Going back to school after the summer holidays can be really exciting, anxiety-ridden, and a busy time for teachers. We hope you have spent the summer recharging and renewing yourself. It is really important for that to happen as the start of the school year is probably the most important and stressful time!
More experienced teachers have a good idea of what they need to do to get ready for the new school year. They might plan to make a few small changes to their overall approach. Less experienced teachers might decide to completely overhaul how they teach based on their smaller amount of experience.
But no matter where you are in your career, here are some tips that will help you ease that transition back to school quickly and nicely.
This is the most important element of teaching. Teaching is not a 9am to 3pm job as many people outside of teaching think! It is always a good idea to have at least the first day planned out for you and your students. This will make the year run smoother and your students will feel more comfortable knowing their teacher is prepared and confident. It doesn’t matter how experienced or new you are, every teacher needs to have their planning up to date!
I usually type up a plan of the day alongside resources or photocopies I might need detailed. I usually don’t start off with any formal curriculum teacher, instead choosing to focus on ice breaker type games and setting up how the classroom will run in terms of expectations for behaviour, attitude, learning, etc. I keep the activities fun and short and give plenty of time for the students to talk to each other in between.
One of our sellers, @foodfortaught has a fun icebreaker activity called “Human Bingo” for sale. This would be ideal for an older class. https://mash.ie/human-bingo-first-day-at-school-2.html
Múinteoir Preschool has a cute poem and handprint activity for younger children. It is always nice for the parents to have a memory like this and for the child to be able to talk about their day in response to it. https://mash.ie/my-first-day
After the first few days of observing and speaking to your class and last year’s teacher, you will start to build up a picture of your class. This is when you need to sit down and start your planning, long and short-term. I have been very fortunate that I was able to work with my partner teacher and we divided up the long-term plans for each curriculum subject between us. We then met every fortnight to discuss the next fortnight’s teaching aims and planning. If you can set this up, it is a real help and support for both you and your classes.
We have thousands of different styles and types of long and short term plans on our website all painstakingly crafted by our wonderful mash teacher sellers! I like to look at another teacher’s long terms or short terms for an idea of where to go, what to leave in and what to put out whereas some of my other teacher friends prefer to use the plans as they are and then adapt when they have used them in the class with their own children.
Múinteoir Penny has some gorgeous long term plans in numeracy, Gaeilge for Infants if you are stuck https://mash.ie/primary/infants/long-term-numeracy-plan Múinteoir Ni Cheallaigh has some heavily details long terms plans for all subjects including the new Primary Language Curriculum here https://mash.ie/primary/5th-6th-class/5th-class-long-term-english-plan-and-yearly-scheme-primary-language-currriculum-
I wish you the very best of luck with the new year. Keep an eye out on our website as we constantly have new plans being uploaded. Who knows, one day you could be uploading your own resources to help other teachers too!