Social Emotional Learning is going to be so important for this upcoming school year. With schools being shut down across the country last March, many students have not been able to see their peers and friends for close to six months!
That is why how you start the school year will be so important for your students. Yes, there is a lot of talk of how students will be behind in their learning. Guess what? So is the rest of the nation and world!
As educators, we need to make sure we check on our students either the moment they step into our classroom or login to that first zoom meeting. These kids have been through a lot and are seeking that attention from us and their classmates.
So, how do we do this in these crazy, uncertain times? Well, we start off by just being there.
1. When your students see you for the first time, smile. Smile because you also have not had that connection with students in so long. Smile because they need it. Your students are longing for attention and for recognition. Smile because you want to show your students that you are there for them and are happy to see them.
2. Do not ask about last school year. For some it has been very difficult and even traumatic. We cannot change the past and cannot fix things that happened. By all means, though, if students do want to talk about that, either set up a one on one conference or ask them to talk with the guidance counselor. We are not saying ignore their feelings, but in a large group setting you set the tone for the school year. You want that tone to be positive from the start.
3. Use engaging activities to start the year. You want students excited to be back at school. We have created some amazing resources that will be a hit with your students! Click on the links below to learn more about each activity.
Distance Learning Trivia Bundle
Back to School Social Emotional Ranking Activity
Online Scavenger Hunt
Would You Rather School Edition Questions
Back To School Getting to Know You Google Form
4. Make sure to do a daily greeting every day. It is important to recognize students each day. This can be a simple “good morning”, but make sure you acknowledge each and every student. It will make a difference to them.
5. Let parents know that you are there. Within the first month of back to school, reach out to families to let them know that you are here for their child. Whether it be a phone call, email, or text, make sure to connect with a guardian. This will make a huge difference to them to know that their child is cared for and is valued. They will thank you for it too!
In these unprecedented times, be there for your students. Put on your teacher face and show them that you care!