It’s here! The summer has flown past and it’s time to start heading back to the classroom. Pretty soon you will see a whole new group of faces come marching through the door, and they may bring with them, a whole load of stress and anxiety.
Well, we’re here to help! We asked teachers for their favourite way of dealing with start of school anxiety for both you and your students.
Prep with Parents
One of the best resources a teacher has for helping their students is working with their parents. Many teachers will try and make themselves available to parents before school. This can be done various ways including a pre-first day meeting, a quick Q&A phone call, or by simply sending home some materials in advance. Some teachers will even send resources or crafts ahead of time to help kids feel more comfortable on the day of.
One commonly found resource online is Jitter Glitter (origin unknown). Jitter Glitter is a small packet of glitter that kids can place under their pillow and a short poem. Kids and parents are encouraged to read the poem together, and then place the baggie of glitter under their kids pillow when they go to sleep.
Ask anyone how to combat stress and they will tell you, be prepared. Making sure to spend time organizing and prepping your materials is a great way to get ready for the new year. Each time you check off a task on your To-Do list, you will feel the stress just melt away. Things you can have ready well in advance could include classroom setup, printed hand outs, and making sure you’re stocked up on your day to day supplies.
The best way to fight the stress is by looking inward and finding the method that best suits you. Some people like to wake up early and watch the sunrise on a new school year or use meditation or other methods like Yoga or Hygge.
Many students and adults have had amazing success dealing with stressors through the use of fidget tools like Thinking Putty(left) or Twiddle Fidgets(right).
Having a solid schedule is a big help for keeping first day jitters under control. Starting with yourself you can plan out your outfit, your lunch, and your drive to work. These are all small tasks that can be planned out and prepared well in advance. Larger planning tasks can include setting out your lessons, first week crafts and activities are much larger and will help you keep your evenings free to relax.
Lesson planners are perfect for blocking out the first few weeks of school well in advance and are a great resource throughout the year. The more control you exert over your environment, the more prepared you will feel on the big day.
The Big Day!
First and foremost, get yourself ready. Whether you’re rocking out to your favourite tunes or drinking the biggest cup of coffee you can find, remember its all for you! If you’re able to greet your kids with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step it may help them get over their own stress and anxiety. Try to remember to stay flexible during drop off, as kids and parents may require some extra time on the first day and are likely just as anxious as you, if not more.
A great way to lower stress in the classroom is to start things slow. Keeping the first few days light and slow will help kids adjust to their new environment. Filling the first day or two with “Getting to Know You” activities, crafts, story time and community building activities, are all great ways to keep the stress away and build a positive classroom environment.