First Day Back at School, by Ali Harwood

The first day back at school is often a shock. Whether you are a child, a parent or a teacher, that long summer break may seem a distant memory by mid-afternoon on the opening page of the new school year.

The seasons seem to change so quickly…

For children in primary schools, adapting to a new teacher with different expectations in a different physical environment is often confusing to begin with, but within a few days this will become the new normal.

Young folks respond differently to their first day, and books such as the charmingly illustrated ‘Tom and Sofia Start School’, which is available in many different dual language forms, may help.

Where parents are concerned, they are often… concerned! For example, if they have a medical, dietary, educational or other requirement (their child, not themselves), it is important to make sure the responsible adults in school know. In my experience, although not perfect, the transition methods in schools are much improved from when I was a pupil, way back last millennia.

If you have a child whose mother tongue is not English, their class teacher may well have something like a ‘key phrases’ dual language chart. If not, why not direct the school Mantra’s way?

For the teacher, life in the classroom is a performance. Often, a restless night precedes a day in which you get bombarded with at least a gazillion pieces of paper to be digested and filed, a metaphorical mountain of emails to deal with and a classroom that’s not quite ready yet. And that’s before you add your new learners to the mix.

If sticky labels, or a lack of suitable ones, are what keeps you up at night, worry no more, for Mantra has an answer…

For what it’s worth, my advice would be to keep patient with each other, know that neither you nor anyone else is going to get everything right first time and keep the communication open and clear from the start.

For example, you may initially find a new concept or piece of vocabulary challenging. That’s good, as it shows you have something new to learn. Maths presents a barrier to some people. Referring to a chart of key terms may help.

To all players in this first act of the academic year, I applaud you. You have made your first entrances and have survived to read this! That’s something. Perhaps you feel like laughing. Perhaps you feel like crying. You may be exhausted. You may be exhilarated. However you may feel, you will have no doubt learned something new, even if it wasn’t in the plan. That’s learning for you.

Sleep tight and good luck for tomorrow.