Welcome Back to School
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Welcome back to school! It has been challenging teaching during the pandemic. Back to school means more challenges of online teaching for another year. What strategies can you use this term for success?

The rising cases of COVID-19 have shattered hopes for face-to-face schooling this academic term, and there is no guarantee that the next school term will be any different.

As teachers prepare for welcoming children back to school this year, no doubt the many lessons learnt from last year’s online schooling would have been employed in the planning for this academic year.

Similar to back to school strategies for children’s success, many teachers would have developed their own back to school strategies in preparation for online teaching this academic year.  

Since this is a welcome back to school article, here you’ll find 6 back to school strategies for success from an expert teacher. Mrs. Alicia Findlay-Joseph, who has over 15 years of experience as an educator, offers these six back to school strategies for teachers this academic year.

1. Welcome Back to School with Self-care

While not a new concept, self-care has taken front and centre in many conversations these days. As the pandemic rages on people are struggling to cope with the emotional impact, isolation, physical illness and uncertainty of COVID-19.

Self-care is defined by the WHO as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”.

Teachers, you should take time to engage in self-care activities that promote and maintain your physical and psychological health because if you are not at your best, you cannot give your best to children.

2. Routines: A Back to School Strategy for Teachers Too

Like children, teachers should maintain their routines. Routines are important, and they provide structure to our daily lives. In times of uncertainty and unknowns, maintaining a routine can provide us with a sense of control, familiarity and security.

So, it can be helpful to maintain those pre-pandemic routines that were used to get ready for school, routines that helped during and after classes, and at the end of the school day.

Let the routines that served you well in the pre-pandemic days serve you again this year.

3. Welcome Back to School and Plan for Success

Similar to face-to-face school, children fare better with lessons that are engaging and interactive. When planning for lessons, you should ensure that the lessons are engaging and interactive.

Unlike face-to-face school, you do not have the luxury of physical interaction with students when teaching online. Children might be prone to more distractions in their home environment than if they were in the physical classroom.

Planning interactive and engaging lessons may help overcome this challenge and encourage children’s learning and participation in class.

Welcome Back to School
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4. Break it Up

Similar to planning engaging lessons, you can ensure that you are planning lessons with enough breaks to reduce children’s screen time per day.

It is a recommendation that for young children, screen time should be minimal. However, as remote learning continues, it is expected that children of all age groups will be engaged in some form of learning with the aid of a mobile device or computer.

While this is unavoidable right now, mini-breaks can be a great strategy in reducing children’s screen time.

Children have had fewer opportunities to engage in physical activities since COVID-19 and research has found that childhood obesity has increased since the pandemic.

Be sure to plan your lessons with mini-movement and brain breaks which is what our children need to punctuate a long day of remote learning.

5. Check-In before Signing Out

Of the many challenges that children and adults are facing, the impact of the COVID-19 on mental health is a major one.

Teachers’ mental health has suffered since the start of the pandemic, and research has shown the emotional impact of COVID-19 on children.

You can check-in with children and set aside specific sessions that focus on wellbeing rather than academic work.

These sessions can be light and fun to engage children in activities that bring them joy or encourage them to express their feelings about a particular topic.

Additionally, you and other teachers can form peer support groups for each other with sessions designed to promote wellbeing and health. These sessions could be incorporated into regular self-care activities. Sometimes, knowing that others are experiencing the same things we are experiencing can be enough comfort but we won’t know until we check-in and share.

6. Positive Reinforcements

Positive reinforcement is a behaviour management strategy that teachers have used for decades. Positive reinforcement is an effective behaviour management strategy because it ensures that desired behaviours are rewarded and are likely to be repeated.

For example, praising a child who makes an effort or giving a star for good quality work encourages improved performance.

Teachers, you can continue with positive reinforcements as a winning behaviour management strategy during online teaching by developing creative ways to reward good behaviour.

Did you see any of your strategies on this list? Do you have any new strategies to offer? Comment on this article to let me know what you think.

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