Well, it is that time of year again, back to school! As always, summer has flown by. The leisurely days of sleeping in, eating breakfast late, lounging by the pool, and easy dinners on the grill, are long gone. Now it is time to focus back into a routine.
As a mom of two elementary students and a teacher of twenty years, I have found that my students flourish when there is structure and rountine. Thats leads to my first piece of advice, stick to a routine, and display structure. Sure some teachers may have a laid back attitude, but I have found that when I post the daily schedule on the board, the kids notice it, read it and stay focused better. They know when their work needs to be completed. It truly keeps the younger students on track.
Secondly, keep a fresh, positive attitude. We are the only profession in the world that gets a clean slate every year. If your group from last year had low test scores, behavior problems, family problems, etc., do not let it reflect on your new group. They are fresh new faces with new strengths and new weaknesses. Embrace it!
Encourage your students to set up a homework rountine. Perhaps they could designate a special location in their house where they wish to complete their evening work. Have them draw that spot for you. Allow the child to explain it to their classmates. If it is a noisy location or a spot that might seem unproductive, gently suggest another location. Older students can write about that special place and share it with their class. It might also help the children if they do their homework at the same time everyday … again a rountine is important!
Use an assignment notebook. If your school does not provide them, you can easily pick up a spiral binder for 20 cents and use those. It is a quick and easy way to communicate with parents. It does not involve making a lengthly phone call or typing an email. Let the student copy their assignments down and complete them at home. It makes the child responsible for their learning. In turn, they should feel proud. Inform the parents at Parent Orientation that if they have any questions or feedback to write those thoughts in the notebook. You will see the comments first thing in the morning and give you time to respond. Positive, informative communication at the beginning of the year can truly set your tone for the months to come!
I know these are just tiny tidbits of ideas, but at the elementary level, they go a long way!
Have a successful year!
Julie M. – Grade 4 Teacher – Ohio