Tips for the Start of an Unusual School Year

Sanam EdwardsBlog, Connect Better, Engage Better, Manage Better, Reflect Better


  • The new school year is usually full of different thoughts and emotions because of the change. It’s like switching teams every year with different learners.
  • This post shares a number of tips for the beginning of the school year. Set up a reflection bench to allow students to talk in the corridors. Set up recharge zones filled with books, doodling materials, and board games for students who need a break. Allow for flexibility with seating. Continue to practice good self-care routines.

The commencement of every school year is usually full of jitters, outright alarm, and a sense of struggling to keep up.

Fresh class lists are handed out, lesson plans need to be prepared, and teachers scurry up and down the ladders of grades that they are going to be teaching in the next session. An exciting time full of new prospects, the first day of the new semester sets the tone for the entire year.

I do not know another profession that is subject to constant change. It is almost like switching teams every year, thrust into uncharted waters dealing with a large group that you need to lead but have varied subtleties. Did I mention the team is not only made up of adults? Students come into new classrooms with their own baggage and no independent resolve to make this new team a success; they are simply looking for a good time and to get through the school year unscathed. An educator’s job is to juggle the learners and the adults while employing every strategy in the book to ensure that all parties thrive within the confines of school.

What can be termed an anxiety-ridden time for some, the start of this particular session of 2021-22 heralds additional challenges. It will not be enough to put everything in place and hope for the best on the first day of school. Putting certain practices into place from day one will ensure overall wellbeing. It is imperative to understand that one person can make a difference to a multitude of people, especially in the wake of a life-altering pandemic where nothing is the same as it was before.

It is imperative to understand that one person can make a difference to a multitude of people, especially in the wake of a life-altering pandemic where nothing is the same as it was before. Click To Tweet

Back to School Tip: Set Up Reflection Benches

Benches are placed in the corridors with inviting throw pillows. Who wouldn’t want to catch a break and relax during their workday? Taking a breather will now be of paramount importance for both facilitators and students as neither party is familiar with an entire workday anymore. People suffering from anxiety about being in closed spaces with others could pull out a friend, have a revitalizing pep talk and return to their lessons feeling refreshed. My threshold for noise has diminished as an educator, and I can see myself gathering on the Reflection Bench thoughts quite often!

Back to School Tip: Recharge Zones

Getting right into the nitty-gritty of curriculum at the opening of the school year may be harmful to the mental health of the students resuming school. Our young ones have become accustomed to working around their own schedules during virtual classes—sneaking in a hot chocolate during lessons with the camera switched off, chatting with peers on a side window, and so much more. While plans are coming into place to implement longer school days, we need to remember that rigidity will repel students rather than invite them back into the routine. Recharge Zones filled with books, doodling materials, and board games will encourage students to unwind before beginning their next lesson and provide a much-needed break between heavy classes.

[scroll down to keep reading]

Flexible Seating Challenge

Back to School Tip: Rethink Your Seating Arrangements.

Pre-arranged seating may have worked in the past, but teachers could provide freedom to students to select their own seating plan for this strange year. Everyone has been physical, emotionally, or mentally hit in some way by COVID-19, and sometimes all you need is a friend to get you through the difficult times.

So why should that change in school? Bill Watterson once said, “Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.” No one can know what a child is going through, and offering assistance in small ways will aid them in getting back into the groove. I intend to give my students the chance of being less formal on the floor with throw pillows while having the alternative to move to a desk while writing. The sky is the limit!

Back to School Tip: Stop, Drop, and Roll with the Punches!

Everyone assumed that teaching during the pandemic was tough. I personally have a feeling that coming back to school may be a lot more challenging. We have a scarred generation to deal with who are fraught with more stress than they should have seen in a lifetime. There may be times when we must halt everything that we have planned for the day to address SEL issues or make certain that our kids are on the right track. Nurturing young ones can be draining, and we should ensure that we keep our self-care routines going so that we are psychologically capable of managing every situation that comes our way.

The forthcoming year is an amalgamation of wondrous possibilities and tricky hurdles. Educators have always risen to the occasion and will continue to do so in the face of adversity. Reaching out for assistance and establishing a network of support will be more crucial than ever before. We have been through the worst, and it can only go up from here!

See the full blog series here!

About Sanam Edwards

Sanam Edwards is a teacher in Gurgaon (India). She enjoys building the student’s voice and choice within the classroom environment while infusing her quirky sense of humour into daily activities. She’s an advocate for technology in the classroom and is constantly on the lookout for new ways to engage the students mentally and emotionally. She regularly blogs about her forays in the education sector at