As school begins again, I listen to teachers all around me talk about the first days and weeks. They seem overwhelmed with all that they have to do. Every year it is the same thing and it is the nature of the beast. There is nothing anyone can do to get away from the stresses of the beginning of a school year.
Students we don’t know will be entering our room. We have no idea what their personalities are like or their work ethic. We have no idea what their parents will be like and what they will expect.
Colleagues around us may be new and want help or guidance. You want to be helpful but you have so much of your own work to do.
Administrators want you to do certain things immediately. They have expectations of what you should be doing these first few days. Some schools will need to issue lockers, forms, insurance etc. Paperwork needs to be filled out for enrollment and schedules need to be straightened out.
District administrators may need certain paperwork by a deadline. Failure to turn in this paperwork or doing it wrong could result in a loss of federal funding and even possibly jobs.
As a teacher, I put a lot of stress on myself. I wanted my lessons prepared, my room decorated, and paperwork organized. I was excited about teaching and glad to be back but I wanted everything to be just perfect.
Then I remembered - Don’t Forget to Laugh.
I need to take a deep breath and feel the joy. I need to remember how joyous it feels to be a teacher. I need to remember how glad I am to see colleagues I haven’t seen in awhile. I need to remember what it is like to be the new teacher and not know what to do or how to go about it. I need to take time to laugh. Laughing relieves stress. I know it will make me feel better. It will give me the energy to do the things that have to be done.
So, I want to remind you too - Don’t Forget to Laugh!
Image: 'Happy 2011!'