Back To School Hacks

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James Manwaring

James Manwaring is Director of Music for Windsor Learning Partnership, a Multi-Academy Trust in Windsor, Berkshire. He oversees music for the 4 schools in the trust and has been working in music education for 16 years. James has been nominated for a National Music Education...
Read more about James Manwaring
How do you prepare for the new term at school? 

The start of a new school term is inevitable. No matter ‘how many weeks off’ we have and ‘how many emails we ignore’, the new term will arrive, and it is creeping ever closer.

Preparation is everything – there is nothing quite like arriving back from the school holidays, ready to go. So here are some ideas for you to slowly start getting your head back ‘into the zone’.

8. Do Prepare

Resist thinking that you don’t need to prepare. You are doing the right thing already by reading this blog. Embrace preparation and get excited and motivated.

7. Read Something Different

In the build up to your return, read something to inspire you. I have just finished reading a book by astronaut Chris Hadfield – An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. It has not only inspired me, but also started to prepare me for the term ahead. Sometimes the new term can feel like a trip into outer-space.

6. Write a Mission Statement

This is something I try to do once a year. Don’t think performance management targets, but more personal career goals.

  • What is it that you want to achieve in the year ahead?
  • What kind of teacher, person, leader do you want to be this year?

It is good to have fun targets as well as the formal ones.

5. Evaluate

Get closure on last year by reviewing and evaluating it. This can be informal and again, may focus more on the personal side of things. Did you work too much? Did you spend too much time indoors or not exercising enough? Were you a bit disorganised?

Review the term gone by and then plan to change.

4. New Outfit?

There is nothing like a new suit or dress for day one of a new term. It can make you feel fresh and ready, and you can sort of align yourself with all the students in their ill-fitting uniforms that parents want them to grow in to … Although I do suggest you buy clothes that fit!

3. Rough Out Your Routine

Work out your daily and weekly routine and make sure you pencil in time for you. The time you wake up can really make a difference to your day, as can how much time you spend in the gym or spending time with your family – away from school thoughts.

2. Subscribe to Free CPD

Subscribe to the Teacher Toolkit newsletter if you haven’t already. There is so much out there to encourage and inspire you. Free CPD, online discussions and reading blogs is not only informative, but also encouraging and interesting.

1. Finally …

Look forward to the new term. You teach because you fundamentally enjoy the job. Think through all the things you love about your job and go into the new term with an attitude of willingness. You know there will be hard times ahead, but this is a fresh start, so make sure it is a good start. Half glass full attitudes amongst staff are always better than half empty.

The new term is around the corner. I hope that you have a fantastic term, so go-get preparing for it!

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