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School is Back!

Updated: Mar 28, 2021


"The best kind of teacher will give every student something to take home to think about, besides homework.”


It’s that time of year again where school is back in session. This year more than ever, teachers will need to make the transition back to school as smooth as ever. 2020 was one for the history books. A year of catastrophic events that students will be learning about for years to come. The students that went through remote learning last year will be anxious to see what this year brings, and hopeful for a different outcome to last. Our brand new students stepping into school for the first time this year still have that sparkle in their eye and all the curiosity and wonder in the world. Now is the time to harness and develop that sparkle, and to bring it back for the returning students.


So, how can we help students to settle with the return to school?


1. Make it exciting! The first day or even the first week at school is crucial for capturing the student’s attention. You want to get them excited about learning, excited about their classroom and classmates and of course you as the teacher. Involve games, team building and positive incentives in your lesson plans this week.


2. Set your expectations. Although we want the students to be excited about learning, we also need them to be committed. The first week is crucial for making your expectations clear. You need to outline the way in which you want students to interact with you, and with each other as well as your expectations for classroom management. Get the students involvement, ask them what rules they think should be in place. There is no better way to get commitment to a set of rules than by having the students create the rules themselves (within reason of course).


3. Provide structure and routine. As humans we really do operate at our best when we have a routine. Having a set way of doing things or a set schedule to the day will really help your students to adapt from having all the time in the world for their friends and games and sleep, to having a full day of learning and work. Using a visual schedule or weekly planner in the class will help the students to predict what is coming next, and therefore be more open and ready to learn.


4. Don’t overload the weekends. Of course homework is a crucial part of learning and of school life. However, I do recommend being a little on the light side for homework for the first couple of weeks. Try to ensure the students have free time on their weekends as the adjustment back to school and back to a routine can be quite tiring. By allowing your students this free time, they will be back on Monday feeling rested and rejuvenated.


5. Be a source of comfort. Educators more than anyone else in the world know and understand that some children will struggle with the return to school. Some will miss their parents and siblings and pets like crazy and it will be a hard transition for them to spend so much time away from home. Some students may have a hard home life and be excited to come to school but then will still struggle with the return to structure and routine. It is the teacher’s role to provide comfort, be understanding and reassuring. Try to give them space while still trying to involve them and capture their attention. Alter the lesson plan so they can have some alone time, or some group work or whatever you know they are missing. They will slowly involve themselves more and more in the class over time.

While this is no means an exhaustive list I hope it gives you a starting point of ideas. Next week brings the return to school and we are all hoping for 2021 to be a year filled with hope, wonder, learning and making new memories. Let’s make sure we kick off the year with the right foot forward and help our students to reach their potential.




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