How to Cope

Back to school can be such a rough time? Parents struggle to get their children back into routines. Students struggle with having a routine. Teachers… they struggle with getting ready for back to school to even happen. They walk into their classroom to find that everything is in boxes, piles, or somewhere it really doesn’t belong because everything had to be moved for the summer and for the cleaning staff to take over.

I know the pain. Most people, in the outside world beyond those school doors, have no concept of what has happened before the first day. Not many schools pay their teachers extra to be ready by the first day. But there are so many teachers who give up some of their days of summer. Teachers head back into their classrooms weeks ahead working on moving desks and tables back to their spots without ruining the newly waxed sparkling floors or the wow they got the spots out not so dingy carpet. There is some heavy lifting going on.

In addition, there are book shelves to organize, curriculum maps to develop, new resources to review. Need I go on?

Oh, I forgot the labels. If you are a primary teacher, you can relate. There are labels that need to be made for lockers or cubbies, book tubs, desks, take home binders, and even for going to lunch and for how to go home.

There are so many things. That is why it takes so long. (Husbands, boyfriends, significant others… are you listening?) All this happens before the first real day.

Teaching isn’t a 9 to 5 Job

Teachers have a demanding job.
A teacher’s desk is rarely clear.

Being a teacher, things come home with you: blank lesson plans, half created newsletters, ungraded math tests.

Check out the school calendar and you will see activities that occur after regular hours as well. The visit before school starts to drop off all of the supplies and meet the teacher event, Open House, Parent & Teacher conferences, PTA meetings, extracurricular events, and more extend the day for teachers.

Good Advise: How to Cope

However, some of the best teachers I know have made time for themselves. Setting a date night, leaving on set days with their workout bag in hand, and going to painting parties with friends are just some ways that teachers make time for themselves. In the end, they are better teachers because of it.

So take action now. Put yourself as a priority and look at the calendar. Pencil in an activity. Erasing it is possible if need be. But an alternative event needs to be added on another day. Promise? You are important. So take time for you. Those kids are counting on you to be the best you possible.