Taking the plunge,  or ideas to kick off a new school year

Discover new ideas and inspirations to get a new year off to a great start. Regardless of whether the end of the summer holiday concerns or excites you, the truth is that the new school year is just around the corner. It might be a good idea then to make sure that the first bell does not bring on unnecessary nervousness  and that first lessons and meetings will be stress free. Below are some ideas to get you started. Ready to take the plunge?

First impressions last, or new  students meet new teachers

● Describe your first lesson with new students, place the description in an envelope and put it in your desk. Open it at the end of school. If you feel like it, you can share what you wrote. Were you first impressions right?  How have you changed during this time? What has the time spent with these people teach you?

● Ask students to do a similar exercise – have them write about their own expectations, the first meeting, or the first lesson. Tell them to place their answers in separate envelopes which you then put into one big envelope. You will open it together in a few years – everybody will  read their card and share their thoughts.

● Try to remember  your first lesson, the first class / group you taught for several years, the first graduates, the first students you completed a project with. What do you remember? What have you learned from this experience? What advice would you give yourself from that time?

● Think about the first meeting with colleagues after the holidays. Perhaps you can do something new together? Do you remember meeting them for the first time when you were a new

teacher? Maybe there is someone new joining your team? How will you welcome them? Or maybe you are the new person this year?

Take control, or new ideas and new challenges …

● Make a list of things you need or want to do first with your new students. Then think about how you want to go about it.  Like always, because you have some tested and proven methods?  Perhaps  you will introduce some small changes  to your routine? Or maybe you will do something completely different?

● Reflect on how you go about making a to-do list with a new group of students or simply a list of things you need to take care of at the beginning of the school year. Bullet points? A table? How do you decide on the importance and urgency of your tasks? Do you arrange them  chronologically? Perhaps this time you can make this list differently? Why not add colours if you haven’t done so before? Or perhaps you could make a mind map instead of a list or the other way round? Does the fact that you are doing it for the first time change anything about your list? Will new elements appear on it? Maybe something unexpected will happen? Or maybe this time you will abandon the idea of making a list at all?

● Did you do something for the first time in the previous school year? Did you use any new new tools, methods, forms of work? What did this teach you? Plan your “first time” for this school year. Maybe there is something you learned during the summer?

Perhaps something you have read or something that has been waiting in your notebook or on your list of useful websites  way too long? Maybe you will try it for the first time this year?

● Are you starting a new textbook this  year? With a new curriculum? Look at them as your allies who

will help you plan your work. Do new coursebooks contain exercises you have never done before?  What do you think about them now? How do you think your students will respond to them?

At first glance, or new texts and  new inspirations…

● Start a new school year with a new calendar and / or notebook for ideas, thoughts, scribbles that may one day turn into a new project or venture.  On the first page, write or draw what

you feel at the start of the new school year.

● Decide which book you will read  first this year. Will it be a methodology or self-improvement book, another volume of your favourite series, or perhaps something that has long been waiting on the shelf waiting to be read?

● Is there any new skill you would like to learn this year?  Find a training session, do not put it off. Perhaps you will consider watching a free training on a topic that you have never been particularly interested in? Inspiration can sometimes come from where you least expect it. You might also consider running a training session for your colleagues?

● If you have your own classroom, go and see it for the first time after the holidays. Perhaps it is time you made some changes?  Maybe the wonderful school bulletin that has been there for a couple of years should give way to something new? Tidy your desk – do you really need everything you keep there? Maybe you need to throw something away or get something new? Or perhaps you can think of a new use for an old gadget you keep there? Good luck in your new school year and all those things which will happen for the first time!

Author: Ewa Torebko

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