It’s the first day back at school. You’re already stressed…

It’s the first day back after holidays.

You should be feeling stress free, relaxed, calm even. But instead you feel stressed, your mind is ticking, you don’t know where to start. I know, because this was me too.

Now I could tell you ways to deal with the stress, strategies to try and things to do instead… but I am not going to. I won’t. Instead I am just going to tell you it’s OK. It’s OK to feel stressed, even on the first fay back, in fact because it’s the first day back. I am even going to say it is normal.

This morning, driving to work, chatting to my partner (who is also a teacher), I put my face in my hands and moaned ‘Oh my god I have so much to do before the holidays!”. It was 7:30am. It was Term 4 day 1. I have just had 2 weeks of holidays.

My next thought – ‘What is wrong with me? I have just had 2 weeks holidays’

I looked at my partner and we just laughed. This is teaching.

The laugh was good, but this got me thinking, if I feel like this, than others do too. If others do too, I wonder how they feel about it? What do other teachers think? What are other teachers telling themselves right now? What do you think? How do you feel?

I am pretty sure there were other thoughts along side this moment of first day back stress that went something like: ‘I have just had holiday, what’s wrong with me? I should be more organised? Why am I never prepared? Why can’t this be easy? I am just no good at this. Am I the worst teacher ever? Why am I always stressed? Why is teaching so hard?’

But here’s the thing – there is nothing wrong with you, you are a great teacher, you know what you are doing. In fact, it is all of this that makes you stressed on day 1. The stress is just there because you care. You care about your students, about doing the best for them, about making sure they get what they need.

Passion, commitment and caring cause stress. So those first day back feelings are completely OK.