The start of a new school year may seem far away at the moment, but before you know it, it won’t be long until it’s time for you to teach again. Although teaching is a fruitful profession and yields rich experiences that a teacher likely won’t encounter in another career, it is also a challenging job that requires a lot of mental and emotional energy. In order to have the reserves to do their best for their students for yet another year, a teacher must also have ample time to rest, energize themselves, and chart their course.
Nervous about teaching for another year at one of the top local schools or one of the best international schools in Singapore? Here are six ways that you can get through the nerves and reorient yourself for brand-new learning experiences with your students.
Take a Proper Holiday from Teaching
Due to the emotionally demanding nature of the profession, it’s often hard for teachers to separate their jobs from other aspects of their identity. Even when the school year’s over and there’s no active teaching duty to be rendered, the “teacher brain” may still be on. If you’ve ever experienced passive anxiety about how the next school year will turn out even if it has yet to transpire, you’ll know that it can eat away from your rest period and put you on the fast track towards teacher burnout.
Instead of worrying about what you don’t have control over at the moment, use your vacation months to divest yourself from your identity as a teacher. If you can help it, take a full holiday from anything related to teaching. Enjoy time with your family, exercise and get into shape, catch up on your favorite television series, or take up a new hobby. It will do you well to put some healthy distance between your job and the other aspects of your life, and to relax as much as possible before the school year begins; doing so will refresh you and put you in the right mindset to take on new challenges in the classroom.
Start the Year by Reviewing Your Sense of Purpose as a Teacher
When your rest period comes to an end and it’s time to prepare for the school year in earnest, start by going back to your roots as a teacher. Do you remember why you chose to teach in the first place? What are your favorite things about the job? What positive experiences with your students have reinforced your belief in the education sector? Take some time to ask yourself these questions and to meditate on the answers.
Again, teaching is by no means an easy job. It has likely been even more challenging for you to keep up with your teaching duties in the wake of issues like the global pandemic and the wider shift towards hybrid, digitally driven educational pedagogies. When the going gets tough, the best thing for a teacher to do is to return to their moral center and to revisit their convictions for teaching. It will be good for you to do the same and to come to a conclusion about what kind of teacher you want to be for your students next year.
Study New Concepts and Methodologies to Enhance Your Instructional Skills
Another thing to consider about the teaching profession is that the best teachers work to improve their practice over time. Even if you’ve been teaching for several years, there’s always room for you to learn something new about the world you and your students inhabit.
Knowing how much the education sector has evolved in recent times, it’s also good to keep track of the latest developments in global educational pedagogy. Along with refreshing yourself on the best practices for teachers in Singapore schools, set aside time to learn about new practices for incorporating technology into education or discussing emergent global issues in the classroom setting. This will keep your teaching practice fresh, relevant, and responsive to the needs and concerns of your students.
Stock Up on School Supplies and Other Materials You Need for Teaching
The approach of the new school year also ushers in the need to restock on your teaching materials. Some teachers can finish their lesson plans and other teaching materials on just their digital devices, but if you’re the type who relies on paper, pens, highlighters, chalk, writing boards, and other physical items to get the job done, don’t forget to do some shopping soon.
In addition to shopping for school supplies, set aside time to pay for any other tools that you like to use for your teaching practice, such as subscriptions to apps. Restocking on materials and getting your teaching arsenal together can be very soothing, and it can set the tone for a productive return to the classroom.
Prepare Your Classroom Environment
Speaking of the classroom, you shouldn’t begin the new school year without getting your environment in order. Whether you anticipate teaching in a physical classroom, in a digital classroom, or a mix of both through a hybrid learning arrangement, you should prepare the learning milieu so that it’s fully conducive to learning.
Students who’ll enter a physical classroom will feel very welcome in the space if they see that it’s appropriately organized. Those who’ll meet you in a digital classroom will be more at ease if all the files they need are in one repository, like a Google drive, and if the teacher has laid out instructions for joining the class. Don’t underestimate the power of the classroom environment to cultivate learning, and get yourself in the right headspace to teach by prepping your surroundings.
Get Together with Your Fellow Teachers
Lastly, to tap into the moral support you’ll need for the rest of the year, get in touch with your fellow teachers. You can meet either in person or over a video call to set expectations and to impart helpful teaching tips to each other, as well as to simply shoot the breeze.
Teaching is a profession where community matters, and an important part of that community comprises the teacher’s peers. Draw strength from the company of your colleagues, and do your own part to motivate them as you welcome another school year.
These are just a few suggestions for recharging and reorienting yourself for another teaching year. Don’t hesitate to look for more self-care tips for teachers and advice for educators during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your profession is a noble one and requires a lot of personal effort compared to other jobs. But as they say, you shouldn’t pour from an empty cup, and you should set aside time to rest, relax, and regain your focus. These are the best things you can do in order to return to your students in full form and be the kind of teacher they’ll be glad to learn from.