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Advice for the First Year Teacher: How to Calm First Day of School Nerves

At this point, you’ve probably already experienced many “first day of schools.” There was your very first day of school, conveniently well-orchestrated for the tiny version of yourself. Then came the other big firsts: your first day of elementary school, middle school, high school, your freshman year college, and so on and so forth.

But if you’re a first-year teacher entering your first classroom this month, you know that this is the first day of school to end all first day of schools, because this first day of school is also the first day of the rest of your life.

So, naturally, with such a big day approaching, you’re likely to have some nerves. Even if you pride yourself on your ability to be calm and collected (bless you), you likely can’t avoid all those feelings that are attached to the thought of meeting the very first crop of students you will be in charge of guiding for the very first time.

Education World has plenty of resources designed by veteran educators with specific (and great) advice for first year teachers, like this one and this one. This resource, on the other hand, is designed for the hours right before you step into that classroom. Use these tips to calm anxiety, quell jitters, and walk into that classroom with the confidence you’ll need for the first day of the rest of your life.


Eat well, Sleep Well, Feel Well.


This should be considered the cardinal rule of success in pretty much everything, including calming anxiety before the first day of school.

In order to wake up ready to take on the big day, you’ll need to feel your best. Go to bed early the night before and make sure to not skip breakfast before you head to school, no matter how busy and early your morning is.

Not sure where to start? The Internet is truly amazing in what it can offer to make your life easier. Check out these 18 ideas for fast and healthy breakfast and these tips for getting a good night's sleep to get started. 


Amp Yourself Up.

Larry Kim, founder and CTO of WordStream, wrote an article for Inc. about how individuals can experience success in presenting despite nerves.

One of his recommendations that applies to you on your first day of school is turning nervous energy into enthusiasm.

Listen to your favorite pump-up song on the car ride to school or in your headphones in the moments before your first class enters. Get that extra shot of espresso in your morning coffee if caffeine is your thing. Beef-up your self-talk to amp yourself up. Pretty soon, you’ll notice that you turned those pesky nerves into electrifying enthusiasm that will, in turn, help you captivate the attention of your new students.


Familiarize Yourself with Breathing Exercises.


If you don’t generally consider yourself to be an anxious person, you might not yet be familiar with how great breathing exercises can be for getting a worried mind under control.

Controlled breathing can be a really beneficial habit to get into, as it "not only keeps the mind and body functioning at their best, it can also lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and relaxation and help us de-stress,” says TIME. 

Check out these six breathing exercise from TIME that will help you relax in the moments before the first day begins.


Look Your Best.

It’s not superficial to focus on looking your best the first day of school. If you look your best, it’s a natural next step to feel your best.

Lots of high-end clothing stores offer special discounts for educators year-round, like J. Crew and Ann Taylor. Take advantage of these deals and buy a few quality pieces that will you help you feel put together as you assume your new role.


Ask Yourself: What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen. This is not to put a whole bunch of irrational thoughts in your head, but rather, to give you a bunch of rational ones. You might have a general feel of dread and fear without even realizing why. When you ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen, you’ll realize that your fear is unfounded.


Be Proud of Yourself.


You did it! After years of training and preparing, you got to this point. Be proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished and what you’re about to accomplish as you guide young minds and consequentially the country’s future. Yep, it’s a pretty big deal. You rock, and you should tell yourself that again and again…. and again.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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