Hi, I’m Rachael and before I became one of Halsbury’s Tour Specialists, I was actually an MFL teacher! Here are some of my top tips for surviving that first week back at school in September:
The golden rule! Of course, this will be easier if you’re an experienced teacher – you’ll have great lesson plans already that you can adapt and expand on.
If you’re less experienced, take some time to reflect on what’s gone well and not so well and use that to guide your lesson plans for next year.
One great thing to do is to make lessons timely – and we’ve created a calendar to help you do just that!
We’ve included some key dates, such as international awareness days, historical anniversaries and religious holidays. And we’ve also included tips on when to start thinking about your school trip and what you can look forward to from Halsbury over the next year!
Start as you mean to go on!
The start of the year is the perfect time to lay down classroom law! Be firm but fair and you’ll soon establish a good working relationship with the vast majority of your students.
If you think you might want to operate a seating plan, put it into action straight away. You can make changes to it later, but if you don’t use one from the beginning of the year, you’ll come up against more resistance when you try to do so later on.
You might want to re-jig your classroom layout a bit too. If you’re planning to incorporate classroom debate and discussions into many of your lessons, a horseshoe shape is ideal. However, if you prefer to get your students involved in individual or partner work, more traditional rows may work better. Or you may prefer group work, in which case cooperative clusters are a great choice.
If you haven’t got one already, why not set up a department Twitter account that you can encourage parents and students to follow?
Here you can post reminders about homework, and tweet links to other useful resources you stumble across.
Plus, it’s a great way to communicate with parents when you’re out on a trip.
Get some icebreakers ready!
For any new classes you have this year (especially little Year 7s!), make sure you have some icebreaker activities handy. Not only will they get the students to loosen up, they’ll also help you to learn their names and personalities quickly – essential if you want to build up a good rapport with them.
Some of my favourites included:
• Two truths and a lie – Ask your students to write down two facts and one lie about themselves. Make sure you do the same! Then, in a circle, take it in turns to read out your three statements – the rest of the class have to guess which is the lie!
• Catch the ball – All you need for this is a small, soft ball. Sit the students in a circle and explain that when you catch the ball, you have to say something interesting about yourself, before throwing it to the next person. Of course, you could use this as a revision session later in the year, perhaps by introducing a topic and asking the students to give one related fact when they catch the ball.
I hope that some of my tips will help make your first week back at school fly by!