Returning ‘back to normal’ is not as easy as it sounds, particularly for children. This constant change in routine can be difficult to digest, so it’s not surprising that getting back into the swing of things at school can be a tricky task for some (teachers included!). So how can teachers effectively re-establish a positive routine and reengagement amongst their students?
#1 Consistency is key
With the past year being inconsistent from all angles of life, their routine at school needs to be consistent. Before the pandemic, school would have represented a reliable source of safety and security for many children. School is predictable, structured and a stable constant in their lives. Although schools were always there for their students throughout each lockdown, the routine was changed and now it has changed again – so keeping things as familiar and steady as possible will be key to positive behaviour.
#2 Keep in contact with home
Over lockdown, there would have been an exceptional rise in phone calls home; maintaining close and consistent contact with parents proved to be an asset to teachers when monitoring and maintaining student engagement. Throughout this transitional period, keep parents in the loop. This will be a huge change for them as well and the sudden disconnection to the everyday routine of their children may come as a surprise.
#3 Don’t settle for less
It’s an adjustment period, but it shouldn’t justify poor behaviour. Reward positive behaviour to remind students of the school’s behaviour system. Don’t let your expectations drop when it comes to behavioural management. We’re all struggling, but that’s not an excuse for rudeness. Talk to the students to let them know you’re aware it’s difficult time but make your expectations very clear.
#4 Be relatable
We’re all human, and this is a weird time to be living in. Let your students know that it’s a challenging time for all and that you understand how they’re feeling. Creating that connection could make this period of change a little easier on each other.
#5 Try changing tactics
Perhaps lockdown and remote learning gave you a chance to reflect on what life was like in the classroom. Was there anything you would do differently if you were given a fresh start? Well, here’s one! You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; to be perfectly honest, no one will have the energy for that right now. Focus on one thing you’d like to implement to your classroom management – a positive change for you and your routine will be positive for your students too.
#6 Mindfulness in the classroom
Recovering from a time of turmoil might just need a little bit of peace. Consider implementing, breath work, visualisation and other mindful teaching strategies into your regular routine – who knows, both the students and you may feel a little better for it?
Read Mindful Behaviour Management for more information.
Whatever works for you, don’t forget to share it with your colleagues and other teaching friends. It’s an exhausting time right now and sharing some positive results may be that little ray of hope they need to get through the term.
Are you currently looking for your next role?
About the author
After completing a BA in Creative Writing and a Masters in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester, Tammy worked as a Learning Support Assistant, with a focus on helping students develop their literacy skills. She then taught as an English teacher at an all-boys comprehensive school in Berkshire. Now she has turned her sights to a career in marketing, with writing at the heart of it.