It’s a new school year! The kids are excited. The teachers are excited. Everyone is fresh and rested after their summer vacation and looking forward to the learning adventures that await them.
Why not harness all that first-day enthusiasm to set your class up for success all year long? Below are five tips for having a successful school year. By following them, you can set a positive tone that will inform your classroom — and inspire your students all year.
- Create connections. Your students are individuals, with their own hopes, dreams and ideas. By having personal interactions with each student as early in the school year as possible, you will build relationships that will allow you to inspire your students to learn. Strong personal connections will also let you reach them effectively when problems arise.
- Set the tone. Children have an amazing ability to meet the highest expectations set for them. If they know you’re confident they can achieve the learning goals you have planned, they will strive to meet that expectation. Make those goals clear in the first few days of school. Find a way to document them, too — a chart at the front of the classroom, for example. Then, update that chart biweekly or monthly, so your students can concretely track their progress.
- Set clear expectations. Children of all ages need clear boundaries. They can’t, however, follow your classroom rules unless they understand just what those rules are. Clearly outline your classroom rules, and the consequences for breaking them, at the beginning. Post your rules prominently and review them with your class at the start of the school year. Not only is it important to review these rules verbally, but it is also beneficial to practice routines and procedures to ensure full comprehension. Younger students will benefit from a daily review for the first few weeks of school.
- Follow through. Having rules is only step one. Enforcing them is step two. While it may be tempting to overlook small infractions, especially from those students who rarely misbehave, at the start of the year while you’re trying to engender warm feelings among your students, this sets a dangerous precedent. When one infraction is overlooked, kids will often want to see what other rules no longer apply. While there will be times to bend those rules — when a student is sick, for example, or struggling with a problem at home — do so deliberately, not simply because you’re trying to be nice or are feeling too tired to follow through.
- Have fun! You became a teacher because you love children and the challenge of helping them learn. Never forget that! Your classroom should be a place where learning is fun, and you look forward to teaching. Children learn best — and remember concepts longer — when they’re actively engaged in the learning process, as well. Nothing is as engaging as fun.
These tips for starting the school year off right are just a few ways to help ensure a successful school year. Having the best tools on hand is also key. Consider incorporating Daybreak Lesson Plans into your toolkit. Whether you need to have lesson plans available for substitute teachers, or you just want a few lessons on hand for those “emergency” days when other plans fall through, Daybreak Lesson Plans will provide you and your students with high-quality, grade-specific learning activities. Lesson plans are scripted, so anyone can easily deliver them, and include an exit ticket so you will know exactly what your students have been learning while you were away.