anxiety

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by chemistrynerd, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. chemistrynerd

    chemistrynerd Rookie

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    Aug 4, 2013

    Is it common to be anxious as the school year approaches? This is my first year, so I'm in a new school in a new location where I don't know anybody yet. I'm also teaching a lot of classes (6 total) where 1 is an AP class. Any tips to fight the anxiety? How can I best be prepared for the first days/weeks/month(s)?
     
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  3. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Aug 4, 2013

    I believe if you weren't slightly anxious, you wouldn't be human. :) I get a tiny bit anxious and this is my 19th year teaching!

    It means you have a pulse. ;)

    Some tips that I have found help:
    1. Faith - not sure if you have a particular faith, but for me, praying is a huge help! :)
    2. Deep, slow breaths. Each morning of the first couple of weeks as you walk to your classroom, inhale and exhale.
    3. Reassure yourself that if the district did not feel you were capable, you would not be holding that key to the classroom. They trust you. Trust yourself.
    4. For the most part (though they may never readily admit it, especially with their peers around) kids WANT to learn. They like the excitement of exploring their world and you are lucky enough to be their guide. Embrace that. They're looking to you and are rooting for you.
    5. Have you had a chance to go into your room yet? Go in there every so often and look around. Imagine the students filing in each period. Imagine them at their desks/lab tables. Then take a seat where a student will be sitting and look up at the front of the room. Make that space YOUR space.
    6. Write down the first few days of lessons as specifically as you can. Yes, you will have to change things. Yes, you will make mistakes and yes, you will get questions for which you have no ready answer. Understand that now and know you're human. It's okay to not be perfect.
    7. Keep a small notebook open at your table. If/When you think of something you need to either research/buy/obtain, jot it down and move on... free it from your mind because you have that notebook there at the end of the day to get the information.
    8. Do you have a favorite breath mint or hard candy? Have some in your desk for recess or lunch so you have a "reward" for surviving those periods between! ;) I wouldn't suggest using them WHILE you're teaching because you're already nervous. No need to get tongue-tied with a Breathsaver dancing with your tongue!
    9. Go to the lunch room at lunch and during breaks. Meet new people. We "old dog" teachers LOVE taking you pups under our wings and guiding you and offering solace/comfort. You're not alone.
    10. You may hear of how this profession is just awful (from jaded veterans). Ignore them. Don't let their sour dispositions taint your excitement. You're a teacher, for goodness' sake! You're changing the world.
    11. Most importantly... have fun with your students (within reason, of course...you're still the authority!) --- discover breakthroughs again through their eyes. They'll hook onto that and run with it. :)

    Keep coming here to let us guide you if/when you need us! :)

    You'll do fine.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Aug 4, 2013

    I'm not anxious yet, and I am not in even prepared. I thought I would be done with 6 months of lessons by now, instead, all I have is about half the common core standards figured out, as in basically how I'm going to teach them. I have today through Wednesday to get everything done, then I'll have most of Friday and the weekend.
    My plan is to be as prepared as possible for the first couple of weeks, and 110 % prepared for the first week. That means to reexamine my rules and procedures, and look for possible downfalls, etc. After that I just have to think that it will be a little tough, but nothing I can't handle, so no reason to worry.
    And if I have problems, I can always come here, and everyone will help me out :)
     
  5. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Aug 4, 2013

    Excellent advice from Ted. I'm a fairly new teacher, too, but in my 6 months of teaching I have embraced the "fake it till you make it" philosophy. Basically, act confident and friendly with your colleagues and students, and they (at least the students) won't know the difference. Remember, YOU are the teacher. As Ted said, you wouldn't be in this position if the people with experience didn't think you could handle it. Best of luck, and I look forward to your posts!
     
  6. anewstart101

    anewstart101 Cohort

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    Aug 4, 2013

    I am a bit anxious also. I have a new job this year. I am teaching 9th-12th grade mild-moderate program Autism focus. I have a co-teacher. In that I teach English, Reading and Daily living Skills. She teaches math, science and daily living skills.
    Three of my students are on a diploma track. All of my students are mainstreamed. My students switch class every period.

