A teacher in our Facebook Group (the Group Hug- Join here!) recently emailed me admitting that she was excited for sure, but also very nervous and overwhelmed by the impending start of the school year.
“I’m starting to feel the school year looming just around the corner. Part of me is excited- I miss my students and my teaching team and I’m starting to feel excited about being back in action. But I’m also a little gun shy… last year was really hard for me and I don’t want to feel that way again. Do you have any suggestions for how I can get into a good frame of mind before the school year starts?” – A veteran teacher in Colorado
I know that she’s not alone.
This is a story I’m hearing all over the teacherwebz right now. There is a flurry of articles, listilcles and quote cards aimed at helping teachers to transition from summer break to classroom ninja again.
Here’s my response to her:
Dear Veteran Teacher in Colorado-
I totally hear you and you are far from alone! Teachers across the country are starting to wrap their heads around going back to school and are feeling both excited and overwhelmed. There are many articles around the web suggesting that you use a checklist, or plan a last hurrah for the summer. Though I agree with much of the advice offered by these articles, my advice is more internally focused. I think the biggest impact on your mindset will be to reconnect with yourself.
- What do you love about teaching?
- What keeps your heart afire for the classroom?
- What transformations do you want to offer your students?
The answers to questions like these will remind you of your vision for what you want to accomplish in your life as a teacher. A strong teacher vision is critical, because it allows you see what steps to take to prepare for the year- keeping your brain grounded and your actions intentional. That alone has a huge calming influence! When your vision becomes hazy, on the other hand, you feel overwhelmed and unhappy, unsure how to choose between opportunities and which ones to say “no” to.
I’ll be the first to admit that it can be hard to get a handle on your vision. Simply asking “What do you love about teaching?” can stump you! That’s normal. The best way I’ve found to get around this is to use guided journaling- either visual or written. I’ve created a great workbook to help you work through it!
I think you’ll find that it helps you feel much more ready to go back to school!
I’ve also included a place to translate that vision into actions that you can take this year to create the classroom you WANT to work in. Because more than anything, I don’t want want you to feel as exhausted and worn out as you were at the end of last year. And we know that nothing changes if nothing changes.
You can get this visioning workbook here! I’d love to hear what you uncover!