The new school year is nearly upon us and it’s nerve-wracking for any pupil but imagine being the teacher! Yes, starting in new surroundings can be a daunting prospect for even the most confident teacher. Which is why we have put together some ‘pearls of wisdom’ to ensure you get off to a flying start.
Let’s start with an easy one. Understandably your new students are nervous to see their new teacher and find out what they are like. By smiling you put your best foot forward and create a warm, welcoming environment. Pupils will feel like they can approach you and talk to you about things. They’ll go home that day safe in the knowledge that their teacher is ‘all right’.
Set out the plan and expectations for the year
Before you head into the classroom create an outline in your head of how you want the year to go. Then talk through the plan for the year for your pupils and discuss their expectations. To manage behaviour get them involved in what is expected of them. Allow them to create the ‘rules’ around how they should behave and ask them to discuss the suitable reprimands should they break them.
In doing this you set their expectations of each other and allow them, to some extent, to police themselves. By giving them the illusion of autonomy, they will respect you and listen to you throughout the year.
Learn their names straight away
Connect with your students by learning their names straight away. Whilst it’s not always possible, learning them before they’ve even started would be doubly impressive. Perhaps the school has a passport photo of each of your students.
In the same manner, introduce yourself, tell them a little bit about your summer holidays and ask them to do the same. You could talk a little bit about where you grew up, how many brothers or sisters you have and tell them that you are excited to meet them.
Ask them to write about their summer holidays
Once you’ve told them a little bit about your summer, ask them to write about their own and hand them in at the end of the class. Not only will you get an insight into each one of your new class members but it gives you the option to provide feedback on their writing, showing that you care – even if you respond with ‘it looks like you had a busy summer’.
Create a welcoming environment
You don’t have to be a talented interior designer to create an environment that is both comfortable and conducive to learning. Make your classroom warm by introducing bulletin boards, desk decorations, posters, including the syllabus but even a silly one like a Simpsons’ poster might be a nice asset.
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