    I have had my keys to the room for 1 week now. School does not start till August 26, 2013. I have gone in there and figured out how the room has worked.

    I am not sure how much I should change or if I should keep things very similar to how things were done last year.

    My co-teacher is co-teaching an algebra collaborative class this year. She will take 5 of our students with her plus an aide.

    I think that would be a bit hard to take on my first year. I may try it second semester.

    Stephanie

    Thanks

    Stephanie
     
  7. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Aug 4, 2013

    I'm starting year 11 and it's the first year I'm more excited than anxious. That doesn't mean I haven't been excited in the past, nor does it mean I'm not anxious this year.

    I'd be far more concerned if you weren't anxious at all.
     
  8. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Aug 4, 2013

    One way to get anxiety under control is to reframe it as excitement and anticipation. Those are 2 positive mindsets that will enable you to use that excess energy instead of freezing up. Your students will also be able to tell the difference between anxiety and excitement. They tend to act up when they sense fear, but when they sense a teacher's excitement about a subject it energizes them and becomes contagious.
     
  9. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2013

    I totally agree with the above suggestions. Last year was my first year teaching, and being nervous is completely normal. I was hired to teach HS Biology only 5 days before the first day of school, so at least you have a little time to prepare.

    If your school or district does not offer a formal mentoring program, find an older - err, I mean "more experienced" - teacher to help you out. But beware! Some of the older teachers hate their lives, so don't listen to them!

    One last suggestion: Make enough copies of a word search or other worksheet for all of your students. Put them in a folder where it is easy to get. If you need to fill-in 5-10 minutes of class or you're forced to leave the classroom for a moment (illness, unruly student, etc), you can pull out those to keep the students focused.

    The first week is the hardest, trust me. Good luck with the new job!
     
  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 5, 2013

    My back-to-school nightmares started last week, so I'm right there with you in terms of anxiety. The real fun dreams are when I'm suddenly back in middle school because I missed taking a science class, and now it's finals week. ACK!

    The trick, I suppose, is to remember all the reasons why you won your job and are equipped to keep it.
     
  11. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    Aug 5, 2013

    I'm about to start my first year. I'm just now starting to be anxious. I'm finishing my move on saturday. I will be 200miles away from everyone I know in a town that is very different than where I'm used to living. My fiance is having to stay behind to work and its really starting to get to me. I am still excited though and I know that all of this stress/anxiety will go away once the year gets rolling.

    Good luck!
     
  12. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Aug 5, 2013

    This is my eighth year (eghad - where did that time go!). I am always anxious the week or two before school. I was told by a more experienced teacher that if I didn't feel anxious right before the school year, then maybe it was time to retire.
     
  13. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Aug 5, 2013

    I thought I was the only one who had nightmares about having to go back to school because I'd not taken a certain class! You make me feel so much better!:hugs:
     
  14. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Aug 6, 2013

    I used to have that dream too! It was about my university not noticing that I didn't complete a required class, so my diploma was a big mistake.
     
  15. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Aug 8, 2013

    Great advice especially these three.

    If need be, write down exactly what you plan to say so you have a script to follow if you are really worried/nervous. Sounds silly, but it can help you stay on track.

    I am constantly writing on Post It notes throughout the day - things I have to do or buy - and then I just stick them where I need to see them later on (like my computer screen or in my purse).

    Don't let someone else tell you that teaching sucks/is awful; decide that for yourself (but give it time). And don't get caught gossiping, mind your business if possible.
     
  16. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Aug 8, 2013

    I think it's normal to be anxious! This is my third year, so I'm still pretty new, but I know how the drill goes. Today was our "orientation" for the 7th graders and our first official day of school is the 15th...I was nervous today, but once I got in front of the kids I took some deep breaths and relaxed. Like what everyone else has said, if you weren't anxious than you may not be in the right profession ;)
     

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