- Don’t think about it or countdown the days: this one seems easier than it actually is. It is important to try and enjoy and relax for the remaining holiday time. I find telling myself things like “no, not yet” when I think about back to school helpful.
- Don’t madly rush to do all of the jobs on your list: it is essential to remain calm and not break your neck trying to finish your list. It creates a sense of panic and that is not helpful at this time of year. You are and were entitled to a break. Don’t feel guilty over what is not done.
- Accept that there are some things that you will not get to: as much as I plan to have a perfect classroom, I always, always fall short. Things cannot be perfect and you can fix some of those little jobs in the first few weeks.
- Start a new countdown: this one helps me. I work out how many days until my next break. I find this helps me to focus on short term chunks and it feels more manageable.
- Use your diary: as soon as my dates are in my diary and I know what is happening, I feel more settled and on top of things. This is one thing that I find important in keeping a sense of calm. I know what is coming and when.
- Accept that it will be hard at the start and that you are not alone: everyone is in the same boat returning to school. Your peers will have slept in too, stayed up late and had inconsistent sleeping times. They will feel exhausted like you. They won’t be able get out of bed and will struggle like you. Changing routine is always hard. I try and just accept that and move forward.
- Rest: the obvious and most important one. Take the time needed to rest. You seem to hit the ground running. Unlike some jobs, there is no taking it slow or adjustment time. You are straight back into the speed race. Remember to breathe, rest and sleep as much as you can.
- Prioritise: You need to make sure that you don’t get overwhelmed. After a holiday, your back to school list seems to feel triple. Your workload feels like it doubles. Make sure that you check what is urgent and important first.
It’s hard to believe. Your sleeping in, relaxing, reading and then BAM. Those dreaded words start to appear on TV. Ads scream “Back to school”. It is a rude awakening. Your mind starts to race and fills with all of those things that you need to and haven’t done. The guilt over leaving things too late sets in. Trust me, after 16 years, I know these feelings well. It does get a tiny bit easier with experience (not too much). Some teachers like this time, some don’t. I am firmly in the I don’t camp. However, I do survive. I will survive. Here a few things that I find helps at this time of year:
Annette Palma and Carley Rogozik/ Dawson