It’s happened again. The summer holidays are coming to an end before we’ve even had the chance to say ‘sunshine’. Covid restrictions are gradually ending across the country, and the kids are back to school.

We know that teachers and students have had it particularly tough recently. It hardly seems possible that we hadn’t even heard of coronavirus in January 2020, and yet by March the whole world was at a standstill. With the schools being shut for huge portions of time and kids and teachers alike having to adapt to a new way of working and learning, it’s not surprising that some children have and will struggle to get back into a school routine.

Read on for some helpful advice on how to support students to return to school life this year through actionable strategies.

Be Patient and Empathetic

Have you ever been described as having the patience of a saint by parents or colleagues? Practicing patience allows us to reflect on a situation before it happens; it’s the ability to remain empathetic and calm to gain more control over one’s life.

As a result of Covid restrictions easing, schools and other educational facilities face many changes in the coming months. Students may require extra time to settle in the classroom as they adapt from e-learning to direct learning.

Allowing students an extra five minutes to maintain good hygiene and navigate safely to their next class or sparing ten minutes out of your already hectic day to listen to a student’s concerns, is a great way to ease nerves.

Nurture New and Old Friendships

Another aspect of the school routine to consider is how children socialise with each other and play together. Being placed in a mandatory lockdown meant that children would go weeks or months without seeing their friends and peers. It took a huge toll on their mental health, and some kids may still be experiencing social anxiety.

Teachers should bear in mind that this social isolation may have caused shifts in friendship groups and thrown a spanner in the works of the seating plan. Disruptions of long-term habits, friends and routines can lead to further anxiety at school.

As a teacher, you have the opportunity to promote inclusivity during a time when social distancing is encouraged. Icebreakers are a fun and resourceful way of reintroducing students and teachers to one another. It’s more likely that students will feel comfortable in their school routine if they have a positive relationship with their peers and can re-establish trust in their teachers.

Start a Discussion with Students

As humans, we’re very good at avoiding hard-to-talk-about topics. Lockdowns are evidence that times aren’t always easy and how we communicate in the future is critical.

An excellent way to help get kids back into the school routine is by being honest when you’re unsure about something. Children will have questions and may even be a little scared about their future or the future of the world in general.

Use this as a chance to perform weekly reflection sessions. Teachers can utilise these sessions to address any concerns students may have while back at school. Additionally, teachers receive valuable feedback from students that can be used to help them set their own goals for the future.

The truth is there’s no one-size-fits-all manual for this kind of thing. Accepting that the transition back to school will be tough will make it easier when obstacles arise in the future.

Above all, remain positive. The school routine doesn’t have to be one to dread.

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