Am I going back to school? When will I get to meet my students? Will anyone still be learning remotely? How will my students adjust in-person in the classroom after so much time at home?
One of the biggest challenges for many educators right now is how to handle the transition back to the classroom in-person for the coming school year. Here are five tips to help:
- Give yourself time. Uncertainty and change naturally bring about feelings of unease for many people, especially when those changes take us into an area where we might not feel as confident about our abilities. Give yourself time to adjust to new schedules and new ways of doing things.
- Set realistic expectations. Set expectations up front – with yourself, your students and parents – that there will be challenges. But also let them know you are open to feedback.
- Practice and prepare. When we are uncomfortable with something, our natural tendency is to avoid it. Do you have specific worries about returning to the classroom in-person? Practice with coworkers or family members. The more you practice doing something, the more quickly you’ll adapt – and be able to help others.
- Maintain peer support. Are you struggling to adjust to seeing more people in person? Know your boundaries related to distancing and masking. Communicate these boundaries clearly with other educators and be open to hearing what their boundaries may be. Sharing ideas, struggles and solutions to common problems will keep you going strong the entire year.
- Recharge your batteries and practice self-care. Take care of yourself. And be kind to yourself. Constantly adapting to change and uncertainty is mentally exhausting. Be sure to do something each day just for you.