Five tips for a successful term 1

It’s difficult to believe that another school year has already begun – it seems like just yesterday we were recapping highlights from 2015! This can be an exciting and yet challenging time for teachers and students. Whether you’re looking to make big changes, build on last year’s success or simply make a few tweaks to an already solid routine, there is inevitably a renewed sense of energy and focus for the first few weeks of school.

But how do you keep the feeling going past the first lesson? Given the demands of the classroom, it’s easy for the excitement and eagerness to die down so here are five tips to make Term 1 a successful one.

  • Do a stock take – It’s common for schools to make changes (from teaching resources to infrastructure and processes) at the end of the previous year. It’s natural, then, that you may need a refresher about how these changes apply to you. Are there any steps that you still need to take? Do you have the necessary documentation or information? If you’re not fully up-to-speed on the changes, now is a good time to get clarification.
  • Try to plan ahead as much as possible – The first few months are always some of the busiest so it helps if you can plan your lessons for Term 1 as far out in advance as possible, even if at a very high level. Doing some of the thinking up front can bring comfort and peace of mind as the term gets going.
  • Become comfortable with the main resource that your faculty is using – Unless you are completely responsible for creating material from scratch, chances are your faculty has selected a main resource for your class to use throughout the year. While you can – and should – incorporate additional material, such as from the web or your fellow teachers, it’s important to first completely understand your core resource and expand from there.
  • Pace yourself – Given the excitement that comes with a new school year, it can be tempting to take on a number of new initiatives at the same time. Remember that you’ve got an entire year so before you sign up for more activities and/or responsibilities than you can fit into your schedule, consider your existing commitments and then plan accordingly.
  • Monitor your new staff – If you are a Head of Department, then not only do you need to get yourself organised, but you have an additional responsibility: your new staff. Specifically, you’ll want to keep a close eye on them during this all-important first term. Are they aware of the guidelines and processes for your department? How are getting on? A little extra attention at the start of the term will set the stage for a successful year.

What are your tips for starting out the year on the right foot? We’d love to hear your ideas so let us know in the comments!