Summer’s coming to a close and the first day of preschool is just around the corner. Whether you’re a veteran teacher or new to the classroom, back-to-school is an exciting time of year! Every teacher we know relishes the promise of a clean slate and a fresh start that the arrival of a new school year delivers.
At brightwheel, we’re lucky to have many former teachers on staff, and we polled them for some of their best back-to-school tips.
If you're onboarding new teachers this back-to-school season, make sure to get our free planning tool, Staff Onboarding Checklist for Childcare Centers and Preschools!
Set some goals and track them
You spend your days supporting growth and developmental progress in your students, and you should do the same for yourself. Maybe you want to explore more inquiry-based projects this year, or move from thematic teaching to a standards focus. Maybe you’re wanting to leverage technology more with your little ones, or offer more family or community involvement. Big or small, it’s great to have goals to guide your day to day and to keep you working towards what’s important to you in your teaching practice.
Set the tone
Every moment is important when you’re working with such little ones, but perhaps none more so than in that first week you’re together. Your students are sizing you up and deciding whether to trust you. For some, you may be the first adult outside of their family they are being asked to trust. Every word and gesture counts. This first week sets the tone for the rest of the school year, so be thoughtful and deliberate in all of your communication, with both your students and their families.
Get procedures and classroom routines in place before moving on to teaching content. You’ll spend your first weeks with your new students laying the foundation that you will build on for the rest of the school year. Once you’ve all learned how to work together as a collaborative classroom community, you’ll have time to focus on all of the learning that will take place.
If something isn’t working, ditch it
You may have found a new lesson or strategy to try on your latest Pinterest hunt or something you saw a colleague do that you’ve been wanting to try. Some of the best teachers are able to quickly pivot and move on from either a lesson that is failing or a new strategy that isn’t effective.
Try out some new technology
Hopefully you’re making use of some of the terrific tech tools out there to streamline your day. While connecting with little ones may be the reason you entered the profession, you’re still expected to handle a slew of administrative tasks in the background or after the children have gone home. Try brightwheel, the software solution you need to manage your classroom, record activities, track student progress, and stay in touch with families.
Connect with families and colleagues
Kicking this off at the beginning of the year will lay a foundation that will strengthen your practice. Make a point to reach out to those who aren’t engaging right away or are new to your center or school. Especially in the early years, new families may not know how to navigate school communication, so be sure to give them channels to reach you. It’s also beneficial to build strong connections amongst staff at your school to create an internal support network.
Take care of yourself
Teachers spend so much time selflessly caring for others, that they can easily neglect themselves. While you love your job and are happy to invest long hours for the benefit of your students, it’s equally important to have a self-care routine to maintain both a work/life balance, and a healthy lifestyle.
Brightwheel is everything you need for your preschool or childcare center, in one simple app. Download it today!