I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Back To School: How To Overcome Anxiety And Make Week 1 Memorable

Back to school: overcoming teacher first day anxiety and jitters

I don't know about you, but I always experience anxiety right before and on the first day back to school. This is year 15 for me and I have to be honest: I always powered through and was back the next day. But what if there's a better way?

I recently listened to Angela Watson's Truth For Teachers Podcast Episode 100 on Overcoming the First Day Teacher Jitters and was gifted a new perspective; a new way of looking at the first day of school.

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This post is about my takeaways.

Overcoming Anxiety and Making Week 1 Memorable

First, embrace the what ifs and know that most of us have first day jitters. Then, act on those fears:

  1. Re-frame: Angela recommends to turn all the anxiety provoking what ifs into action steps. Instead of thinking: What if they don't like me?, ask yourself: How can I make week 1 memorable? Put your ideas down on paper.
  2. Visualize: Think through how your day would go if you were the best teacher ever; a beast at teaching not just the subject, but more importantly students. This is not grandiose; it's a way to connect with that hidden part of you that can and will crush day 1 of school this year.
  3. Make It About Them: We all know it's never about us. It's always about serving our students. Think about what the needs of your students. Consider ways you can positively impact their lives on day 1. Make a list of things you can use when the time comes.
  4. Believe: Believe in your students and their ability and desire to be their best selves. Expect it, rather than fearing what ifs. Believe in yourself as their guide. You're their teacher for a reason.

I loved how Angela normalized the the first day jitters and compared the anxiety to what many other professionals, such as speakers, experience before and when they have to present to a room full of adults. Turns out, teachers can use the same strategies to deal with anxiety in their classroom. I highly recommend listening to the entire episode here.

Re-frame and crush the first day of school. Do it in your head first. Then, kill it in the classroom.

This will be your best year ever. Believe it. See it. Make it happen.

You have the power to change lives. Use it often.