A Nervous Teacher is One Who Cares

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Thinking about the first day of school brings back memories for all of us: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ve suffered through the jitters, a sleepless night, and the sad goodbye to another unforgettable summer. What will the first day be like? Will my best friend be in my class? What will I wear? What will my teacher be like? God forbid I do or say anything embarrassing that first day. After all, those first 7 hours set the tone for the rest of the year – first impressions are everything.

What’s funny is that you’re probably reading this and thinking about your childhood, but I happen to be referring to a teacher’s first day! Maybe I don’t necessarily lose sleep over friends, but the same anxiety rules my life for a good week before the first student walks through the door. Do I have everything prepared in my classroom to ensure that every student will be successful? Perhaps, but beyond the colorful posters and the neatly organized bookshelves there lies an anxious teacher who realizes that she is responsible for the next 10 months of her students’ lives…am I really prepared for them? This is still my worry as I prepare to greet my seventh group of students!

What’s the lesson here? Is it that I still haven’t hit my stride after six years of teaching? Will I feel settled if I put in a few extra hours of planning? The truth is, a teacher who still worries about the first day of school is a teacher who still cares. No amount of planning will ease the nerves of a teacher who wants what’s best for her students.

I thought about all of this today while I created colorful bulletin boards and organized bookshelves. Sure the classroom is coming together and it’s looking warm and inviting. But here’s the breakdown of what really matters: Am I ready? NO. Am I excited? Getting there. Am I nervous? YES. Do I care? Without a doubt.

Jeff on the day before his first day at IESE. Was he nervous to be a student again? “No need to be.”
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One thought on “A Nervous Teacher is One Who Cares

    Dawn said:
    August 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Oh what fun to read this! If it helps, I have been teaching for 11 or 12 years now (lost count) and I never sleep the night before the first day. But at least we get to be anxious together friend!

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