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This student guest blog was written by Landis Montgomery, a High School Senior from Lexington, KY.

Students

Summer is coming to a close and it’s almost time to go back to school. You have new school supplies, new clothes, new shoes and you’re ready to conquer the first day of school. Then, suddenly, you feel a sense of nervousness. “Who will I sit by at lunch?”, “What if I don’t like my teacher?”, “What if my friends aren’t in the same class as me?.” All these thoughts run through your head and you start to feel less confident. Don’t worry, this is completely normal and there are ways to overcome this nervousness with a few helpful tips!

1. Get Organized

When going into your first week of school it is always a good idea to create a strategy in order to keep your school work organized. For example, keep each subject separated using dividers or different binders. This will allow you to easily find information and keep up with all your work. You’re probably wondering why organizing is essential to staying calm during the first week of school. The Sova Project at the University of Pittsburgh emphasizes: “Clutter and messes can be a visual representation of the mind, which can therefore make your own disorganized thoughts that much more stressful.” (Why Does Organizing Help Anxiety). Try to set a goal for yourself to stay as organized as possible. This will positively contribute to not only your mental health but also play a big role in your success at school, and help you make the grade!

2. Connect With Friends

Chances are you are not the only person worried about school starting. Reach out to a friend who may be nervous as well and help each other with some encouragement. Talking to a friend is a great way to combat those nervous feelings.

3. Get To Know Your Teacher

This can be a hard thing to do! Most likely the only thing you know about your new teacher is his/her name. That is okay. Go introduce yourself, share some interesting things about yourself, ask questions about them, etc…When you start to get to know your teacher better you will not feel hesitant to ask questions and will start to feel more comfortable in your learning environment.

4. Build Confidence

Although this is easier said than done, it doesn’t hurt to try and build some self esteem. Some ways you can boost your confidence is by setting small goals and achieving them, putting a smile on your face, and giving compliments. When you build confidence it allows for you to feel more determined and motivated. Feeling good about yourself  calms your nerves and stress and overall makes you a happier person. You may need this confidence during the first week of school to talk to your teachers, friends and connect with others.

5. Breathe

A good suggestion for when you’re feeling nervous is to simply breathe. Yes, you’re always breathing,  but there are different ways to breathe that can relax your mind and nerves. A good way to practice breathing techniques is to sit down in a quiet place and just focus on each breath you take. Breathing exercises relax your body because they make your body feel more relaxed (Healthwise Staff). With all this in mind, try to set aside time to do some breathing exercises and relax your body.

Teachers

Now, for all the teachers out there (no,we didn’t forget about you!). We know you are just as nervous (or maybe more!) as your students. It is completely normal to feel nervous and scared for the first week of school, even when it’s not your first rodeo. But don’t you worry, we have some have some very helpful suggestions for you on how to stay calm during the first week of school.

1. Be Prepared

Preparation is the key to calming nerves. Having everything prepared for the first week of school can be a huge life saver. Being prepared for your lessons and not just “winging it” can give you some ease and take some pressure off your shoulders. Some ways you can prepare are to review your lesson plans, have contingency plans and activities for extra time, and involve technology. Try these preparation tips and let us know on our social media (@Edvergent) what works best for you!

2. Expect Hiccups

Before going into the school year you should always think positively. But there’s also nothing wrong with expecting the unexpected. The school year is not going to be perfect, it is going to have ups and downs; and that’s okay. It is helpful to come to terms with this even before school starts. Have a positive mindset but also grow from the hard times throughout the school year.

3. Remember Why You’re a Teacher

This is so important to remember if things aren’t going well in the classroom. There is a reason you wanted to be a teacher and a reason you continue to come in day after day and year after year.. Whether that is making a difference in a child’s life or simply just sharing your passion with students. Whatever it might be, try to always remember your “why”. Think of it and hold it close to your heart. You could even create a print of it, or make it your screensaver on your phone or laptop. Keeping this in mind will change your point of view on everything and give you the confidence and readiness you need to overcome the first week of school.

4. Take A Break On Your Planning Period

It is okay to take a break. Even if it is just a couple minutes to reflect and breathe. To give your students the best you, you have to take time for yourself to gather your thoughts and decompress. Laugh with your teacher friends, look at funny Instagram videos, do whatever it is you need to do to spark joy. Don’t feel ashamed, because you most definitely deserve it.

5. Incorporate Technology Tools

In today’s world we all rely on technology to make life easier. So why not use technology in the classroom? There are so many ways technology can be put to use for educational purposes. For example, making review games; such as: Kahoot and Quizzizz can be a great, easy to implement activity to ease students back into the work of school. Or use Flipgrid or Padlet to allow your students to share about themselves and help you get to know them. Relying on a review game or a technology tool to help with the lesson can take a lot of stress off of you and help you to not freak out on the first week of school.

The first week of school can always be a challenge. Students worry about interaction with friends, meeting their teachers, and making good grades; and teachers worry about their lessons, how their students will like them, and being well prepared. But don’t let the worry consume you. Use these tips and tricks to help you have the best first week ever!

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References:

Why Does Organizing Help with Anxiety?

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255

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