5 back to work tips for educators
The thought of going back to work can be just as stressful for new and returning educators as it is for the children they will be teaching. The holidays are an important time for educators to de-stress, reflect and begin to plan for the upcoming year ahead. For many educators it is a period of time to learn and develop ways to improve in the upcoming year. For new educators it can be a time to be excited to utilise recently learned skills and put their theoretical plans into practice. Many have completed social and emotional learning evidence based programs designed to enhance their skills to improve overall outcomes for their children. These programs build upon educators capacity and strategies by developing a greater understanding of ways to build relationships that support children's resilience and wellbeing.
Whether you are a new or veteran educator or teacher, the weeks leading up to commencing the new year is a final checkpoint for you to ensure you are ready to begin the year on the front foot. By following the Wings to Fly philosophy and methods below, you will help ensure the excitement overtakes the nervousness of a new year.
- Start with a clean slate
If you haven’t already, let go of last year. Whether it was a good or bad year, it’s not this year. Instead of carrying the weight of 2018, focus on identifying areas of improvement, write them down and start 2019 without being held back by last year. For new educators, you may find that you learn more in the first few weeks of school than you learned in the last 4 years. Ensure you keep your ideas and mind open as a clean slate for your first year. Holding onto experiences you classify as ‘failure’ will only hold you back from improving this year. Hold no preconceived notions of your children this year, every child also deserves a clean slate.
- Adopt a growth mindset
Great educators help children to see and believe that their abilities are not “fixed” at birth, and that there is always room to improve and grow, even in experiences that may seem difficult at the time. No matter how experienced or knowledgeable you think you are, there is always room for growth and improvement. For a child at day care who may be trying to walk and talk, each day represents the most difficult tasks that child has undertaken in its life so far. Likewise, every day is a new step forward and a chance to expand on your ability to foster a growth mindset in yourself and your children.
- Think about the design of your room
Make your room the place where you would have wanted to learn in as a kid. Envision your future groups, and embrace the values and fun that will make their life exciting! Your room doesn’t have to be extravagant, think about it as your time to experiment and innovate. If you want to incorporate some strategies to help children feel safe and secure, try introducing some soft rhythmic music on arrival. It can be easy to fall back on the familiarity of what has always been, but that may not work for the children you will have tomorrow. The aim is to help foster relationships. Build first day activities that will help students learn about their new friends and you. Rhythmic and repetitive activities that get children moving will help make them feel more comfortable in the room.
Collaborate with co-workers
Collaboration is key in any workplace, but the empowerment felt by educators who collaborate with and are supported by their peers is enormous. Build relationships with your fellow educators and teachers, get to know the office, lunchroom, and support staff. There will be a time when their assistance will be invaluable, and you may be able to offer insights they had overlooked. Make contact with parents beforehand if you can and invite them to meet you and engage with their children’s room.
When parents, teachers, support staff and students are working in unison that is when the optimal results and growth for children occur. Evidence based resilience programs have demonstrated time and again the importance or preparation, collaboration, innovation and growth when it comes to helping enhance all aspects of a child’s wellbeing.