A Teacher's Guide to Going Back to School

Back to School: an alarm clock

4 Ways to Beat the Back to School Blues

Returning from school holidays and going back to school can be a challenge – in fact, we’ve covered ‘the dread’ long before now. If you’re finding the first week particularly tricky, here are some handy tips that might make getting back into the groove a little easier. It’s time to beat those back to school blues once and for all!

1) Be Ready

Waking up early is a universal truth of teaching, but sometimes we snooze that alarm and when we finally get out of bed we hit panic stations because we’re so short on time that we’re made to choose between breakfast or a shower. Get your bag/clothing/whatever else ready the night before, before you go to bed. Set a reminder on your phone if you have to – but have the essential stuff ready the night before. You’ll be glad you did.

2) Get Ahead Early

Chances are, you didn’t do as much planning and prep you told yourself you were going to do in the final days leading up to the return to school. That’s fine – no one is going to judge you for it. It’s a holiday after all. However, getting behind on the planning and marking is a sure-fire way to let anxiety and stress bubble over in the first few weeks back if you’re planning day-to-day – it’s also a good way to fall behind and spend all your free time catching up.

Spend some extra time getting your books in order and your planning comfortably ahead of where it needs to be in the first week back. It’s extra work to begin with, but you’ll thank yourself a few weeks down the line.

3) Enjoy a Fresh Start

Use the downtime away from the classroom as a fresh start – especially if you’re returning to a potentially difficult class. Don’t go back into the classroom with low expectations with your back against the wall. Similarly, if that jarring back-to-work snap leaves you less than thrilled to be back, remember that your students might feel the same or worse. Set the expectations of mood, behaviour and atmosphere from day one.

4) Take it Slow

As rested as a holiday might’ve left you, take it slow out of the gate to begin with. Especially if the next half term is a long one. You don’t want to burn yourself out within a couple of weeks and get yourself into a slump. It’s a marathon, not a sprint – but we all know the intensity comes in peaks and troughs. If you’re planning your lessons/weeks accordingly (and doing it ahead of time!), you should never find yourself with a 5-lesson day where every lesson is all-singing-all-dancing!

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