How to have a great school year
It’s the beginning of the school year here in Georgia. Teachers, parents and students alike are abuzz with anticipation and excitement. Educators have been hard at work for days; setting up classrooms, planning lessons and getting everything ready for that big first day that sets the tone for the year.
First impressions, first days and first weeks are important. There are many things that can’t be controlled and often we focus on these things: the students in the class, the curriculum, our co-workers, the administration at our school.
What can we control?
What can we do to get the year off to a great start and create the conditions necessary for a great school year? There’s a lot!
Six Strategies for a Stellar School Year
- Set an intention–Not to get all woo-woo on you here but this is a useful technique for whatever you are doing that is new. Athletes, entertainers and CEO’s use this technique successfully to create optimum performance. It can work equally well for educators.
- Begin with the end in mind. Picture or visualize how you want your classroom to be the first day of school. The tendency is to be so busy doing (assigning textbooks, putting up bulletin boards, making lessons plans) that we expend all of our energy and don’t take the time to be. Imagine how you want the room to feel; excited, enthusiastic, focused, curious, etc.
- Plan your teaching method–Look at your materials and curriculum with a renewed fresh look. Imagine that you are seeing it for the first time. How will you engage students, pique their curiosity, personalize the message? Make sure the classroom environment reflects your new vision.
- Get to know your students as individuals–learn names, histories and special needs. Make advance arrangements for special needs or circumstances.
- Stay positive–it is really easy to let the negative drag you down. There are always too many things to do, too many students to adequately serve, too few resources, too many meetings to attend and not enough time. Reserve judgement. Expect the unexpected and see it as a learning experience. Choose to be a positivity role model for your students and you will find your enthusiasm is contagious.
- Focus on and process the experience as much as the material. It’s easy to bemoan the fact that it’s hard to teach because of all the extenuating factors in students’ lives. Instead view those circumstances as teachable moments. Sometimes the biggest lesson you can teach is how to handle disappointment and adversity.
- Take care of yourself–there will never be enough time to do it all. One reason you became a teacher was because of your creative, heart-centered giving spirit. Make sure sure that you direct that energy toward yourself as well as your students. When you take care of yourself, you are modeling for students how they can take care of themselves and that is an invaluable lesson.
A great school counselor resource! Here are activities, lesson plans, discussion questions, coloring sheets, word search puzzles and games for each of the nine Wyatt the Wonder Dog Books. Create lessons that develop cooperation, teamwork and leadership skills to quickly extend and incorporate the Wyatt stories.