Student sitting on bleachers writing

Back To School: How Can You Get Students Engaged at the Start of the School Year?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Do your remember the back to school jitters as a kid? Wondering what the new school year will bring: Will you like your teachers? Will they like you? What will your classes be like? Will you get good grades? Will your friends be the same? And depending on how much you liked school to being with, it might have been a time that brought on a lot of anxiety.

Now, if you’re a teacher, you might have different back to school fears. What new standards will you have to meet? What will your new students be like? How can you start off the new school year on a positive foot, and help your students to ease into their schedule as well?

After a summer spent away from focused, structured educational time, it might be hard to get students settled in and ready to learn.  The first day of school can be pretty shaky ground. So, what can you do? Maybe you've found some strategies in the past that have worked out well. We've found a few things that can help you and your students make the shift into a school-ready frame of mind.

Self-Analysis

Chances are, if you teach middle or high school students, they themselves, and their friends, have probably changed since the last time they were in the classroom. Try helping students re-evaluate who they are and where they are as learners and individuals – their strengths and weaknesses. Who are they now, and who do they want to be as the school year progresses?

We found an great article from Eduptopia that offers some great suggestions for how to do this practically in the classroom, and helping students begin the new school year with a positive mindset. Read it here.

And maybe it's a good time to analyze yourself too -- what are your strengths and weaknesses as an educator, where can you improve? What are your goals? No matter how good the last school year was, how can you make this year better, for you and your students?

Knowing the Game Plan

Do you have a solid game plan? What do you want your students to get out of your class? What can your teaching offer them, and how can they make the most of it?

It’s important for your for students to know what is expected of them, and what they’re going to learn. At the start of a new class, it may be difficult to get students engaged. But knowing what’s ahead, and ultimately what they will get out of your class, before you even start, is important. Not only will it let your students know what to expect, which can calm anxious nerves, but it will give them something to look forward to. And if they know why they need to learn it, and how it will enrich their lives, they will be more excited about diving in to learn. 

You.

Yeah, you.

As an educator, are you excited about the new school year? There may be things you’re looking forward to, and perhaps some things that you’re dreading. But to your students, you are representing a field of knowledge, and a daily part of their lives. If your students see that you’re excited to teach them and are interested in seeing them grow, this new school year could be the best one yet!