New Year, New Routines
Whilst January 1st might signal an onslaught of the affirmation: 'New Year, New Me', September 1st - the start of the new school year - is undoubtedly the perfect time for new routines. What with new schools, new teachers, new classes, new subjects, new pens, why not add one more new thing to the list?
There is no doubting that the start of a new school year is full of its own difficulties: life has to squeeze itself back into a strict schedule, bathroom breaks are timetabled, lunch is more a mater of speed than dignity, and social lives have to neatly slot back in somewhere between the school day, family time, and all other commitments. However, introducing new routines can help to make this transition back into school life much easier, and make sure that there is time for everything.
My whole year always starts with the same routine - classroom cupboards are cleared out, new books are distributed, and seating arrangements are meticulously planned for each class. Something that changes year in, year out, are the routines I decide to take on for the remainder of the year. Last year, my main focus was organising my evenings and my marking. For the first time, I planned out a marking timetable (it was the first year of my career in which I had the right number of classes to match up with 'free' evenings) and wrote it into every day of my planner for the first two terms. A few years before, planning had been my main concern, and so I decided to work with a colleague and we stayed late every Friday evening until the whole next week was planned and resourced for all of our classes.
Routines change, and if they aren't carefully planned to align your needs and resources then they won't work. You have to be realistic.
My advice for setting routines varies when I speak to my students, however I tend to maintain three suggestions, regardless of who I'm speaking to:
- Organise your homework: whatever students may wish to believe, homework isn't set by their teachers just to inconvenience them. As with all work, it's best if you get the task completed when the thinking is fresh in your mind. So if you've been studying the plot of 'Romeo and Juliet' and your teacher asks you to map out a family tree of the characters before the following week, you'll get the work completed much more quickly if you do it when you get home that evening - and, you'll likely be able to make it more detailed so it will make it a more valuable revision resource for you.
- Make time for reading: whether you read for 10 minutes whilst eating breakfast, 30 minutes before bed, or every time you sit down with a cup of tea, it's important to find a reading routine that suits you. Not only is reading one of the best things you can do to aid your progress in all subjects, it is also something that helps you to relax and unwind, and after all the busyness of school, what better remedy could there be?
- Find time for yourself: hopefully for a lot of students, reading is something they both want to do as well as recognise the need for. However, it's imperative that young people find the time for their own hobbies, reading-related or not! The news headlines sadly remind us regularly of the increase in poor metal health amongst teens and young people, heightening the need to find remedies and coping mechanisms. From indulging in a relaxing bath, to spending quality time with siblings and friends, to attending regular sports clubs, it is important that young people recognise that their studies, although important, aren't everything. Without their own health and happiness, their studies will suffer, so it doesn't pay to overcommit to learning.
And if you need a little extra help with embedding these routines, Grouty's Guide can help. Tuition Memberships and Revision are coming soon, and our Book Club Memberships will be live from 1st October 2018.