A new school year is almost upon us and many children will have had an amazing summer break. However, for some, there will be the challenge of being out of the school routine and the separation from friends and teachers.
For some children, including those who are looked after or previously looked after, this break can be especially hard.
Children will often be anxious about what the next year will bring.
The following letter is one I have written which gives a small sense of what a child will experience when they return to my school. I know my staff as so many across the country work so very hard for the children in their schools and have a high priority to build connection and strong relationships as they recognise these are the backbone of any classroom and school. Wishing everyone: Teacher, school staff, parents and children a good school year.
Dear Child in my class,
I am looking forward to welcoming you into school in September.
Before you come back I would like you to know a few things about how we will work with each other and what it will be like being in my class.
To begin with, I want to get to know you and the things you like and don’t like.
I want to find out the things you are good at and celebrate and build on these; it might be things like kindness or teamwork or might be that you are a super tidier-upper or great at writing poems.
I will also be curious and find out about the things you find tricky – you may not be able to tell me these as you may not fully realise what these are yet, but nevertheless, I will wonder out loud with you and together we can try to work things out.
During the day, I will try my best to notice when you are doing well so I can remind you how hard you are working, but likewise, I’ll notice when you might be struggling; this means I can then try to help you. By doing both of these things we can work on you becoming the best you can be!
I also want you to know that we all make mistakes and get things wrong; getting things wrong is a massive part of learning and this is okay; I’ll help you if you find getting things wrong upsetting or if it makes you cross.
I will recognise that if your behaviour is not quite as expected there is likely to be things going on for you; I know that when people have things going on it is harder to control our thoughts, emotions and behaviour. I also understand that sometimes things that happened to us a while ago can also effect how we think about ourselves, about others and how we view the world. I know that sometimes you might feel that school isn’t a safe place for you and I want you to know that I will work hard to understand the particular parts of school that make you feel unsafe and do what I can to make these safer for you; I know that only once we have done this will you be able to be in the best possible position to learn and be at your best.
When I notice you are struggling I will help you get into a better place – I’ll help you regulate. I might give you a bit of space; I might ask you to do a little job for me; I might let you do a small activity; but whatever it is, we can work things out together. I will also help you discover ways that work for you which help you stay in a good learning place and also to get back to this place when you might feel too low or too high for learning.
If there is a big problem I will help you regulate first before trying to deal with it; only then will I be able to connect back with you so we can chat about things. We will then work together to sort out the problem and if necessary decide together how to show we are sorry or make any repairs that may need to happen.
I will do my best to be available for when you need me. I will greet you at the door every morning with a cheery hello as I will be pleased to see you. I will keep you in mind – even when I’m not in the class with you.
I will work with those important people in your life to make sure I get things as right as possible.
Whatever happens – I will be there for you all year long. I will not give up on you or your learning – no matter how tricky things might be.
I will not shout at you – even when things go wrong; instead I will try to regulate my own emotions when I am faced with difficulties because when I do this I will be in a better place to help you.
You will learn lots this year. You will learn to improve your maths, English and Science but you will also learn to be creative and express yourself through art, music, dance and drama; you will get to be active not only in PE lessons but throughout the day as we will have mini physical activities that will help our bodies to be in the right place to learn. We will also have times of quite and calm to help us all relax and be ready to learn.
You will learn about how our behaviours come from our experiences, emotions, thoughts and feelings, and you will learn ways to help yourself and others when you are not quite in the right zone for learning.
Please know that we are in this together.
You are the reason why I became a teacher – to be there to help you, to teach you, to comfort you when you are upset, and to help you learn to be the best you can be.
I will help you find and grow the strength you have inside.
I am excited about the adventures we will have together and look forward to seeing you soon.
Signed: Your Teacher