Child care teacher with laptop thinking about first day of class

Teachers Have First Day Jitters Too

When you think of first day jitters, you think of the children coming into the classroom who may be nervous for a myriad of very valid reasons.

Some are nervous about being around people they don’t know or in a classroom or center that is new to them. They may be a little disturbed about being away from mommy and daddy – especially since they’ve probably spent lots of quality time with them over the summer – or they’re skeptical about the new things they will learn in the days and months to come. They could be hesitant because they will simply miss the puppy that was new to their home during the summer or the new playmates they met in their neighborhood. They could be upset because going back to school changes the schedule that they’ve become comfortable with. It could be anything since you never know what children of care center age are thinking.

There are guidelines, checklists and help resources that share ways to ease these jitters. Read more about this in our recent post “Separation Anxiety in Children (and Parents)”.

What about teachers? They are in charge, why would they be nervous?

Don’t think for a minute that teachers don’t have anxiety over the new school year or develop a good case of the first day jitters. They do. They – in fact – get anxious for some reasons that are quite similar to their students.

Whether they are just starting out as a teacher, they are new to your center, or they’re working with new people on your staff (or you are new to them), teachers can develop serious anxiety that can make the night before the first day of school quite tense.

I’m sure there are more, but we found 6 tips that are really just common sense that can help your teachers overcome their first day jitters:

  1. Make schedule adjustments early. Just like students, teachers need to get their bodies accustomed to schedule changes.
  2. Be prepared. Make class plans early. Build in room for change and extra activities.
  3. Welcome students early with a fully prepared classroom. For open house, teachers should make their classroom as much like they will be on the first day of school. This will make students more comfortable when they arrive on their first day.
  4. Know students’ names. This not only adds to students’ comfort levels but also makes them feel special because their teacher knows who they are.
  5. Bring lunch in from home. Students are likely to need a little extra help during the first few days. Having lunch on hand will gives teachers a little extra time to help them.
  6. Be willing to go with the flow. Things never go exactly as they’ve imagined or planned when a classroom full of kids is involved, so teachers need to be flexible and accommodate change without drama.

There is more information about these tips here.

A wonderfully, humorous look at teacher anxiety was created by Julie Danneberg in her book First Day Jitters. Take a glimpse of it here. Or buy the book to read with a child as a great reminder that they aren’t the only ones who are nervous about the first day of school!

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