Whether the school you teach at is going all virtual, all in-class, or a combination of the two, one thing is for sure — this school year is going to be unlike any other.

Recognizing signs of anxiety as a teacher and knowing how to control it can help you get through the beginning of the school year and set yourself up for success, no matter what the rest of 2020 throws your way.

If you’re a teacher, here are some ideas to help you navigate this new normal

1. Recognize what is making you anxious

It’s natural to feel a little jittery about the unknowns facing you as a teacher. Taking the time to identify what, exactly, you are feeling anxious about can help you get to the root of the issue so you can take control of it.

Are you nervous about figuring out the new technological tools you’ll have to use? Maybe you are already tech-savvy and are wondering how you will be able to keep up with the course materials. You may be apprehensive about keeping track of which students are assigned to your class and how they will be accessing it (online, in-person, or both).

Identify what specifically is causing you to lose sleep at night so you can address the issue head-on. For example, if you are nervous about learning new technology, reach out to a colleague who seems to know it backward and forward to see if they would be willing to help you out when you get stuck.

2. Prepare for things to feel different

It’s fruitless to compare your teaching approach this year to how you have done it in years past. Things are going to feel different because they are different. There’s no getting around it. Instead of trying to replicate everything as you have done it in the past, look for ways to incorporate this new normal.

This includes being mindful of how your students are feeling. Don’t rush to beat yourself up if your students aren’t responding how you expected them to and assume it’s because of something you did. They may react differently to lessons because of their current circumstances. Be prepared to adapt as the year progresses and you and your students get into a rhythm. Trust yourself. You’ve got this.

3. Make time for yourself

Now, more than ever, it’s essential that you take time to take care of yourself. Whether you are teaching in-person, online, or both, you need to do what you can to stay healthy so you can be there for your students. Coming to class completely burnt out won’t do you or your students any good.

Here are some ways to practice self-care so you can put your best self forward:

  • Start a journal
  • Exercise every day
  • Talk to friends and family regularly
  • Find a creative outlet (music, drawing, cooking, etc.)
  • Schedule working and off-hours (so you don’t end up working all night)
  • Reach out for professional help if your anxiety becomes overwhelming

By recognizing how you are feeling, setting realistic expectations, and taking time to practice self-care, you will be able to navigate the school year and be prepared for whatever comes next.

Make it a great school year. You can sign up for free weekly affirmations here