Ask any teacher the key to a prosperous new school year and the answer is sure to be a combination of a bit of patience and a lot of preparation! Whether you’re a first year teacher or a classroom connoisseur, beginning your school year preparations long before that first school bell rings will help ensure that you, and your new students, are ready for your best year yet!
Evaluate Last Year
If history is the best lesson, as they say, then taking some time to thoughtfully consider the challenges and successes of your previous school year will provide valuable insight as you plan ahead. Perhaps that new seating chart inspired students to new heights in socializing rather than on teamwork, as you had hoped for. Or you saw great strides in teamwork and responsibility as your students cared for the classroom’s pet hamster. There are valuable lessons to be learned from the past!
Happy New Year!
Now that you’ve reviewed the past, make some ‘new year’ resolutions sure to get your school year off to a wonderful start. Be mindful of the goals you would like to accomplish, but be sure not to over plan, overwhelming both you and your little learners. When planning your first month of school, be sure to include lots of interactivity among students that will help them to get to know one another and learn to work together, setting the stage for a year of togetherness.
Start a Classroom Kindness Campaign
When children feel comfortable in their environment, they are more likely to flourish. According to Karen Lamm, who has been teaching elementary school for nearly 20 years, “When students enter my classroom, the first things they need to know are that they are safe in my room and that they are loved. They don’t care how much I know, until they know how much I care.”
Create a culture of kindness in your classroom (and beyond!) that will inspire students to be mindful of others around them. Begin by showing kind behavior to everyone, especially those who fill other school roles, such as librarians, cafeteria personnel, and custodial staff.
Add ‘kindness week’ to your lesson plans during the first few months of school. Encouraging children to perform random acts of kindness for others all week long will help set the stage for a year full of thoughtful words and deeds.
Collaborate with other teachers for students to send kindness cards and notes to one another at random times throughout the school year. Especially when things get stressful or hectic around test times or when that long-awaited holiday season has yet to arrive, a little kindness will go a long way and add plenty of unexpected smiles.
Making the Grade
If there’s one sure thing about teaching, you’ll be grading papers from the beginning of the year until that summer bell rings. The subjects may change and the assignments will vary, but there are a few common errors you’re sure to see time and again. Rubber grading stamps designed especially for teachers are a simple, fun, and economical way to organize grading and help you ‘make the grade’ with students all year long! From stamps that offer friendly reminders such as ‘no name’ stamps and stamps requesting a parent’s signature to motivational stamps designed to provide a bit of extra inspiration, rubber stamps can add efficiency to your grading process.
Teachers are wonderful examples of champions for children, often planning well before the summer ends to ensure they’re off to a stellar school year in the fall. Being mindful of and adapting to the evolving needs of your classroom throughout the year will help you reach the last day of school with the happiest of smiles rather than an overwhelming sigh of relief!