Encouragement to survive the beginning of the school year
We made it through the first week of school!
My voice is hoarse and my feet hurt. But we made it! This has probably been one of the easiest transitions for me from summer into the classroom. I attribute that to spending as much time as possible in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with the lake, some bugs, and a couple snakes.
But even after twenty-one first days of school, I’m still uneasy about how it’s going to go. “Do I have the stamina? How am I going to get everything done at home and at school? Do I even own makeup? I don’t remember how to do my hair.” Those were the thoughts that went through my head, and I wondered what other teachers on the first week-eve were thinking.
I asked a question on Facebook “What are your beginning of school stress-points?” If you don’t think teachers are self-less, you will change your mind after reading their responses. Every answer was either about the needs of their students or the necessary teacher wellness required to be their best in the classroom. Plus, every single response made me look like this:
The biggest concern was about teaching school rules and routines. Many of my elementary teacher friends responded, and even if you’re a veteran teacher, you forget how many times you repeat yourself to little kiddos who are in a completely new environment. You forget that they’re five years old and have never set foot in your classroom. So you repeat yourself. Over. And. Over. And you try to keep your patience about it. You’re OLD, you know when lunch is. They’re five and they’re tired, they’re hungry, and they miss their mom.
You have to find enough lesson plans to do without overwhelming the kids. Two and a half months ago, you had a class ready to move onto the next grade. In my case, they could tie their shoes and they knew where to put their folders. Then I get in a time machine and go back to the beginning. It’s a difficult transition for the best of us.
Time. This is a teacher’s most valuable resource. You’re never done with your to-do lists and you have too many meetings. You try to prioritize your tasks so you get everything done, but even if you can prioritize like an efficiency rock-star, you still don’t have time with a schedule that you aren’t sure is going to work. Allow me to show you my scrambled and not prioritized at all system of a to-do list…
At the end of the very first day, you cringe if you hear the intercom go off, because it might be you that put a student on the wrong bus. This is the stuff of nightmares. You want your kiddos to be safe and if you have the wrong bus number or the wrong information, mistakes are made. Panic sets in until the confusion is cleared up. You call the parent to explain, apologize profusely, and assure them that it will not occur again. I’ve had parents become irate, but it’s from a place of fear. I get it. Once my oldest fell asleep on the bus and didn’t get off at his stop. There’s no fear like a mother’s fear.
Around 5:30 or 6:00 if you’re lucky, you drag yourself home, with a school bag so heavy that your posture suffers, your feet are wondering why you hate them, and you have nothing in the house for dinner.
But you know what? Your alarm goes off the next day and you get up and do it again. And again. These kiddos were placed in your room for a reason. You can do amazing things for them, even if you don’t get to everything on your to-do list, or if you went to school with footwear like this:
Because you’re rocking it, teacher friends! You’re an inspiration to so many!