We hope you have all had a lovely summer break and you feel relaxed and ready for the coming semester. To help you get started with the planning for the semester we wanted to give you some tips and ideas for where you maybe would like to focus and what would be important to make sure the students have an easy start for the school year and they adjust for the school routines easily.
Check on students wellbeing
Probably the most important thing to do once the students get back to school again, whether this happens remotely or not, is to check on how everyone is doing and talk about emotions and feelings in the class. The situation in different families during this exceptional year has varied a lot.
Some of the students have had the support of an adult they needed but some have lacked that. The lack of having a safe and trustworthy adult can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. And these feelings may come out in different ways in school.
Someone might act aggressively, someone might want to take the role of silly one, trying to make everyone laugh by being the goofy student, someone tries to be everyone’s best friend and make everyone happy and someone starts bullying others because they are not feeling well themselves.
Whatever the way in which the emotions and feelings of stress may come up in the classroom, you as a teacher need to prepare yourself for that and be there for the students.
Start to build the classroom spirit
The students have really missed their classmates and the need for a sense of belonging is enormous. Starting to build the classroom spirit again is really important. All of us have the need to feel that I am accepted in this group as who I am and my ideas and values are accepted; I am being seen and heard.
Having that idea as the ultimate goal in the background is a great way to start to get to know each other better. Even if the class already knows each other, they can always learn something new. For example, have a conversation in the class where everyone can tell you about one thing they really like.
This is a great opportunity to talk about the ways in which everyone needs to be taken into account in the class and how everyone’s opinions and ideas are equally important.
Start learning the social skills
A great way to start introducing the social skills again after the break is by having the students to tell about their summer break and what they have done. You can do this in pairs. Students ask each other about their summer and then listen to what the other has to say and comment on that.
The conversation skills, listening and caring about what the other has to say are key elements in successful social interaction. This is also a great tool for you to hear about what your students have been doing during the summer and maybe get an idea of how they are feeling and doing.
Other than practising social interaction, also beginning to practice friendship skills could be a great starting point for the year. You could together as a class make a poster to your classroom wall about how you are going to treat each other in the upcoming school year and what kind of skills you want to practice to become better friends for your classmates.
We hope you find these ideas useful and wish you luck for the beginning of the school year!