So here we are – the first full week of September and the notorious “Back To School”. The past few days have been a flurry of new lunch boxes, sorting school uniform and of course – the night before the first day back.
For teachers too, the final few days of summer were spent finalising classrooms, ensuring planning is ready, INSET training and wondering what this years class will bring.
I always enjoyed sorting my classroom ready for the new term and would spend many an hour drawing up plans and arranging (and then re-arranging!) all the furniture until it was just right. Still I’d worry – “would little Johnny really be able to see ok there?” “Is it really best to have the art resources in that cupboard?” “Are my main displays hidden?” It will come as no surprise to you all that I would then go back to rearrange some more until I was happy. Sometimes I had to remind myself that I was overthinking things; that I wouldn’t really know the best layout until my class were there and actually, I could still swap things around mid-term if I really felt it wasn’t working.
This year has been no different. I’ve had a complete overhaul of my tuition space ready for the new year. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed finding resources that I’d previously forgotten about and adding new bits to my ever-growing collection. As ever, there’s still bits to move around but on the whole I’m happy.
Back to the infamous night before. Every time I have asked a pupil this week whether they are ready for school and excited, every single pupil without fail has told me they’re nervous. Will their teacher be strict? What happens if the work is too hard? What about if they don’t remember concepts they learnt last year? For all of the children I teach, confidence is somewhat of an issue, and these types of questions crop up more often. But even so, it’s a worthwhile reminder that even the most confident of children may well feel nervous starting their new school year – whether it’s moving from infants to juniors, Year 5 to Year 6 or that big jump up to secondary school, the night before may well be filled with anxiety. Each time these questions have come up this week, we’ve stopped and chatted about what the new year will bring: what they know about the teachers; their ways of asking for help and reminding them that I’m still here to help too. I’ve also been reminding them that teachers too get nervous and will often find themselves worrying just like students.
Those fears, for both students and teachers, tend to dissipate within the first few days as everyone settles into their new routine and the term gets underway. By this time next week, the first full week will be over and it will feel like we’ve never been away.
Don’t be surprised if you find your little one has been more clingy than usual this week – they’ll soon get back into the swing of things and at the moment you’re their constant.