So the school holidays are soon to be over. This means that when September comes, teachers will have a whole bunch of new names to remember, lesson plans to create and new minds to inspire.
There’s no denying that the first couple of weeks is a stressful time, so to help teachers get into the swing of things we thought we’d give a few tips on things you can do for when the new school year starts.
As you know, learning the names of pupils in your class as quickly as possible is important. It helps you interact and engage with your pupils on a more personal level, but getting the names right at first isn’t always easy. On the first day of class, here are just a few things you can do.
- The Introducing Game
Ask your pupils to introduce themselves by saying their own name and mentioning 3 interesting facts about themselves. Some pupils may have some interesting hobbies, families or creative ideas to share, making it a lot easier to remember their names.
- Word Association
This is used as a variation to the introducing game. Pupils simply introduce themselves using alliteration to their own name. Ask pupils to introduce themselves and tell them to mention one thing that they like that begins with the same letter. For example, “Chris” and “Computer Games”, “Ryan” and “Rugby” and so on.
- Name Then Answer
Ask pupils to say their name before they answer a question. This will also help other pupils become more aware of who is who in the class.
Plan Each Lesson
It sounds obvious, but every lesson should be planned with an end goal in mind. What is it you want your pupils to get out of from today’s lesson? What approach will you take? Always try to make sure each lesson is engaging and well-structured. Although some teachers have great success in re-using the same lesson plans for years and years, it is definitely worth considering analysing them every so often and deciding if it is worth perhaps tweaking them – is there something different you could try this year to get the message across? Having an engaging lesson is a sure way to help pupils remember key topics and keep them motivated to learn more.
Establish Class Rules Early On
Controlling a class of 25+ school children in one room is no easy task. Poor classroom management affects both, teaching and learning. Establishing the rules since day one is also very helpful in order for lessons to run smoothly in the classroom. A teacher's attitude is especially important; teachers should show firmness when directing students without being tempted to raise their voice when it can be avoided. Establishing respect and good teacher-pupil relationships is essential to learning and some teachers have found it helps to always talk to pupils in the corridors, especially the ones who are known for misbehaving.
Work-Life Balance & Stress
Teachers get a lot of grief for having 6 weeks off from their friends, but not many people realise how much extra after school work is involved – and it all adds up. Your health and well-being is important, and so it always helps if at the start of term if you can vow to yourself to not let your work interfere with your personal life. Yes, it’s not easy – every teacher has to mark homework, but maybe there is a different way you can manage it without it affecting the time you should have with friends and family. Teaching is a passion but you will always need some timeout from it to recover.
And last but not least, smile! Show your enthusiasm of teaching by simply smiling in front of your class and you’ll be amazed at how much pupils will feed off your positivity and energy in what you do. They’ll appreciate it and will look forward to your lessons. Do this enough, and you might turn out to be one of the ‘cool’ teachers in school – just like this Maths teacher.
Do you have any tips or ideas for teachers preparing themselves for the new school term? Let us know in the comments section below!