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Heading Back to School During a Pandemic (and how to help your students adjust)

Heading Back to School During a Pandemic (and how to help your students adjust)

There’s always a level of anticipation upon a new school year for school staff and students alike. Some of us are planning our outfits, prepping our lunches, getting our hair trimmed and supply lists checked off. But for some students(and teachers!) the build-up to school starting again can be nerve-wracking. 

Add all the uncertainty, confusion, and worry over Covid-19 added to those normal feelings, we want to ensure our students feel SAFE and welcome, but also have clear boundaries for this new normal. 

As educators, we want our classrooms to flow as smoothly as possible so that each and every child gets the full benefit of learning. In many ways, this pandemic has shifted the way we approach classroom management, lesson planning, and more. Here are some ways to help this new year be more manageable and less “I’M GONNA PULL MY HAIR OUT!”

Get Ready

-Grab your wipes, your disinfectant spray, your magic erasers, and after an initial scrub-down, make sure to keep some handy for a mid-day wipe down, and end-of-day clean as well. 

-Plan out one-way walking paths for students to follow by positioning desks in single rows if possible. That way there’s less “cross-traffic” to limit students crowding each other. 

-Aim to keep your classroom clean, calm, and comfortable. Kids thrive in an environment that’s soothing but still allows for creativity. Set up a reading nook, have flexible seating, or fun lights to switch things up! 

RESET 

Transitioning from “summer mode” back into “classroom mode” can be difficult for some of our kiddos. Especially when we have a new set of protocols or rules to follow per covid requirements, as these seem to be ever-changing and updated. 

Be prepared to take a beat to get your kids adjusted to following rules again, slipping back into a routine, and keeping up with new guidelines for masks and social distancing. 

Signs can be a great reminder for these expectations, I’ve even created some posters and worksheets to include in my Back to School Covid 19 pack(check that out here!) 

Open houses or “Meet the Teacher” nights are another great way to set little hearts at ease, so they can walk out their path with an adult, meet their teacher in a lower pressure situation, and learn where to go for different parts of their day. It can go a long way to helping kids not feel so intimidated on their first day. 

GO BACK HAPPY!

We can prep our classrooms, our lessons, and our cleaning regimen all we want, but if we go back with JOY this year…THAT will make all the difference. Be honest with your kids, discuss how things will be different this year, and how that makes them feel. I’ve also included a “How Do You Feel?” worksheet in my Back to School Covid kit as well, because it’s super important to let kids know their feelings are valid and seen. Not to mention this grows awareness of their own emotions when many times it’s hard to name. 

Teaching in the real world never looks like the curated board you have on Pinterest. But take a deep breath, and remember the value of flexibility. If something isn’t working CHANGE it. A lot of students are returning for the first time in over a year to in-person learning, stay positive, stay flexible and grab these resources to guide you through this big transition! 

You’ve got this!

-Jennifer
Grab my Back to School Covid-19 packet here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Back-to-School-Covid-19-Social-Story-and-Activities-5705225

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