5 Tips for Teachers to Start the School Year the Right Way
The weather is (somewhat) cooling down, the sun is setting earlier, and school buses are starting to fill the roads once again. Summer vacation is over and it’s time to dust off those textbooks. For teachers, a new school year is another opportunity to help the next generation learn and make sense of the world around them.
The last couple of school years have been shaped by a pandemic — and all the mask-wearing and disinfecting have basically become the norm.
The times are always changing and it’s a teacher’s responsibility to navigate their students through muddied waters.
Students almost always think the school year is a drag, spoiling the two-month party of summer break. As a teacher, you can make the classroom a haven that can positively define their formative years. Here's how:
Over two years later, we’re still in a pandemic. By now, you should be a pro in instructing your students to wash their hands often and disinfect surfaces they've touched. Likewise, your students probably have their hand-washing techniques down to a science, so the best course of action is to continue down that road.
Cleanliness and basic hygiene will never go out of style, so make sure you're stocked up on essentials like face masks and hand wipes this year.
Making an Amazon wishlist is a great way to stock up on school supplies without breaking the bank. Share the link on your social media feeds and the rest will take care of itself. There will always be someone willing to lend a helping hand.
Use our Pharmacy Finder tool to find the nearest independent pharmacy near you to start stocking up on these back-to-school essentials.
Truly great teachers are selfless with their time and energy, giving so much of themselves for the betterment of their students. That doesn’t mean your health or mental well-being has to suffer.
Work-life balance is always a tricky thing, especially with how teachers typically work well beyond school hours. Make sure you’re giving yourself enough rest and sleep to truly recover from the likely-hectic days you have.
Have your lunchtime be a true break from the day, too. Bring a book (unrelated to whatever you’re teaching) and refrain from scrolling through social media during these precious few minutes of peace.
Your brain will thank you for not overstimulating yourself with needless information.
Now let’s look at that lunchbox. Packing your lunch with fried foods, fluffy desserts, or other processed foods will make you sluggish and your lessons will suffer as a result.
Meal prep is your best friend. Look up healthy recipes that pique your interest and give them a try. You’ll avoid the late-night stresses of making a plate if you plan and cook for the week ahead on Sundays. Cooking can also be therapeutic, so it’s a win-win.
Check out our blog on superfoods for all of the best ingredients to incorporate in your recipes..
There are plenty of affordable healthy foods that will give you the energy to take on the rest of the day. Fill your bag with granola bars, apples, small vegetables, and other small snacks that you can eat guilt-free.
Students aren’t the only ones who learn while in school. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the classroom or you just finished your final college exam weeks ago, there is always something to learn and gain as a teacher.
Reflect on the positives of the previous year. What lessons or assignments did your students resonate with and how can you make them even better? What can you change about the ones that fell flat or didn’t land?
Granted, there are several aspects of the school curriculum that cannot be explicitly changed, so try to find some wiggle room to put your stamp on a given lesson.
Think back on everything you've learned in the last few years. Consider the ways you would’ve handled them differently and internalize those lessons for the upcoming school year.
No one is above learning something new and that is especially the case for teachers. Your lessons and approach to teaching students should evolve and change with the times, just like the students themselves.
We all love story arcs. Having a completely different group of students every single year gives you a finite amount of time to truly establish a relationship with them. The clock starts ticking once that bell rings on the first day, so use your time wisely.
Whether you’re teaching English, algebra, or even home economics, try to find a theme that you can apply for the whole year.
It doesn’t even have to be super specific or relevant to the task at hand (trying to relate Shakespeare with city infrastructure is a bit of a stretch) so don’t wear your brain out.
What matters is that the year students spend in your classroom doesn’t feel like purgatory.
If you establish a beginning, middle, and end to the year, students will feel like they’ve truly grown over the course of the term gradually looking forward to the day ahead — which is an impressive feat at any age.
You’re not the only authority figure here. As a teacher, you’re expected to educate your students on a given subject and how it pertains to everyday life — all the more reason to have a rapport with their parents.
Though they don’t have a say in a school’s curriculum, it never hurts to learn about your student from the parents who have literally been there from the beginning.
They know your student better than anyone else and have an unconditional investment in their future. You can then start to have a sense of how to reach your students’ attention and be aware of potentially sensitive topics.
Though there is a clear divide in dynamics between the teacher and the parent, making them feel heard and acknowledged will go a long way in your student’s success.
Take the rapidly approaching school year as another opportunity to mentor and guide the next generation of leaders. Though there are a few health issues to look out for, don’t let them deter you from giving truly valuable lessons to those who genuinely need them.
Remember that the year ahead is a marathon, not a race, so gently acclimate your students back to the academic rhythm and enjoy the journey for what it is — just make sure you have your Advil handy.