Diminish Teacher Anxiety Heading Back To School In January

Who would have figured that we would be right back at square one with all of the COVID cases invading our schools. Here we are ready to head back to school in January and we are still waiting day by day for the decision about virtual learning AGAIN! The stress and anxiety teachers are going through is through the roof.

But, we are teachers. We were made to teach COVID or no COVID. We are going to put our best foot forward and do the best we can even if every day isn’t perfect. We here at Lesson Plan Toolbox would like to invite you on a PRIMARY TEACHER’s REFRESH RETREAT journey where the focus is all about you. We are going to provide you with tools, reflections, and quiet time so you can refocus on being the best form of you possible.

This week our focus is going to be on avoiding those January blues and the anxiety of heading back to school this month. How in the world are we going to do this you ask? Great question! We’re going to focus on a mind-body-spirit connection in the different areas of your life that will help you to guide yourself towards a well rounded healthy lifestyle.


Objective #1: Be In Tune With Your Needs

You’ve heard the saying, “We can’t fill from an empty cup.” Well, this goes for you too. You need to look at all the different roles you play and determine what your needs are in each area. If something is not a need or a must-do, then take it off your list. If you hear nothing else from this post, please hear this: IT’S OKAY TO SAY NO! Beyond that, don’t ever feel like you owe people an explanation. You do you and what works for you!

Now, think about school. What thoughts come to mind? Be sure to jot these down somewhere and address each thought that pops into your head. If you’re thinking about lesson planning, maybe figure out a window of time that you can batch plan for two weeks. If you’re thinking about your students, focus on the joy and excitement you all had those last couple days before break. If you’re thinking about a colleague that drives you crazy, push this thought as far away as you can. This person is not worth your energy. Now, if you’re thinking about a colleague that has been so helpful this year, maybe try to figure out an act of kindness you can show your first day back. Whatever thoughts you’re having, write it down and add a comment to calm the talking in your head.

Next, simply allow yourself to sit quietly for five minutes without interruption. Do your best to find a comfortable position and try to just be. Try not to focus on any one thought, but rather sit with a blank mind and calm body. Breathe slowly and deeply and allow yourself to relax. After five minutes, take a couple of minutes to show gratitude for all that is right in your world.

Objective #2: Remember Your Why?

Hopefully, by now your body and mind are relaxed so let’s add in a bit of our teacher world to our reflection. Take a couple of minutes and reflect on why you chose to become not just a teacher, but a primary teacher. Write a letter to yourself reminding yourself what this career means to you. What impact are you making on your students and in your school? Remind yourself about the love you have for your students even when they drive you crazy. 

On those days that aren’t going so well in your eyes, take this letter out and read it to yourself a couple of times. Rome wasn’t built in a day and there were plenty of bumps along the way. You are an amazing teacher even on those days you don’t feel it.

Objective #3: CREATIVITY = FUN

It may seem like an impossible task this year, but creating a classroom that emanates fun will be a win-win for everyone! As teachers, we spend so much time trying to meet standards and assess for comprehension that we often forget to make sure our students are having fun. When you go to school with this mindset, school feels like a joy rather than a j-o-b. Beyond that, your student engagement will increase while student discipline will decrease. It’s a BEAUTIFUL thing! 

Three quick and easy ways to have fun are to celebrate, storybook STEM, and instant challenges. If you read the blog last week, then you read all about celebrating Happy Noon Year-your first noon of being together in January- so easy and so fun! If that doesn’t float your boat, then find something else to celebrate such as your first snow fall together or learning cursive…just find something to celebrate. Storybook STEM is always an easy to implement fun and engaging activity for students. If you’re new to this idea, then I recommend starting with the book Oh The Things A String Can Be and allowing students to create. They will love it! Finally, if you need to spice up your science instruction, Google instant challenges for primary students…so many ideas.


Objective #4: Physical Health 

We’ve focused on your mind, and the spirit of your classroom so now let’s focus on your body. Being healthy is not a secret. Being healthy as a teacher can be tough and does require a commitment on your end. Here’s a list of ideas to implement healthy living: plenty of sleep (aim for7-8 hours), healthy diet (follow the 80/20 rule), movement/exercise for 30 minutes a day, take a vitamin. Of course there are plenty more ideas that you can add to this list.

Right now, in your journal write down two healthy lifestyle habits that you are going to commit to starting tomorrow. Know that if you have a day that isn’t perfect, it’s completely and totally normal. Simply get up the next day and try again.

Yay! You did it! You made it through our first journey towards a stress free January that will erase your teacher anxiety. It is so important that we check in on ourselves on a regular basis and have a community of support cheering you on along the way. We’re here for you and are your biggest cheerleaders! Primary teachers are incredible human beings with a whole lot of L-O-V-E in their hearts. 

Be sure to tune in next week when we focus on managing home and school schedules. You won’t want to miss this one. If you want to sign up for the Happy New Year Teacher Refresh Retreat we would love to have join in. Best of all, the webinar is available for you to watch at your convenience. Welcome to the beginning of the happiest of New Year’s for you! 

If you’re curious about Happy Noon Year, then you can read it here. In this post, I reveal my secret recipe for THE BEST first day back in January! Enjoy!

How could we forget this? If you’re looking forward to engaging FREEBIES from primary teacher creators, then be sure to register for the Primary Teacher’s Refresh Retreat. We have everything from nutrition for teachers to incorporating STEM to grade-level freebies. Seriously, what do you have to lose?


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