Back to Work
Most teachers I know love what they do. Teaching simply takes too much energy if you don’t love it. But as much as we enjoy teaching, most of us also dread going back to work each fall. I rarely talk about it with non-teaching friends because I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I don’t like my job. I truly do. But that never keeps me from dreading the approach of Labor Day.
Like many of my coworkers, I can’t sleep the night before the first day of school. The anxiety has even been known to cause stomach upset and tears. Usually, however, by the second day of school all the apprehension is forgotten.
If I love teaching so much, then why all the drama? I think there are two main causes: First of all, teaching is new every year. There are 140 new students to get to know, new teachers to work with, often new courses to plan and teach, new administrative procedures to follow, new initiatives to institute, and so on. To some extent, the beginning of a school year feels like starting a new job.
For me, summer is a time of rejuvenation. The school year takes a lot out of me emotionally. It also takes a lot of time (anyone who thinks my workday is finished at 3 p.m. needs to make friends with a teacher). Summertime gives me an opportunity to recharge my batteries and get my house and life back in order. But just when I’ve adjusted to sleeping until 7 a.m., having a clean kitchen and plenty of time to go to the grocery store, it’s time to go back to work.
Every school year brings with it a time of transition. This year, those anxious feelings about going back to school were multiplied at least tenfold. The start of the school year coincided with the start of my intense nesting period. All I’ve wanted to do is clean, sort, organize and prepare. I feel like I have so much to do before the baby arrives!
I’ve been even more anxious this year because I have a commitment to my students. As I do every year, I need to dive into that commitment wholeheartedly. I don’t want to shortchange them in my zest to get my home life organized. The baby isn’t even here yet, but I’m already feeling like a working mom!