We all know students get anxious about the first day of school, but so do teachers! I have struggled with anxiety and jitters leading up to the first day of school every year I have taught.
Along the way, I’ve come up with the following tips that help me combat first day jitters, and I hope they help you as well!
1. Listen to your favorite “Pump Up” or “Feel Good” Playlist.
Listen to your favorite playlist while you’re getting ready for the day, on your commute to school, and/or during your morning prep time once you get to school.
I like to have a little dance party while getting ready for the day, while listening to my favorite playlists. The fun music combined with the endorphins from the dancing help me to relax and feel great about the school day that is to come.
2. Get up at least 30 minutes earlier than you think you should.
I find that getting up earlier gives me more time to get ready for the day without feeling rushed. I can make myself a nice breakfast, drink my first cup of coffee before leaving for school, and have plenty of time once I get to school to make sure my materials and plans are ready to go.
If I get everything done and still have plenty of time before my first class of the day, I like to make myself a cup of tea, take a few laps around the classroom to double-check that I have everything ready, and do a few stretches while sitting at my desk to make sure I feel relaxed!
3. Wear something comfortable that makes you feel confident.
The first day of school is going to be a long day. Comfort and confidence are key when choosing your outfit for the day! I like to wear something that will allow me to move well throughout the day, because as a music teacher, I am constantly on the move during class, and while doing recess or lunch duty.
My go-to outfits include comfortable dress pants, ballet flats or Converse shoes, and a comfortable, flowy blouse that won’t cause me to get too hot during the day. Wear whatever helps you to feel your best!
4. Have a solid plan.
I find comfort in having plans for all of my classes that are thorough and well thought out. The first day of school can (and likely will be) chaotic, but having a plan can help! When things go off the rails, your plans give you stable ground to stand on, and an easy way to get back on track.
This includes having all of your materials prepped in advance, and setting up any stations you may need ahead of time. I find that this alleviates my anxiety between classes, and helps transitions go smoothly, no matter what happens throughout the day.
Even though you may have butterflies in your stomach, putting on a smile when your students come in can help both them and you feel more at ease! Smiling shows your students a positive, welcoming environment for learning.
I find for me, personally, smiling helps the jitters and anxiety disappear; seeing my students smile as they walk into my classroom makes me excited to get to know them and puts me in a better mood!
You are going to do a great job on your first day of school! No matter what happens, know that you are making an impact on children’s lives, and teaching them all about the magic of music.
Give yourself a pat on the back once the day is over. You made it!
BONUS TIP: Are you looking for a way to connect with other elementary music teachers, and share tips and advice about starting the school year on the right foot? Check out the General Music Mastermind on Facebook! This community is a wonderful way to meet other teachers and share thoughtful discussions about the profession. I can’t wait to see you there!
This article was submitted by Caitlin Parks, contributing author for ThatMusicTeacher.com. Interested in becoming a contributing author? Email resume and writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org.