After the nine month grind of a school year, teachers look forward to the summer months to decompress and get refreshed for the next school year. Unfortunately, the summer months always seem to pass by quickly and before you know it the new school year is rapidly approaching. The start of a new school year can be hectic and bring about anxiety in young and experienced teachers alike. Here are some suggestions to help all teachers make a seamless transition back to school.
1. Reflect upon the past school year- Take advantage of summer vacation and reflect upon the last school year. Think about what worked well, what didn’t work well and what you can do differently during the new school year. Unfortunately first year teachers only have their student teaching experience to draw from which is somewhat limited but useful. Teachers that have at least one year of experience, as well as veteran teachers, can use this as a valuable tool for self-evaluation. If you want to be a great teacher, always look for new methods and ideas to implement. It will help avoid burnout by challenging you to be the best, and get the best from your students.
2. Plan Ahead- All teachers should plan ahead. Create lessons for the first few weeks, and make the first week fun! The first couple of days are typically consumed with classroom policies and procedures. Be sure to plan activities that help everyone get to know each other. This will establish the foundation for building a strong sense of community in your classroom. Also consider keeping lessons plans from the previous year. Instead of completely re-doing lesson plans each year, make appropriate adjustments that you believe will enhance the subject matter.
3. Connect with parents early- It is very important for teachers to establish a positive relationship with their parent community. Make the effort to communicate with parents during the first few weeks of school to show that you have their child’s best interest in at heart. However, avoid letting the communication lag when the school year is in full swing. In addition to your weekly newsletter, continue to keep parents abreast of triumphs and concerns throughout the school year via e-mail or phone calls. The combination of teacher efforts and support from home will enable students to experience a successful school year.
4. 1st year teachers: Use veteran teachers at your school as a resource- Being a first year teacher can be a bit overwhelming even for the most confident person. You may feel well prepared after success in the classroom and requisite student teaching assignments in order to obtain a teaching license. However, keep in mind that everything you learned from books works perfectly in an ideal situation. Being in the classroom will bring about situations that were not a part of your course of study. Use your own good sense, but don’t be afraid to seek advice from more experienced teachers (at your school)or ones you know at other schools). Whether they have taught for 3 years or 30 years, chances are they have experienced things that can he help as you begin your teaching career.
*Experienced teachers should use their colleagues as a resource as well!