The new school year is under way. Now is the time to set the tone, finalize your initial plans, and line up everything you need for the coming months with your students.

Build Relationships
Introduce – or reintroduce – yourself and get involved. Become interwoven in the fabric of your school right from the start.

  • Get to know key personnel. In addition to the obvious ones, like your principal and classroom teachers, meet secretaries, custodians and others who know the building, the neighborhood, the people and the culture.
  • Get involved. Participate not only in required activities, but also in extracurricular functions like the PTA, holiday concerts, fund raisers and after-school programs.
  • Have a “get to know each other” session with your students. Post your photo and a brief bio. Talk with them about your personal interests and see what you have in common. This can lead to highly productive future sessions.
  • Communicate with parents. Get them involved in their children’s school therapy so it carries over into the home environment. Let them know when you’re available and how to get in touch with you.

Rules and Regulations
Check and adhere to school policies – and set your own regulations as well.

  • Be sure you stay within parameters. If you intend to use subject matter, books or materials that may border on controversy, check them out with the district first. Be careful never to interject your personal views on religion, politics or other sensitive areas.
  • If you want discipline to stick, establish your rules early on. Let students help develop them, within reason. They’ll be more likely to follow them if they feel some ownership. Try to stick to no more than five rules and post them so they’re clearly visible.

Spread Your Positive Attitude
You’re the driving force in whether your students perceive their therapy as a challenging, rewarding and even fun undertaking – or drudgery.

  • Make the right impression. If you make students feel like being here is a burden for you, they’ll quickly adopt the same negative outlook. Encourage curiosity. Send positive notes home. Catch children being good or going the extra mile and reward them for it.
  • Start off slowly. During the first grading period, move slowly enough so that most students can find some level of success.

Get Organized
When it comes to having a productive year, it’s all about planning ahead and remaining flexible in your thinking and strategies.

  • Develop your resources. These are your information sources for the year. Know where to get help when you need it. For instance, how will you deal with a lack of instructional materials? One way could be to keep an eye open for free or inexpensive apps and other tools.
  • Get your paperwork in order. You never know when you may be asked to produce documents related to your education or job. Also, keep good records of expenditures that you may later use for tax purposes.
  • Set your self-improvement goals. Are there areas where you want to hone your skills or increase your professional capabilities? Plan accordingly when it comes to time, cost and related factors so these goals are manageable, realistic and achievable.

Contact the specialized school therapy team at Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services for additional resources as you set the stage for success in the academic year ahead. Here’s to the best year ever!

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