5 Ways to Prepare for Going Back to School Posted on 30 August 2021 by Amber Gravenell - Kent Teach in Schools It is undeniable the 2020 to 2021 school year has been unprecedented and unlike anything many of us have seen or experienced before. With the Covid-19 pandemic still featuring heavily in our lives, it is understandable that the prospect of returning to school this September could be a little overwhelming for school staff. Even under normal circumstances, the prospect of returning to school in September after a much-needed summer break can be slightly daunting. September marks the start of a blank page; a whole new school year waiting to be written. Inevitably September presents the challenge of getting to know your new class, ensuring long-term and medium-term planning is completed and preparing for pupil progress meetings, parents evening and school trips to name a few! But there is always an undercurrent of excitement for welcoming the new school year. After all, teaching is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling professions which truly makes a difference each and every day to the lives of young people. It is important to focus on this rather than feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of returning to the classroom after a 6-week break (punctuated by preparation for the school year and much needed recovery, of course!). At Kent-Teach, we want to help make returning to school easier and as stress-free as possible. Alleviating any undercurrent of stress and anxiety will help you feel more prepared for that all important first day back. Here are some simple tips to help ensure you are organised and ready!1) Write a ListNow we know that many of you will have already started preparing your new classroom at the end of the summer term as well as mapping out long-term and medium-term planning in advance. However, with teaching, it is likely there are some tasks that still need to be tackled once the classroom doors reopen for pupils. Writing a list is a simple and traditional method of organisation. The list could include things such as arranging tables and chairs according to a seating plan, ensuring pencil pots/pencil cases are stocked with the required stationary the children will need, noting down evidence that should be collected to feature on working walls and remembering to stock yourself up from the supply cupboard with glue sticks, board pens and marking pens! It is useful for all classroom staff to have a list of gentle reminders of things to do. 2) Timetables Timetables are a brilliant way of ensuring all tasks are completed and allocating the appropriate amount of time to complete specific tasks. The vast majority of teachers follow classroom timetables to help structure their day. Classroom timetables are also beneficial for the pupils as they are prepared for the day ahead and know which subjects they will be studying each day. However, there are many additional ways to use timetables, such as a marking timetable to organise which subjects you will mark when and for how long, personal development time to help prioritise your own wellbeing and producing timetables to assist classroom assistants with their classroom tasks day to day. 3) Self-preparation Feeling prepared mentally, emotionally and physically is essential. Your wellbeing matters. Treat yourself a new pencil case stocked with colourful stationary, some pretty notebooks to adorn your desk, an academic diary and essentials, such as a teacher’s stash of emergency chocolate, tissues and hand sanitiser! Allocate yourself a desk drawer to store your goodies. Make sure you allocate time each day to complete your preferred method of exercise as well as time to relax and catch up with family and friends in the evenings. This will not only ensure organisation but also ensures you look after yourself and your needs. 4) Reflection Before the classroom doors reopen take the time to reflect on your own teaching journey. Think back to previous year and ask yourself some reflective questions: • What did I learn last year?• What was my best moment and how can I have more moments like that?• Did I meet my targets? What new targets could I set myself?• What do I love about my job?• How do I want to progress in my career?• What could I improve about my teaching practice?As well as reflecting on your personal practice, think back to September 2020 and that all important first week back. What went well? What could have gone better? Did you provide enough information to parents/carers about yourself and what to expect in the upcoming academic year? Did you get to know your pupils and your class well enough before delving into learning? 5) Relax and have faith in yourself The most important thing is to enjoy the last few days of the summer holiday – take the time to relax and prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. September is a busy month in the classroom, and it is important you are well-rested and prepared. Moreover, remember you are amazing. You make a difference every day to the lives of your pupils. You’ve got this! From all the team at Kent-Teach, we wish you the very best of luck and happiness with your class in the year ahead. If you are seeking more classroom inspiration, then why not read our blog ‘How Do You Foster a Classroom Environment Founded on Mutual Respect, Kindness and Support’ to help establish a positive and kind classroom environment?