If you’re an educator, you know how exciting this time of year can be. A new school year brings all kinds of new opportunities, for both teachers and students.
Of course, it also brings new challenges as well. It’s not always easy to keep student (or teacher) morale high and the focus on learning for a full school year. Let’s look at a few strategies and some products that can help.
Take a look around your classroom. Does it offer your students a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere? Sometimes, just small changes such as moving a piece of furniture can make a large difference in how the space is perceived.
Students may be anxious on their first day, especially if they’re in a new school. Greet them warmly. Let them see that your room is a place where they can be themselves and be challenged in a positive way.
Encourage School Spirit from the First Day.
Custom pencils, pens and notebooks can encourage school spirit. They can be personalized to the school or to a specific teacher’s classroom. Include the school or classroom mascot or motto on the products Hand them out on the first day of class to encourage student participation.
Promote high expectations with custom banners, balloons and other items on the first day to build a sense of belonging and a can-do attitude.
Find ways to encourage teacher-student interactions. Custom hats, badges or even t-shirts for both can be a great way to break the ice and build a strong partnership link.
Whether your school requires uniforms or not, custom t-shirts emblazoned with the school mascot, name and motto make a big impression. They foster a spirit of togetherness and camaraderie that, with a little encouragement, can last the whole year through.
Surprises Throughout the Year
It’s not enough just to promote unity and spirit on the first day or first week. It’s vital to keep the energy level high all year long. Regular surprise events can help. Custom hats for teachers, as an example, can add a dose of humor to the school and break up boredom.
Rewarding academic achievement shows students that their hard work can reap tangible rewards. Custom challenge coins offer a keepsake that also can be an incentive to keep working hard. They’re portable, collectable, and when ordered in bulk, exceptionally affordable. They also can be used to reward teachers for outstanding work as well.
Incorporate Small Keepsakes into the Lesson Plan
Small, inexpensive items such as custom wristbands help reinforce the message of specific academic programs. Red Ribbon Week is an excellent example.
Held each October, Red Ribbon Week is a program geared toward teaching students from elementary through high school the importance of making good decisions and staying away from drugs and alcohol.
If you order custom wristbands imprinted with the year’s Red Ribbon Week theme, students can wear them throughout the year. They have a constant reminder of the values that Red Ribbon Week seeks to impart. It keeps the message of drug- and alcohol-free living front and center.
Everyone appreciates a little everyday encouragement. That’s where smaller items come in. Bookmarks, for example, can help foster reading skills. Stress balls can reduce test anxiety and cut down on fidgeting. For some students, even fidget spinners (remember those?) can be a tool to help increase focus on learning tasks. Sometimes the simplest items can reap the greatest rewards.
A wide range of items can encourage participation in extracurriculars such as clubs, sports or volunteer programs. Custom lanyards, pins, wristbands, t-shirts and other items help members feel they’re part of a group or team. A strong identification with the school can improve discipline and academic performance at every grade level.
Custom calendars, magnets, keychains and other small items help keep both students and faculty aware of key dates in the school year. Testing days, academic tournaments, end-of-grading-period reminders and the like can be imprinted to keep everyone on track.
Contests and Competitions
You can use custom items, including challenge coins, trophies, medals and others to promote participation in events both inside the classroom and schoolwide. Whether for a debate performance, spelling bee, math-a-thon or other event, prizes of all sorts encourage students to strive for their best throughout the year. Local events make excellent prep for district, regional, state or national competitions, whether individually or in teams.
Don’t forget that custom promo products make terrific fundraising tools too. Your school can put together a package of products customized to your specific needs, and best of all, you can keep all the money you raise.
There’s absolutely no reason to pay a middleman fundraising company that will keep 40 to 60 percent or more of the funds you raise. Give your fundraising a boost, and your student programs will benefit greatly. For music programs, academic clubs and even sports programs, such fundraising can add significant enhancements that might not otherwise be possible.
Faculty members deserve rewards too! Custom pens, Bluetooth speakers, tumblers, mugs and other items show your staff that you appreciate their dedication and hard work throughout the year. Teaching is often viewed as a thankless job. Say thanks and you’ll reduce your turnover rate, improve faculty morale, and in turn increase student performance as well.
Recognition is a Key to Success.
Obviously, custom products are not the only solution to keeping teachers and students motivated for the full length of an academic year. But they can be a strong part of an integrated solution that keeps a school functioning at a higher level than it might otherwise do.
At any level, from kindergarten through college, both students and faculty need to be recognized on a regular basis for their commitment to education. Small gestures mean a lot, sometimes more than bigger events. Regular, frequent rewards and incentives can go a long way toward making the coming academic year the best one yet.