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First Day of School Jitters

Steve Hiles

The first day of school looms ahead-and you find yourself biting your nails.  It does not matter if you are a veteran teacher who has taught for thirty years or more, or a recent graduate from a teaching college facing your first class as a solo teacher.  It's just normal to get a bit of "stage fright" as the first day of school rolls around.

As teachers, we all have good reasons to examine our feelings and emotions when faced with the challenges of the year of teaching ahead.  It takes a great deal of energy to be a teacher.  It requires high levels of commitment, responsibility, knowledge, and leadership skills to handle a class and to guide and engage students in the learning process.  How you feel about your work affects its quality and the degree of pleasure you take in it.

Being willing to be shut inside a classroom with a large group of children actually takes real courage.  As teachers, we are less free than business people to take breaks, go out for lunch, on the spur of the moment, or to walk away from our responsibilities.  While we may not work 9-to-5, many of us actually devote all our waking hours to our classroom concerns.  Teacher requires some real sacrifices - and each time we start a new year, it may be wise to look at how well we have balanced our "real lives" outside the classroom with the rewards we receive from teaching.

You will be juggling schedules, objectives, materials, regular classwork, homework, grades and much much more.  Will you have the organizational skills, patience, and energy to keep up with it all?  Having the energy to 'do it all' becomes a real question for many teachers.  The rate of "burnout" in the teaching profession is high.  Make a point of looking at how well you take care of yourself.  You will want to build pleasures, relaxation, and refreshment of various kinds to help you continue to enjoy and be effective in your work.

In conclusion, as the Boy Scout motto teaches, your best protection is preparation.  Of course, you cannot prepare for every eventuality but you can prepare sufficiently to feel confident that you can handle most of your important work as a teacher.  So to my fellow teachers, the best of luck to you in coming school year!

All the best,

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