Back-to-School panic is a common occurrence among educators and during my research on this topic, I came across an interesting article, Investigation of Teacher Anxiety Dreams at Back to School Time that explores the anxiety dreams some teachers experience when a new school year begins.
I have found that no matter how long I have been teaching, I always get anxious as a new school year approaches. For me, the struggle of saying “goodbye” to the relaxation of summer coupled with the anticipation of saying “hello” to a group of fresh, energetic students sends me into teacher-panic mode.
I know the work (classroom set-up, lesson planning, PD sessions, staff meetings, parent calls, trips to the teacher store, etc.) that must take place before I greet my new students at the door. I also know that this first interaction with my students is crucial because it will set the tone for the rest of the school year.
Over the years, I have learned to deal with my fears at back-to-school time by simply accepting that this new school year panic is just a natural part of teaching. Whether I like it or not, I know it is going to happen.
I also realize that the anxiety experienced at the start of a school year will vary in degrees ranging from extreme terror to gentle jitters. For example, I had terrible nightmares about any and everything going horribly wrong the weeks leading up to my first year of teaching, the year I changed from third grade to seventh grade, and the year I became a literacy coach. I now understand that during those times, I was terrified about my performance in these new situations and I let my fears get the best of me.
However, most years, my back-to-school panic is not memorable thanks to learning how to embrace the inevitable, sharing a few good laughs with my colleagues, and practicing lots of Woosah. :-)
Here are additional resources related to the topic of Back-to-School panic:
- Stressing Support, Not Stress: Easing the Anxieties of Being a Novice Teacher
- Education World: Eric Baylin: Teacher Anxiety Song
How do you cope with Back-to-School panic?