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5 Tips on How to Kick-Start the New School Year

1. Prepare... and then prepare some more.

Teachers know that we work in an ever-changing environment, and sometimes this means the best laid plans go to waste. Having an "emergency folder" in your desk of extra activities, worksheets, or lessons, will mean that you will never have to fret if your day is shaken up. The emergency folder can also be used by supply teachers when you have an unexpected day off, so be sure to throw in a nice movie activity!

2. Connect.

Not only students get back-to-school jitters. Will your new students respond to you? Will they get along with each other? The only way to ensure this is to do your best to connect with them on your first day. ESL students are incredibly diverse individuals, so a life map activity is a great way to see what each student has accomplished in their life, and what their interests are. Be sure that each student's time is valued during the activity, and try to relate to each of them in a genuinely curious way, this will help create the initial connection.

3. Respect.

In less modern times, people equated respect to fear. Nowadays, we realize that respect means mutuality. To gain the respect of your students you must: be proactive, make and keep promises, be respectful towards them, show equality and fairness, be strict within reason, and never punish for something beyond someone's control. As long as your students perceive you as good, fair, and helpful, you will have their respect.

4. Incorporate fun into each day.

Teachers all have their own style-- and that's a good thing. The world needs classic teachers, laissez-faire teachers, strict teachers, modern teachers, etc. If you're normal teaching style doesn't include games and prizes, you don't need to add them. Incorporating fun doens't have to be a large constructed effort; it's about listening to what the students find fun or interesting and including that in your lessons. For example, if your students love K-pop, try including some K-pop stars in your next lesson about similies and metaphors. They'll have a lot to talk about amongst each other, the'll have very interesting comparisons, and they'll definitely have more fun than they would completing a worksheet or reading a poem.

5. Change it up!

Students talk, students share, and students will know if you are teaching the exact same content term after term after term. If you notice that students don't react to a lesson/assignment/activity as well as you hoped, use it as an opportunity to try something new out for next term. Heck, even if the lesson you already have is good, why not try making something even better? Constantly editing and self-improving will make your and your students' lives more interesting, and any lessons that you take out from the term can go straight into your emergency activity folder! There's always new things to try, so change it up!

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