Everyone gets nervous when its time for a new school term to commence. Students get nervous about what is expected of them, whether they will enjoy the educator/lesson and often whether or not they will pass their given subject areas. Educators get nervous too. Some of their concerns range from creating effective lessons to classroom management issues. Even though some students do not act like it…they want to make a good impression on the first day. In an educator’s case, they want to connect with their students so as to figure out the best ways to have productive and meaningful teaching experiences.
Most educators want to be prepared so a lot of thought is given to the right outfit, organising students’ seats, research of the prescribed texts, employing effective teaching strategies and the outlining rules in order to garner better outcomes.
We would like to spend some time to focus on making things a bit easier for our educators. Hopefully, we can assist a few to not be caught singing the new school term blues after reading this.
Reflect, Research and Revise
The three R’s are a good way to begin preparation. Approach it like a project. If you are a new teacher then it helps to do some research on your new school. How many students will you cater to? What are some of the new teaching methodologies for your subject area? What disciplinary problems do students have in your new school? What is the layout of the school like? Are there any changes that will affect you personally?
If you are returning to your old school then focus on areas such as changes in school policies that affect you and your students, new methodologies that may work for you and what changes may have been made to your work load.
Even if you are a new teacher you would have had some amount of preparation that placed you in an actual classroom setting. Spend some time reflecting on that experience and take note of the pros and cons of that experience. How were your lessons received? Did you try a disciplinary technique that resulted favourably? What were some of the highlights of that time? Did you learn anything meaningful from your colleagues, students and the experience that you can apply going forward? Are there new techniques in teaching that you should learn about before you begin the new term?
Revision can be a very helpful tool. Once you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, the revision process can begin. If in your last term, the seating arrangements led to too much distraction among students. Change it up. Last term, students responded very well to a particular teaching technique. Improve upon it. Students enjoyed a particular author. Find more of that author’s work or authors that communicate in a similar way with their writing. Whatever it is that you did that worked well; improve upon it. Whatever it is that was not well received; find ways to make it better.
Embrace the Adventure
Teaching is a rewarding profession. Find creative ways to explore your subject area with your students. Think back to a time when you taught a particular lesson and your students really got it. Think on that particular student who is usually slow having that ‘voila!’ moment right before your eyes. Think about that brilliant student who surpassed your highest expectations. Through exploration you will find many rich moments of discovery that will reward you greatly.
There are some days when your lessons are going to inspire you all over again when you share them. There are some days when you may feel a bit frustrated because a particular lesson didn’t go as planned. Embrace each moment. Look at what went wrong, when it did and start thinking about how to make it better. Find creative ways to shake things up within reason.
You have the good fortune (some may disagree) of standing before a myriad of different personalities who look to you for guidance. It is a big deal and at the same time it is an amazing thing. Each day, you are off on an adventure when you begin your work day. How it ends is entirely dependent on your perspective. So start the new term off right by looking at it as an exciting adventure that you are lucky to share with others!
Gratitude Makes It Better
It’s a new school term and guess what? You have a JOB!!!! That is worth celebrating! Be grateful that you have another shot at doing something that you enjoy, love or that keeps you financially independent. The more grateful you are for what you have, the easier everything else pans out. Be grateful for that student who tests your patience because he/she is making you more tolerant. Be grateful for that student who is slow in getting it because he/she is helping you to be more creative in your techniques. Be grateful for that student who is usually late because he/she is reminding you of the importance of time and is offering you an opportunity to get to know him/her. Be thankful for the critique that your supervisors offer because even though it may sound harsh; it gives you a shot to step up your game.
In conclusion, the new term beckons and is rich with promise. There are many things that you can do to make it worthwhile for your students as well as yourself and others. Use the three R’s, think of the new term as an exciting adventure where you will share so many great new things, learn in the process and be grateful. There is always something valuable in a failed attempt. It is OK to be nervous but get over it so you can start the new school term right!