Working In Education: How I Feel About Back To School
Working in education has given me an entirely different perspective on the “Back to School” season. Many parents and students dread the back to school season but it’s not like that for me. Yes, I’ll admit that working in education is stressful but there is one thing I know for sure and that’s that I love my job.
I know a lot of people are already back in school but I have a week left of Summer and I’m feeling A LOT. By the end of last year, I was feeling immense burnout. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to survive another year. I was exhausted. But little did I know, I would end up doing summer school which meant I wasn’t going to get much of a break this year.
Summer school was full of chaos but it was the perfect reminder of why I love my job. It’s because I love my kids. Their excitement to see me and learn new things every day warms my heart. My kiddos are nothing short of spectacular. They truly are some of the smartest, silliest and kindest kids I’ve ever met and they’ve never let their disabilities stop them. Each of them inspire me to be a better person every single day.
So, when people ask me how I feel about back to school, I tell them it makes me sad but excited at the same time. Sad because the summer is ending but excited because I get to see all of my kids again. I’m so thankful that I get to be part of their learning journey. I can’t wait to get back to work and start the new school year.
Working in education has changed the back to school season for me forever. It is a season for new beginnings, continued journeys and so much more for our students. I know it can be daunting but don’t let that keep you from all the wonderful experiences that come with going back to school.
Summer is almost over and the “Back to School” season is right around the corner. Students are probably getting overwhelmed and planning their back to school self-care routines but what about the teachers? I know you are expecting some self-care tips for all the students out there but this time’s different. As someone who works in education, I know how important self-care can be during the school year. So, today I wanted to share some tips to keep all the young teachers and support staff going through the year.
One of the biggest things I struggle with during the year is asking for help when I’m getting overwhelmed. Working in education, especially Special Education, is no easy task and it’s certainly not always easy to ask for help. Being a teacher, or support staff is a really stressful job. You might feel like you can’t ask for help but I promise that it’s okay. Asking for help has been one of the most difficult and helpful things I’ve ever learned.
Another tip I’d like to share with you is learning to practice mindfulness. This can be as simple as practicing meditation or conscious breathing exercises. Mindfulness might also come in the form of positive affirmations or acknowledging how you’re feeling. For me personally, acknowledging how I’m feeling throughout the day, week and even the year as a whole is a HUGE part of my self-care routine. I never really did that before and it made me feel like I was drowning. Now, I feel so much better about acknowledging my feelings. It allows me to reflect and take action, and it can do the same for you!
The final thing I’d like to share with you is an important one. Learn to set and maintain your boundaries during the school year. I know sometimes that school days can be stressful but don’t take your work or your stress home with you. It won’t do you any good there. I have done this all too often and it is so not worth the consequences that come with it. Your home life after school is for you to relax and take a breath, not for you to stress about work. Leave that stress in the classroom!
Back to school self-care is going to look different for every teacher and staff member out there. But no matter how you do it, remember to keep up with it because it work wonders for your mental health. It’ll keep you from getting burnt out too fast.
What self-care practices are you utilizing for the Back to School season?
This past Summer, I finally decided that I was going back to college. It’s been 5 years since I’ve been in school and wow, that’s a long time. I can’t even begin to tell you how nervous I was feeling about going to school again. I was worried I wasn’t going to do well but so far, it’s going pretty great. It’s been a long road but one that’s going to be well worth the trouble. Before I can get into what college is like now, I want to tell you about my real first year.
My first year of college began August of 2015 and came to an end May of the following year. This year was everything but easy. I’m currently pursuing a psychology degree but when I went to college the first time, I was went for nursing. And let me tell you, the nursing program was no joke. I took every possible science, health and psychology class you could think of. I was in class all day and my labs practically all night. It was exhausting and I barely slept. I didn’t feel like I was going to survive the whole year.
While my classes were exhausting, I enjoyed campus life. I stayed on campus in a dorm with the world’s best roommate, who eventually became an even better friend. She made my first year a little more fun. She really got me out of my comfort zone. There were so many new experiences that I had during my first year. I know you’re reading this and you’re probably wondering why I didn’t go back after my first year. While my first year of college was wonderful, there were a lot of things I didn’t share including why I never went back.
In the Spring of my first year of college, I was dealing with not one but two sexual assaults. These assaults broke me. I was afraid to leave my room, I couldn’t walk across campus at night without panicking. I even made up excuses so I didn’t have to go to class. Fortunately, the year was almost over but I couldn’t wait to get back home where I felt safe. After this, I just couldn’t bring myself to go back. I considered commuting but the thought of having to run into this person was too much for me. Honestly, I even thought about going to school that was closer to home but then I thought, well it could happen to me there too.
I couldn’t bring myself to go back because of those assaults so instead I just put it off. Instead, I worked various jobs while avoiding the trauma that needed to be acknowledged over the next few years. Eventually, I began to feel like I wasn’t going to get anywhere in life. I knew that I was going to need more to get ahead but that also meant going back to school if I wanted a degree. Unfortunately, I was beginning to feel like it was too late to go back even though I knew it very much wasn’t.
Those sexual assaults took so much from me, physically and emotionally. They made me feel like I’d never be able to step foot on a college campus again. It took a lot for me to come to terms with what happened. Sometimes I feel like I will never get over it but I keep pushing. I keep going because I know that I need to if I ever truly want to move on from it. I missed out on so much because I let my trauma control me but not any longer. It took everything in me but I did finally go back to school.
I’m currently enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University’s online Undergraduate Psychology program. I have never done online schooling before and was worried that I wouldn’t get much out of it. It’s nothing like going to class physically. Most learning in this program is done at your own pace, which I like. I don’t feel like I have to rush while trying to retain the information provided within lessons.
Going back to school has been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. If you think that it’s too late for you to go back, I promise you that it’s not. It is never too late for you to continue your education. You can do anything that you put your mind to. I encourage you to put in the effort to reach your goals even if it might not happen right away. It will happen and you will get to where you need to be.
Read NPR’s In ‘Never Too Late,’ Finally, A Guide For Adults Going To Collegehere!
Listen to our project coordinator, Kailey’s podcast The Struggle Before Getting To My New Majorhere to learn about one of her struggles in college!
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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