The start of a new academic year heralds a mixture of emotions for those who work in education. For some, seeing the smiling faces of students and colleagues may bring a sense of joy and contentment that enables them to skip joyfully through the last week of the holidays and through the school gates on the first day back. Others may need a bit more motivation to get them through the last week and over the threshold. I’ve sacrificed the last few moments of my holidays (you’re welcome) to share six ideas that may help you feel a bit more mentally prepared for the start of another school year, (take them with a pinch of humour).
- Work out how many days there are until next year’s summer holiday, then get yourself a calendar to mark off the days. This will make the wait for the next six-week break seem less daunting and be a reminder every day that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
- Set yourself a secret mission for the first week that only you and your work bestie know about. It might be how many times you can say a certain phrase to colleagues (eg, “I can’t believe how fast this week’s going”). If anyone comments on the fact that you seem to be saying the phrase a lot, you’ve lost the challenge.
- Hold a fashion show of the outfits you’re going to wear each day for the first week. Name each day’s outfit after a song that reflects the mood for that day. For example, Day 1’s outfit might be called ‘I want to break free’ (especially if it’s an inset day).
- Take a photo of the time you wake up each morning in the run up to start of term. Another reminder that there was a time when you didn’t have to wake up at silly o’clock.
- Write a list of the first thing you’re going to say to each colleague when you get back to school….but, every greeting has to include a different colour or shape.
- Buy yourself a small gift for each day of the first week back. Wrap up each gift and place somewhere prominent. The gift can’t be opened until the end of each school day. This works even better if you get someone else to buy and wrap up the gifts.
However you may feel about the start of the school year, it’s never usually as bad as you think it’s going to be. It may seem like a clichè and a like I’m a part of the happy, clappy brigade (and there is nothing wrong with being a part of that fine institution), but it’s important to remember that as an educator, you are able to make a difference each and every day, not just in relation to the students you work with but also when it comes to your colleagues and yourself. You get to determine how each day starts and your attitude at the outset will make a big difference the way in which you interact with colleagues, students and parents, how you deal with situations and how you determine whether the day has been a success or not. The ideas I’ve given are my reminder to you that you get to decide what how you go into the academic year.