Things you are allowed to feel

As we face another academic year there are several things you are allowed to feel. I write this blog from my own perspective, sharing my own thoughts and feelings ahead of September. It has been a great summer and I feel relaxed, recharged and almost ready to go. But I have the same feelings I have every August, and I thought I would share them with you. And remember, these are things you are allowed to feel!


It is totally normal to feel a bit nervous about going back to school. After a long break, it is hard to get back into the work zone. When September does start, there is an awful lot to take onboard, and we don’t really get much space to think! It is often like jumping into a plunge pool, but sadly we aren’t at a nice spa or resort.

Embracing nerves is a good idea, and sometimes a good chat with a colleague or friend can really help. But one thing that does help is remembering that everyone, from the head teacher to the ECT, will feel a bit nervous.


There is no way we can be truly and totally ready for the year ahead. Feeling sightly unprepared is completely normal. I am not saying that you should be arriving on day one with absolutely no clue what you are doing. But what I am saying is, it is normal to not feel totally prepared. We can be ready for day one, have our lessons sorted in our minds, but still feel unprepared. Remember, there is time to get things sorted. There first couple of weeks will be a gradual buildup for staff and students. You will find time to get things done. If you are completely prepared and ready for everything then that is amazing news!


It is a good thing to feel excited for the year ahead. You are allowed to feel excited even though there can be a lot of negativity around teaching. I really enjoy my job and I am excited about my plans for the year. As a music teacher I find this term particularly rewarding and I love ending with Christmas carols. Don’t let others tell you that you can’t be excited, positive and happy to get stuck into work. Teaching is a great profession and there are lots of positives. At the start of term I always find it is best to embrace the job, look forward to the highlights and push aside the negativity.


Being overwhelmed is totally normal for the start of term. You can go in to work feeing excited, prepared and positive and yet suddenly become overwhelmed. Again, this is not just you, we will all feel a little like this on September 1st. The trick is to make sure you take a step back and work out what needs to be done and what can wait.

Inset days are often a great way to make you feel sightly overwhelmed. With the best intentions, a lot is packed in to one day, with the highlight being a free lunch. Allow yourself to stop at the end of the day and work out what you need to do first. Being overwhelmed is normal, but we all deal with it differently.

Recently I have started to rely on writing lists so that I can work out exactly what I need to do and when. Getting things down on paper allows me to separate my time out and focus on the stuff that really matters.

Things you are allowed to feel

Embracing how we feel and being honest with ourselves is so important. Not every day is sunshine and joy. There are tough moments in teaching and the start of term is tough. We will all feel different emotions and some of that will depend on the summer we have had. But no matter how long you have been teaching, these are things you are allowed to feel. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel a bit anxious and worried. Allow yourself to feel nervous and don’t add to that by thinking you are in some way not a good teacher.

But do make sure you don’t do it alone. We are all in this together and as teachers we need to stick together. Chat with colleagues and friends and stand back from the craziness of term starting to think. Work out what needs to be done, what can wait and what is maybe not important. Be kind to yourself and make sure that at the end of the first week you plan something nice to do at the weekend.

I wish you all the best for the year ahead. There will be ups and downs, but teaching is still a great job!

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