…And start the school year afresh.
Although we don’t have 500 days of summer—vacation, that is—we can easily get used to how life is like in those two-month break we’re given. Imagine how our summer was like. Frolicking on the beach, endless movie and series marathons, hours and hours of dates with friends, or simply relaxing at home after waking up long after the roosters have crowed. Who wouldn’t get used to that?
But alas, now that June is here, all those would have to be set aside as we start to face another school year with the students. So, before you dig out those uniforms, long forgotten lesson plans, and hit the back to school sales at the mall, you might want to read this TFT article first. *winks*
1. Where I work, classes will start on June 14. At least a week before classes start, go back to your sleeping habits. What time do you usually sleep during school days? I usually sleep at around 10 or 11pm when there are no classes but starting this week, no more staying late updating my status and checking other people’s Facebook pages. Guess we would also have to bid adieu to late night coffee or drink with friends as well. You wouldn’t want to your students to think they’re stuck with a zombie-looking teacher with such dark circles around her eyes, would you?
2. Though some schools take care of the supplies for classroom decoration, there are still times that the ones stashed in your school don’t fit our personal taste. I was at the mall yesterday and there were long lines at every counter at the book store. So go ahead, hit the mall the soonest possible time for those supplies you would need for decorating your classroom. Like, uh, tomorrow? Just visit book stores long before classes start. Or prepare to be squeezed in the throng of last-minute shoppers and trapped in long lines.
3. Buy a sturdy umbrella and jacket. Back to school means it’s rainy season once again. But remember to stay fashionable despite the rainy season. Stay dry in style. You might want to add rubber slippers to the list, too.
4. Time to dust those buried lesson plans! Put in a binder or neat folder plans that you think could still be used for the coming school year. Those lesson plans could be of immense help once you have to deal with the dreaded UbD (Understanding by Design). What you find may turn out gold. Those you think are already outdated, dispose immediately! Or you might have second thoughts and use stuff that are no longer relevant.
5. Have all your uniforms for the week ironed. This was my usual problem. What I used to do is iron the clothes the morning I need them and at times that I press the snooze button more times than I should, I end up late because I still have to iron my clothes in so little a time. Now I learned my lesson. If you iron them at once before the week starts, you don’t have to rush preparing them in case you wake up a little later than you should. Plus, doing that helps save electrical energy.
6. When you report to school before classes start, browse through your students’ files to give you even just a little hint on what kind of students you will have to deal with. You could also start memorizing student-parent’s names so it would be easier recalling whose parents is who when you finally get to meet them during PT meetings.
7. Go to a spa. Get a haircut. Have a facial massage. Watch your feel-good movie. Play your games. Do whatever will make you feel more rejuvenated. I usually do this and it helps me relax as I face another first day. It helps make me feel great and who knows? I might just rub that attitude off on the rest of my students. Trust me, students notice the most trivial of things. They notice the price tag under your shoes so obviously, they would notice if you’re a nervous wreck.
Classroom Chaos no more
8. Browse through websites that could give you fresh ideas in decorating your classroom. You can visit this page if you think that birthday wall you have in your room badly needs an overhaul. Get rid of those torn decorations that’s been sitting there for a decade or two! It’s a new school year, students would want to feel they’re in a cool, new place.
9. Get rid of the conventional “I am [insert name here]. I am [insert age here] years old and I live in [insert address here] in first day introductions. Students will barely remember what their classmates will say! Instead, look for a new and exciting way students can introduce themselves to each other. You can play Getting to Know You or Name Pantomime if you haven’t tried those yet. If you handle older students, you may want to visit this site for more ideas.
10. Affect the students with that contagious energy of yours. During first day of school, what they’re more interested in is to show off their new bags, shoes, and whatnots to their classmates, to you even. So get them excited with the school year ahead. Tell them fun and exciting things they would do and learn with you and the rest of the class. Introduce how their new textbooks could actually be–surprise, surprise–enjoyable.
11. Although very few actually like rules, teachers have no choice but to actually give students some. Or expect a chaotic classroom. First day of school is vital in establishing with students what you expect from them and what things will help make your classroom a better one. Orient them where they shou ld throw their trash or where the comfort room is. Emphasize that they should raise their hand if they want to answer. Show them the signal when you’re asking them to be quiet. You get the point. Tell them the consequences of their actions. Give them the rules and do so on the first day. But inform them in a friendly, non-threatening way. But do as y ou say. When I was teaching college students in a 7am class, I told them I give a quiz every first minute of the class. This is to encourage students to strive to be in the classroom before 7am. I make it a point to stick to this rule every single meeting to avoid hearing this complaint: There was no quiz just when I came to class early!
12. Pray. Start the school year with a prayer, a sincere prayer. Don’t lead them with those memorized ones. Utter a prayer that genuinely seeks God’s wisdom and guidance to help get you through a new school year–one that everyone in the class will look forward to.
Photo Source: Pierre Marius