I had a fantastic return to school last week, following the Christmas Break. Last year when Christmas Break ended I was not ready to return to school. I enjoyed the stress relief of the holidays too much ??? and it wasn’t until a month later that I truly returned to enjoying the classroom. Don’t get me wrong: I love teaching. I love engaging with the children and I love the energy of a learning and active classroom. But sometimes, particularly early in my teaching career, I feel the stress. I feel the overwhelming expectations that I put on myself. And I feel the anxiety that comes from comparing myself to my seasoned and experienced colleagues. (I know, I know. I should never compare myself to others. Call it a force of habit.) Last year, two weeks out of the classroom was just enough time to begin enjoying a stress relief ??? and then it was over.
Not this year, though. This year, I was delighted and relaxed to return to the classroom! Last week the children and I had a wonderful time with each other: catching up on vacation stories, and returning to learning and new experiences. Monday through Friday, I welcomed each day. I accepted the children where they were. And, most importantly I think, I felt comfortable and confident enough to accept myself for where I was. Such acceptance permitted opportunities throughout the week to listen and observe, rather than to over-plan and over-execute. Instead of worrying about lessons and learning outcomes, I worried about experiences and learning opportunities. I loved it. They loved it. It was a fantastic week.
Today, Monday of the second week back, I did not listen as much as I should have. I stuck to rigid plans and anticipated the stresses of an indoor day (the weather being well below -20??C). Tomorrow I shall return to the successes of last week, as the children and I enjoy the moment and seize organic moments of learning and exploration.