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5 Tips to Soothe Students During Back-to-School Season

For parents, students, and teachers alike, the back-to-school season is a hectic one. Each person in the process has a unique situation they deal with. In other words, everyone is coming to the same place but with different perspectives. Thus, they’re going to deal with it differently. The roles they have can impact this quite a bit. For teachers, in particular, there may be what feels like an overwhelming amount of pressure on you. 

As any teacher does, you want to make school an exciting and happy place for your students. There are a lot of ways to do this, but trying to come up with them can be a struggle. Additionally, for many children, going back to school means they will be more nervous or anxious. This applies to any student, but especially the younger ones that go through their first ever day at school. 

Knowing how to help your students ease their way back into school, and be happy while doing it, is key. To help out, here are 5 tips you can try when helping out your students. 

1. Make the First Day Special

That first day back to school, or going to school for the first time, can be nerve-wracking. A great way for you to help your students take their minds off this is to make the classroom fun to be in-literally. 

One great way to accomplish this is how you decorate the classroom. A student can come into a boring, plain classroom that can make a student feel uninterested. Essentially, there is a difference in how engaged a student feels in the classroom.

Consider decorating the room with things your students can interact with. Do you have a type of announcements board, or unused whiteboard even, in your classroom? Consider turning that into an interactive activity that your students can participate in. For instance, it can become a more relaxed version of show and tell. How this would work is encouraging your students to bring something they want to share (that they know is appropriate with school rules, of course). 

Having a picture of what they share, be it a person or object or something else, is great as well. If your student wants to share something they don’t have a picture of, encourage their artistic side! Then, when this is done, they can write what they’re sharing on a square piece of paper. You can easily make these with construction paper, which can provide the students with a creative way to decorate alongside you when they choose what to write on. 

In summary, you give your students a way to focus on something that makes them happy and share it with the class. This makes for a great way for students to get to know each other, too!

2. Make Your Teaching Methods Personal

Trying to plan how you’re going to teach an entire class can be daunting. You want to make sure you give each student the attention they need. Before the school year starts, you can always review how you teach anything in your class. Taking it one piece at a time can make the task easier on you. 

With each topic you teach, try to make how you teach it more personal for your students. Some students with a lot of anxiety may not feel comfortable asking questions just yet. The reason for this could be that they just don’t know the option to ask is there. Essentially, you want to let your students know your classroom is a safe and comfortable environment for their learning. They will start to open up more if they feel comfortable. 

In addition, getting to know your students makes personal teaching easier. This can be through a number of fun activities where they share things about themselves and their interests. Understanding what your students like can help you motivate them to do things they don’t like as much. With this, you can also help your students by giving them a way to set goals. They don’t have to be big goals necessarily. Having something that they’re working towards that they chose is a great motivator for a student. 

In that regard, if you can, try to set some time aside for what your students are interested in. Nurturing their curiosity will keep them learning even when they aren’t inside a classroom. 

3. Go At Their Pace

Trying to rush your students through a curriculum can be what makes them dislike a subject. Every student has the way that they learn best, and what comes with that is pacing. Some subjects may be more confusing than others. There is nothing like the anxiety of feeling left out while the rest of your classmates understand the lesson. 

However, you know that you only have so much time with your students. That doesn’t mean you can’t structure your teaching to fit their needs as best you can. To use a metaphor, think of how building a house works. Without any foundation, the house won’t be standing for long. This is just like teaching in that you want to start your students off right. That way, they can build their new understanding off of previous things they’ve learned. It gives their world context, essentially. 

A way to achieve this can be through using game-like activities in the classroom. For example, you can set up teams and review for a test this way. Instead of giving them a piece of paper to fill out, you can make a little Powerpoint slide with trivia questions from your lesson. This way, each team can review what they’ve already learned and have fun doing it. Not to mention, this is a great way to get new perspectives from your students. They can see that they learn not only from you but from each other. 

If a child is more relaxed when trying to review what they’ve learned, they’re going to be more engaged. A relaxed atmosphere of a team game is better than the stress of trying to finish a worksheet. While this doesn’t mean worksheets aren’t useful tools, there are some ways you can change activities to be more engaging. 

4. Encourage Your Students to Bond

Making friends is pretty big during school. Having someone they know can make a world of difference in how comfortable a student is in your classroom. Like with the previous tips, there are ways you can encourage your students to interact with one another. 

Another way to get children to interact, while also taking learning outside of the classroom, involves bigger activities. A great example of this can be seen in Folsom Preparatory School’s “Nine Months of Smiles”. With this program, different grades in Folsom work together on giving back to their community. Each month is titled a different adjective for the month’s motivational theme. Thus, with each activity, students can see what it is they’re getting from participating in a charity like this. 

With anxiety, it can help a student to see the positive impact they can have on another person. Folsom’s program does just that. It feels great to make another person smile! Plus, your students can start to branch out in the community by meeting others who live there but don’t necessarily go to the same school. Showing a student who’s nervous about interacting with others that they can meet some really cool and wonderful people in their community can start to motivate them to continue that trend later on in their life. 

5. Give Your Students a Sneak Peak

Tell your students some hints about what is coming up in the class. This isn’t intended to be scary for them, in that an overwhelming assignment is on the horizon. Rather, you want to get them curious about what they’re going to learn next. 

One way you can do this is by making a little activity out of it each week. You can see what each student will guess about the new topic coming up with your hints. This is another great way to get to know your students as well. Basically, there really is no right or wrong answer to this activity, so the stress of that is lifted from your student’s shoulders. Plus, your students can flex their creative muscles with something like this while also showing you where their interests could be at the time. 

You want your students to look forward to what they’re going to learn that week rather than dreading it. This way, you can create a comfortable, more relaxed atmosphere for your students to be themselves while also learning what you have to teach. 

Make Your Teaching Comfortable 

When it comes to school, comfort is one of the best things you can provide for a student. With comfort, they’re more engaged and happier too. Not to mention if they have a question, they won’t be afraid to ask it. Having students who engage with what you’re teaching is a great way to get them motivated to learn. It can also show you where you may improve your teaching methods. After all, they’re always going to be changing with each new class you teach. 

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice what it is you’re teaching your students to make them feel at ease in the classroom. Having a balance of both is quite achievable. Overall, understanding more about your students (and letting them understand more about you) is that first step towards making them happy to learn.

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