Last week we talked about the importance of goal setting for students as a way to re-focus and practice personal growth. This week we want to address the importance of re-focusing for educators as well. Coming back into the classroom in January is a transition not just for students but for teachers as well. So, what are some ways to best manage this transition back into school and the routines of the class, yet still keep students engaged? Here are some tips for re-energizing yourself and your classroom in January!
Student Led Projects
The Reggio Emilia philosophy suggests following children’s interests at all times in order to provide the best educational experiences. January is a great time of year to remind yourself to implement this part of the approach. Ask students what they are interested, how they can explore a certain topic. Let them do their own research and provide support and guidelines where necessary. It is helpful for students after coming back from the break to remind them that they play an active role in their learning and education experiences.
Student as Teacher
It is often said that one of the best ways to learn is by teaching others. Similar to the idea of student led projects, get children more engaged in the classroom by having them teach their peers! You can do this in a number of ways. Perhaps you have them present what they learned from their student led projects described above, or you can split up a particular unit of study, have children be responsible for a certain section and then teach that section to their classmates. It is important to support children in learning whatever it is that they will be teaching others, prior to them having to teach it, so that they are confident in their knowledge and abilities.
Professional development opportunities are an important part of being a life-long learner and an adaptable, up-to-date educator. To re-energize yourself in the New Year, seek out some professional development opportunities such as a workshop in your community, a webinar, a new book to read on educational practices. These opportunities can spark ideas for your own classroom.
Work with colleagues on a new project or idea! Like professional development, this can be a fun opportunity to broaden your knowledge base and approach.
Change Up Your Classroom Environment
It seems like a simple solution but sometimes changing up your classroom environment can have a large impact on the energy of the room. Consider not only changing the wall decorations, theme boards and displays, but also the arrangement of tables, desks, work, and play areas in the room.
Sources: https://everyteachercan.com/2016/12/11/teachers-its-time-to-re-energize/ and https://www.edutopia.org/blog/re-energize-classroom-new-year-nicholas-provenzano and https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/10-ways-to-re-energize-your-classes-and-yourself/