Welcome back to school!

January 30, 2018

We hope you enjoyed the break and are feeling excited and confident to meet your new students? Our previous blogs regarding the start of school have talked about building student engagement from the very first days. Here are some ideas to help you get off to a great start. 

  • Greet each student as they enter the classroom. If appropriate, ask them to say their name and something about themselves. Individual greetings enable you to make a positive connection with each child as they begin the lesson or day. You can also use the greeting as an opportunity to notice their mood, and build awareness of their interests, likes and dislikes. Encourage students to respond and to look at you when they speak. For more on this read our blog, Greeting your students as they enter the classroom. 
  • Discuss classroom expectations and co-operation during the first week or so. For some teachers, this will mean creating classroom rules and reviewing school rules. An alternative approach is to collaboratively establish a classroom charter1 to increase feelings of respect and ownership. Begin by leading a class discussion exploring how children want to feel in their classroom. Help students to narrow the list to 4 – 6 feelings. Then, as a class decide and record expectations, including the positive behaviours needed to build and maintain these feelings.  

Creating a charter as a class can build a sense of community and help students to feel safe, valued and respected.  It also establishes guidelines for managing uncomfortable feelings and conflict. Read how one class created its charter, ‘No more lists of rules: Ask kids how they want to feel.’

  • If you know some students have specific issues or learning difficulties now is a good time to read about how to best support them. Students with learning disabilities account for approximately 15%2 of students in the average classroom. As you know, our ebooklets are filled with evidenced-based teaching strategies to assist you to support students, and are freely available to Psych4Schools members in the Members Area, or individual sale for non-members in the shop. Our Learning Difficulties Package includes screening tools and ebooklets also providing practical strategies to implement with the 4 or 5 students in each class who may need additional assistance. 
We know there are times when you’ve read up on a student’s diagnosis, issue or recommendations from reports, and have tried a number of strategies but the student still struggles. What can you do then? We recommend working with and seeking information and/or guidance from the child’s parents, a senior staff member, the school psychologist, or other allied health professional (with parental consent) who is involved with the student. You may also like to contact us. 

Limited offer >>> For the month of February we are offering free advice and suggestions to support you in working effectively with students who baffle or confuse you. If you have a specific wellbeing issue you are endeavouring to solve or better manage, and you’ve read our ebooklets, tried some new strategies, and are still a bit stumped please contact us directly. While we can’t provide specific advice about any one child, we can offer general suggestions or suggest services that may be able to assist. To contact us please use the Contact Us page of our website.  

We look forward to hearing from you about the successes and the challenges within your classroom this year. 

Kind regards, 

Murray Evely and Zoe Ganim 

Psych4Schools Psychologists