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Empowering Through Education by Judianne Jayme

Hit the ground running

Back-to-school survival guide

by Judianne Jayme

It’s safe to say that I took my own advice about being active and involved in the community during my summer break. I travelled, I did some networking, I volunteered, and I was out and about at community celebrations and events. This made my summer fly by faster than it ever has before.

I’m glad to be back for my second year of this column, as well as my fourth year teaching. After having taught three full years in this classroom, I have gained a sense of comfort and confidence in my ability to set up for my next batch of students. What used to take me two weeks of organizing and planning, I am now able to do within one week.

The first week of school is crucial both at school and at home. On my end, I am building relationships in the classroom community, ensuring that this new group of kids, all anxious for their final year at the school, become aware that they are in a safe learning environment. I set the tone that the year will not be an easy one, but we will power through the next ten months by being true learners – learners who take initiative, ask questions, and set goals for ourselves.

Parent tip: Encourage!

The students who I notice have the most academic and personal growth in the school year are the students whose parents are involved in their learning. These parents call or visit me at school to follow up, they ask me what advice I have for them to help encourage their child to get involved and interested in his or her studies. They take time to have important conversations with their children, and are involved in their children’s goal setting.

We live in a culture where we are constantly distracted by our surroundings. Take time to be unplugged – and to tune into what matters most. Check up on your children this first month of school by asking open-ended questions: “How do you like your teacher?” “What are you nervous about for this year?” “What are you excited about?” These three questions alone will spark a meaningful conversation between you and your scholars. Best of luck, and enjoy the first few weeks of school!

Judianne Jayme is an educator teaching sixth grade in the Winnipeg School Division.

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