Every month, we select a theme or a subject relevant to education, which becomes the centre of all our content creation efforts. For the month of May, our theme is Back to School, as pretty soon schools will be up and running like before. Students and teachers will be heading back to school after their long vacations, most will be returning after a long gap of 2 years due to Covid.
We hosted a webinar on this theme as part of our Education for Life webinar series which was also titled Back to School. The webinar was graced by expert education experts who shared new insights about the role of schools in modern education, and how students and teachers can transition into schools after a continuous period of online learning. You can find the complete recording of this webinar here.
In our last blog post, we outlined the significance of being physically present in schools and how they impact one’s life development. In this post, we discuss how teachers can be prepared to welcome a new class of students back to school to make the transition smooth and enjoyable for all.
Going back to school after the holidays is exciting and thrilling for most students. However, students also feel anxious about starting a new academic year, meeting new teachers and new friends in class. Ditto for parents.
Teachers can play an important role in helping ease this pressure that students and parents feel during the first few days of school with some prior preparation. Let’s see how.
1. Fix a Welcome Note
As parents and students reach your classroom, greet them with a warm welcome note along with other information on whether they could accompany their child inside the classroom, help them settle, where they should pick their children and so on.
2. Get Them to Know You
When introducing yourself to your new class, in addition to telling them your name, subjects you teach and so on, make it a point to also share your story. Tell them why you became a teacher, what you like the most about your job and even about your family. You can also share your childhood stories and how you would feel on your first day of school. This would establish a strong connect with them encouraging them to open to you and the entire class.
3. Set Positive Expectations
You are most likely to set new rules, expectations and guidelines for your new class. While doing so, don’t emphasize on what’s not allowed, but more on what’s allowed. Instead of saying “No eating during the class” say “Eating is permitted during break times and recesses”. Find ways to eliminate negatives words such as “Not allowed”, “Don’t”, “Never”. This would make your rules seem less restricting and more accommodating.
4. Welcome Questions
It’s very important that you let your new class know that they are welcome to ask you questions. They should know that they won’t be judged, belittled or shamed for asking any question by anyone in the classroom whether it’s you or their peers. This goes a long way in creating a comfortable learning environment where collaborative learning can be nurtured. That is, letting your students guide and direct the course of the lessons based on their interests, which can be gauged by the questions they ask.
5. Plan Ice Breaker Games
The best way to put every child of your class at ease on their first day is to make them play games. Think and plan a few ice breakers games to help them loosen up a bit and get to know each other. This is also a great way for you to make observations about the behaviour and nature of each student. You could make mental notes about your observations which will come in handy when you interact with them later.
6. Write a note addressing parents
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, parents too feel the anxiety when their child begins a new session in school. Before you call the day off, write a note for them describing what to expect in the upcoming academic year, their role and measure of participation, projects and assignments and other such information would make it easy for them to deal with the stresses involved with new academic sessions. This could either be a common e-mail or a print out that you hand out to students.
7. Have Excess Stationery
Children have this tendency to obsess over stationery and even lose them ever so often. Don’t let children fret over their stationery supplies. Have a few stationery items including pens, pencils, whiteboard markers, colour pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, rulers and so on, at your desk so that your students don’t fret over losing them or not carrying them to school.
8. Plan & Include Technology
Today, technology has become indispensable in education. Whether it’s engaging digital content, interactive videos or attractive animations — there’s a wide range of learning solutions made possible by technology. Before the school starts, you can curate digital content through multiple sources, so that you can easily present or share them with your students when you deliver corresponding lessons. Learning platforms such as Deetya enable teachers to do this effortlessly and across a diverse forms of content such as text, audio, video, e-books and more.
As we all await the re-opening of schools, especially after being away from them for two long years, parents, teachers and students are all eager and filled with excitement. We know every teacher has their own style and way of welcoming their new class. These are a few ideas to get you started.
Do you have any ideas in mind that we missed? If so, please do feel free to share them in the Comments section below so that your peers can take inspiration.
TeachPro+ is a community portal dedicated to the growth and development of teachers. We have recently launched our Teacher’s program called iTeach 101 which an increasing number of professional educators, trainers and coaches are benefiting from. If you’re interested to know more about it, you can check it out here.