How teachers can help students transition back to the classroom

This may feel like quite a daunting task. How can we possibly bring our students back to ‘normality’ after the year they have all had? Schools are currently required to be increasingly adaptable to comply with latest guidance and to keep safety as the highest priority. Anyone who has been in schools in the build up to the summer break will know how challenging this has been.

We think that the best approach when thinking ahead to September is to keep things straightforward for students. Keep in mind that most students will be craving a return to structure and boundaries and a bit of ‘normal.’ They may take a while to get used to having to be up early again: ready and present in every lesson and focussed on learning, but this is exactly what they need…

There will be extra safety measure and precautions to share and uphold with your classes, but stay positive and use this an opportunity to reflect on the basic:

Reflect on your Planning

  • Ensure the pace and structure of lessons are good.
  • Check student understanding – is the lesson accessible to all?
  • Check whether the lesson is engaging – are you trying different styles and strategies?
  • Have everything organised (resources) before the lesson.
  • Always have things for the children to do – is your planning ‘double planning’ i.e. student focused. Are students actively engaged in learning throughout your lesson? e.g. with a ‘do now’ whilst lining up, a ‘think thunk’ to contemplate on the carpet, or an activity awaiting them on their tables.
  • Have a seating plan and for younger years: carpet places and line spaces.
  • Have high expectations and routines repeated regularly – i.e. pens down, following the speaker, stopping at your signal, a countdown routine.
  • Switch to a discussion task if several students are losing focus.

Positivity and Choice

  • Reward good behaviour.
  • Focus on the children who are on task and praise them.
  • Give the children options – one of them good, one boring, dependent on their behaviour.
  • Use a traffic lights system.

These are all familiar pointers… and that is exactly the point. Our children are craving familiarity. Let’s do what we as teachers do best.