Going back to school can be hetic, tense and exciting all at the same time. To help you ease back into the groove, Gareth has put together his 6 ways that can help educators.
1. Make a marks book
Teaching is all about evidencing achievement, behaviour, uniform, emotional wellbeing and so forth. So do yourself a favour and have your marks book ready to go from the outset.
I favour Excel spreadsheets because they are most compatible with other software; or if you’re old-school, get yourself a paper ledger. Do your best to avoid solely storing your data on the school’s marks book software. The server crashes; someone inadvertently deletes all your data; your marks are fiddled with to boost school percentages. Have your own copy for when disputes arise. Also having your own marks book means you can monitor things like who constantly forgets their pen.
2. Don’t play ‘getting to know you’ games
A lot of scholarly advice will recommend playing ‘getting to know you’ games to ease into a new school year. I say, “No!”
Unless you’ve got a Nursery class or a Year 7 class, everyone in your class will probably know more than they care to know about their peers’ families, pets and hair colour preferences. Why lose their attention by playing some infantile game, when you can dive straight into learning from the outset.
And for goodness sake, don’t spend time going through course outlines or explaining what is going to happen during the year.
Half the excitement is not knowing what will happen next. Did The Lego Movie begin with a plot synopsis and character profiling? No. It began with volcanic eruptions and Morgan Freeman voicing a Lego wizard who announced, “He is coming. Cover your butt”; and children knew exactly what was going on.
3. Leave at 4.30pm each day
You’ve just spent six weeks in the Cyclades, sipping wine and cashing in on the fall of the Greek economy. Now you find yourself back in the office, confronted with overpriced coffee from Starbucks and a bunch of screaming children. So don’t go overboard with the late nights during the first week.
Set your alarm clock for 4.30pm each day and then leave the office accordingly. It will make it seem like you’re still enjoying the summer holidays. Then you can buckle down in week 2 and begin your usual 59.3 hour working week schedule.
4. Read some history books
So your holidays were spent exploring castles, museums and landmarks, becoming more cultured than the bacteria in your probiotic health drink. Don’t let that knowledge and learning go to waste.
Pick up a book relating to something that grabbed your attention whilst on holiday. By reading more about it, you’ll feel as though you’re on an extended holiday – just one that’s more like a normal glass of full cream milk, not the watered down yoghurt you previously had in your water bottle.
Alternatively find a book about an upcoming class topic and read up so that you become the font of all wisdom on the subject, and avoid the usual frantic google searches mid-lesson flow.
5. Watch movies/play video games late into the night
Maybe you spent late nights during your holidays working your way through the ‘1001 movies you must see before you die’ and are only up to number 300; or perhaps you began playing Resident Evil 2: Revelations and still can’t work how to get out of the elevator in episode 2.
Don’t give up now! Keep going. You can spend some more late-nights watching the remaining 701 movies or completing difficult levels on your console. Don’t let sleep deprivation get in the way of your students’ education. Your sanity is reliant on the work/play balance; even if it means a 2am bedtime and oversleeping your alarm to rush out the door without breakfast or combing your hair.
6. Replace the stationery drawer with a bar fridge
You’ve spent years storing room-temperature spirits in the Dora the Explorer water bottle in your bottom drawer. But that’s not helping you ease back into work anymore. Knocking back a shot of vodka from the florescent pink drinking vessel has become work.
You deserve the full holiday experience in your workplace. You wouldn’t stay in a room with Premier Inn if they didn’t provide a bar fridge. So why should your employer get away with the same? Make sure your first expense-form for the year includes a £75 bar fridge from Argos, stocked with proper chilled beverages.
It will put you at ease.
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