Remember those days back when you were at school yourself, you would feel that familiar jolt of nerves as your brain registered that the first day of school after a big holiday was coming up?
Remember how you would quash the anxiety by frantically buying new pencil cases, notebooks and matching stationary to try and banish the blues?
Well whilst the rest of us bid goodbye to these back to school jitters, teachers often still deal with them, so, here are some pointers to help let go of those negative feelings and start the school year in the best possible way.
- Eat and sleep well
You know that saying ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’? Well thats the look you ideally want to be aiming for on the very first day back to school! No one wants to feel frazzled and unprepared after a sleepless night and a skipped breakfast.
Make sure you get an early night and sleep well the night before so you can awake feeling refreshed and ready for the day.
Ensure sure you have something to eat as well, as a good breakfast will set you up for the day ahead and allow your brain to function correctly.
After a long holiday, everyone’s minds may take a minute to get back into the swing of school life so anything that may help the process has to be a good thing.
Take a long hot bath or shower, spend the evening before watching your favourite feel good TV show or reading a book and allow yourself to switch off to the outside world for a short while.
Plus, taking your time and not rushing around in the morning can be avoided if you get everything ready for the first day the night before, maybe this habit wont last but it will make the first day that little bit less stressful.
Im not at all suggesting that this next tip is for everyone but if the jitters hit you hard in the week leading up to the first day back, try relaxing and maybe even meditating if you want to try something new.
Meditating allows us to switch off from the buzz of the outside world and focus within, yes there are always skeptics and yes it may not work for everyone, however it is a form of relaxation and relaxing helps everyone.
In a world where we all feel a little overwhelmed sometimes, we hardly take a moment to ourselves. So, find somewhere to sit quietly and either just focus on your breathing, meditate yourself or alternatively, there are lots of apps, both free and paid for that you can download onto your phone to guide you if you’re new to the whole meditating scene.
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but what’s the harm in trying it out, especially as mediation is proven to help anxiety. So, if it will help to banish the blues and help you to feel more put together and calmer for the first day back then give it a go! You might even enjoy it!
3. Spend some time on yourself
If you can, spend the last week or few days of your break doing things that make you happy personally. Don’t try to cram a lot into the last days of summer as you frantically make plans to see everyone and do every activity under the sun (or the many rain clouds this summer has given us) take some time and unwind, get round to finishing that novel, spend some time catching up over a coffee with friends or spend a night in with the family.
It’s the last days of your summer holidays, the calm before the storm of classes, homework setting, marking, problem solving and not getting to finish that cup of tea or biscuit on your short-lived break. Make the most of your time and use it for you.
Having said that, it’s a good idea to prepare for the first day by just sitting down quietly a few days before and thinking carefully about what needs to be done. Get any marking or preparation you need to do done and out of the way early so you can enjoy those last few days to yourself.
4. Remember ALL your achievements
Quashing anxiety is all about replacing the negative thoughts in your head with positive ones. You might still feel a little apprehensive about the first day, thats totally normal, however if you are aware that negative thoughts keep popping into your mind, be quick to take a step back and get yourself back on the positive track.
Think about all your achievements, whether you helped one student or 100, you still made a difference.
Think about all your classes who learnt something new each day because of you. Remember all the students who personally thanked you or who called you their favourite teacher.
Remembering positive things and people you made a difference to will help banish those negative thoughts and help you actually look forward to the new school year.
So, teachers, yes the end of your summer holidays is nigh and yes there may be some challenges ahead, but along with those challenges come excitement, new opportunities and the realisation that you’re educating the next generation, which is a pretty admirable thing to be part of! Hope everyone’s first days go excellently and I hope that you actually do get a chance to finish that cup of tea on your first day tea break!