Is back-to-school anxiety keeping you awake at night? Even veteran teachers face anxiety at the start of a new school year. You may be teaching a whole new grade in a whole new school, or maybe nothing is changing except a new class of students. It doesn’t matter; anxiety can happen to anyone, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
While that anxiety will likely begin to dissipate after you’ve been in the classroom with your students for a couple of weeks, there are things you can do to combat that anxiety right now.
And we’re going to help you do it.
Tip 1: Mourn The Loss Of Free Time Without Dwelling On It
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that no one is excited to lose their free time. Sure, you may be excited to get back to work with your students, but we all know that teaching is a lot of hard work with long hours. And while there are ways to work better at school and less at home, you simply aren’t going to have as much free time during the school year as you would like. It’s okay to feel sad about this, but the key is not to dwell on it. Remember all the reasons you love teaching, and use that as a way to stop dreading your return to the classroom.
Tip 2: Don’t Worry About What Your Students Think Of You
It’s easy to get wrapped up in worrying about gaining the respect of your students. Sometimes this takes the form of strict rules and policies, and sometimes this takes the forms of teachers trying to form a friendship with students.
You’ll be amazed at how much anxiety you’ll eliminate just by not worrying about your students’ opinions. Focus on doing your job well; including showing your students you care about them and their well-being. But it’s impossible to make every student happy, and worrying about doing so is just going to increase anxiety.
You can’t control if your students like you or not. In all likelihood, some of your students will like you while others don’t. By accepting this as an issue that cannot be controlled, you can let go of the stress that comes with those fears.
Tip 3: Embrace Your Blank Slate
Instead of being fearful about building a new classroom community, think instead about the blank slate you’ve been given. How many employees are able to start completely fresh every single year? This is an amazing opportunity for you to take advantage of, for both you and your students.
This can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by setting your back to school goals for the new year. These will give you a starting point for how you want to set up your classroom. Even small changes can make a huge difference in your classroom. Get excited! There’s so much you can do in your classroom to facilitate learning and community.
You can do just about anything you want before your students arrive. Decorate your classroom a way you’ve never tried before. Change up your classroom management style. Add new routines or try out new tools you never got to last year. There’s still time to make some big decisions about how your classroom will run. Don’t dread it, get excited!
Tip 4: Think About What You’re Gaining
It’s easy to get yourself into a cycle of anxiety when thinking about heading back to school. When that starts to happen, take a step back and think about what you’re gaining from the new school year.
- The ability to start with a blank slate
- The opportunity to change the lives of your students and their families
- The relationships you’ll form with students and colleagues
- The chance to empower the next generation
- The new things you’ll be able to try in your classroom
- The people you’ll meet who will make an impact on your own life
What tricks do you have to combat back-to-school anxiety? Let us know in the comments!