you’d hoped? Did you start something new that you’re determined to continue? What books did you read? Did you learn something? When you ask your students what they did over the summer, you’ll be ready to share what you did too!
2. Prepare at home
Have a few favourite meals stored away in the freezer and some treats in the cupboard – they’ll help if you come home tired in the first weeks. Sort out your wardrobe and get your work clothes ready. Have your morning routine planned in your head.
3. Prepare friends and family
Remind dependents that you are going back to school! Re-establish home routines that enable you to come in from school and not have to pick up all the chores immediately.
4. Plan for school
Our classrooms will become like a second home so it’s worth making an effort to make it a nice place to be! Put a few personal reminders around your desk, even if it’s just in a drawer, so you can take a breather and reflect on a photo of a happy place or your family when times get a bit strained.
Buy some new storage boxes, folders or pencil pots and get some display boards ready for your students’ work. Decorate with some posters and get that feng shui going!
5. Plan for your new students
The first week back is key to establishing routines and expectations but also a great time for you to get to know your students. Icebreaker activities over the first few days are ideal – the resource pack below has some great ideas. Use some of the display boards in the class to set up rotas, share the timetable and highlight reward systems.
6. Build relationships with parents
As we move slowly into a new norm, parents will be approaching the start of school with a range of emotions too. Preparing communications to share with parents at the start of the school year will give them an idea of what they can expect and gives you an opportunity to build positive relationships.
Letters for parents with details such as which day PE/Phys Ed is on, expectations about homework and reading, and their child’s logins to educational resources are all helpful. You could also prepare a handout with key dates for the term ahead and a timetable of the school day/week.
7. Ease back in
If you have some favourite activities, plan them in for those first few days. Share your favourite children’s book or teach the class your favourite song. Keep things simple, avoid setting tasks that require lots of marking. Do activities that will produce work that will fill display boards and brighten up the class – painting portraits, creating shape pictures or tessellations for older students.
8. Plan to look after your wellbeing
Start as you mean to go on. Don’t skip lunches, take time to sit down and have something to eat. Make sure you have a water bottle on hand. Set yourself rules about when you will stop marking and planning, and make time to relax at home. Share your intentions with a close colleague and then check in and encourage each other to stick to routines to help you keep well and positive.
It’s OK to break these habits occasionally (we know school life can be unpredictable at times!) – but make sure it’s the exception and not the rule.
We hope you and your students have a safe, smooth and successful school year.
Get even more prepared for the new school year now with this assortment of checklists and icebreaker activities!