Where did 2021 go? Teachers and other educators going into the holiday break may be asking themselves this as another year wraps up and a new year begins. But there’s no time to lament — another year is beginning! And while it may seem early to think about 2022 in its entirety, it’s never too early to be prepared, especially with spring term just around the corner. So how can you prepare for spring 2022, and the coming fall 2022 academic year? Let’s have a look!

Keeping Abreast of the COVID Situation

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has been perhaps the number-one defining feature of the past academic year, and this looks to hold true at least for spring 2022. However, there’s good news on the horizon! With the FDA approving covid vaccines for ages five and up, schools can look forward to students from kindergarten through high school being vaccinated, thus making schools infinitely safer and lower-risk places for everyone.

That said, every state and school district’s situation is different. When planning for fall 2022, and especially for the upcoming spring term, keep abreast of your state’s COVID situation, and your school’s policies. Knowing the specifics of your situation will help you create a plan that keeps you and your students safe and learning, with room to adapt to any sudden changes in the situation.

Being There for Junior and Seniors Applying to College

You may have thought that, with fall 2021 behind you, it would be a while before you or your students would be thinking about college applications. Think again! Many schools have application deadlines in January 2022, or even later, so many of your seniors will still be finishing their application cycle come the new year. And even once applications have been submitted, your students may still have to face interviews, wait lists, and of course, Decision Day itself.

Moreover, juniors will be preparing to take the SAT/ACT and looking to you for guidance. Remember, teachers can be an important resource for students applying to college, so be sure to let your students know you’re there to help. For juniors and seniors, you can be not only an educational support with test prep or admissions essays, but a trusted adult for them to turn to in a very stressful time, which can be even more valuable.

Keeping What Works, Losing What Doesn’t

Educators try hard to impress upon their students that everyone makes mistakes, and the important thing is to learn from them — but remember, that goes for you, too! Especially with the challenges of the past few years, you’ll likely have tried new things in the classroom, and while some may have worked wonderfully, others were likely less than ideal. These could have been anything from new policies around homework, to using video and other technology in the classroom, to virtual office hours over breaks — or something completely different! Take some time to sit down and make a list of what worked and what didn’t over fall 2021 — and cut the “didn’t” items from your spring and fall 2022 plans, while making an effort to incorporate the “did” items more thoroughly.

Staying Open-Minded

If there’s one thing the past two academic years have taught us, it’s that even the best-laid plans may need to change at the drop of a hat. While it’s important to start planning for spring and fall 2022, it’s equally important to remember that nothing is set in stone. While you hope everything will go according to plan, be ready to be flexible. Not only will this make your life easier at any unexpected turns, you’ll also be setting a great example for your students, especially as they look to college and the future!

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