Our top tips for new teachers preparing for the start of a new school term
When you are just starting out as a teacher, the approach of a new school term can feel a little daunting. However, by getting organised and preparing yourself, you can ensure that you feel confident and ready for anything when you walk through those school gates! Here are some fantastic tips to help you.
1. Look ahead
No matter how difficult or draining you found the last term, starting a new term with a positive mindset and focusing on what you can change and improve will put you in the right headspace from the get-go. While teaching will always be challenging, the more experience you have, the easier it will be to manage the more difficult times, to learn from past mistakes, and to put helpful measures in place to keep you organised, motivated and productive.
2. Learn about your students as individuals
Getting to know your students and understanding their unique needs can be one of the most rewarding aspects of a teacher's job. A new term may bring with it a whole new class and discovering their learning styles, interests and attitude towards your subject can help you get the most out of them. Learning about your students can also help you tackle any behavioural problems or difficulties with a better understanding of what is causing them - therefore finding a solution more easily.
3. Give a warm welcome
First impressions count and by introducing yourself to your new class in a warm and friendly way, you are demonstrating to them that you are approachable. Some students may be new to the school themselves and feeling nervous, so make an extra effort to ensure everyone feels welcomed and settled and that they can talk to you openly about any problems or concerns they may have.
4. Communicate with parents
Having a good relationship with the parents of your students can also be extremely helpful and will enable you to talk more openly and positively about how to get the best out of their children, as well as discuss any problems they might be having. Establishing strong lines of communication from the outset will help parents feel kept in the loop with their children's progress and this can lessen demands further down the line. It's important to communicate with parents both the bad and the good. If you take the time to let parents know when their child has achieved something positive, students will feel acknowledged, as though their efforts are being rewarded, and will be more inclined to keep up the good work!
5. Set expectations
Your class should be under no illusions as to what's expected of them. By setting rules, the tone and being explicit on what you want to achieve and what's expected of them you'll all be on the same page. Children should understand what's expected of them in terms of work and behaviour. By aligning goals and expectations you are making it clear from the very first day what they need to do.
6. Get organised
Every teacher knows that there is a lot of work and planning involved in the job, and if you aren't super organised, things can quickly pile up and become overwhelming. The key is to put systems in place before the new term starts. If you wait until you are already in it, you'll soon find yourself behind. Plan as much as you can in advance and also work out your schedule as much as possible to ensure that you stay on track. While you won't be able to create detailed or exact lesson plans far in advance, you can do a lot of the skeleton work which will give you a much needed head start and help alleviate the pressure later in the term. Use filing systems and online applications to assist your organisation too. You should also use the holiday time before term starts to stock up on supplies that you'll need to make sure your class runs smoothly. Bulk buying ahead of time will mean you always have what you need and can save you money in the long run too.
7. Get to know your colleagues
Making an effort with your colleagues when you are a new teacher is a great idea. Not only will more experienced teachers be a great source of support, they'll also be able to share knowledge and resources that could prove invaluable to you. So don't waste any time trying to get to know everyone, and you'll find your day to day working life much easier - and more enjoyable too.
8. Stay calm, healthy and positive
Teaching is never going to be without its challenges, but by staying calm and positive even when things get a little stressful, you'll be able to manage your heavy workload and other demands with a positive mindset. Staying calm under pressure and making sure you look after yourself, both mentally and physically is important. Try to get enough sleep, eat healthily and explore tried and tested stress reducing techniques to help you when you are feeling under pressure.
So are you ready for the new term?
By using the tips above, you can rest assured that you are doing everything possible to prepare yourself for a great term ahead. With these tips, whatever the classroom throws your way, you'll be able to keep a cool head and a positive attitude that will mean you give yourself and your students the very best chance of success.
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