A New School Year

August 9, 2011


The time has come to get ready for a new school year. In a practical sense, this implies a set of “to do” lists. Schools and teachers set class lists, confirm schedules, prepare classrooms, un-pack boxes of books and other materials. At home, parents and children try on their school clothes, finish their summer reading and math exercises, and decide whether or not last year’s backpack can make it through another year.

All of this activity contradicts the pace of summer. Thankfully, some time remains for procrastination. Back to school shopping can wait until the last week in August. Summer reading and math work are another matter – start setting aside a half hour or so each day for those now!

The complicated part of getting ready for a new school year is the emotional preparation. Just about everything about a new school year serves pretty well to contribute to normal bouts of anxiety. For students, especially, the list of questions seems never ending:

  • Who will be my homeroom teacher? Will s/he like me?
  • Who will be in my homeroom? What if “they” assign all of my friends to the other room?
  • Will the new year be more difficult or more challenging than the last one? How much homework will I have?

I am not the first to observe that few people are at their best when they are anxious. Indeed, anxiety often brings out the very worst in people. When I am anxious, I can be edgy, impatient, and often downright sour.

One approach we might all take to ease the tension that accompanies the approach of school is simply to recognize that this can be an anxious time. With that recognition should come a bit more patience and understanding. As we get ready for the new school year, it will help if we all continue to breathe normally! Parents can help by assuring their children that “everything will be OK!”

The other approach I would suggest is that we recognize this anxiety as the first lesson of the new school year: a lesson in resilience. Despite all of our concerns, the school will begin and we will be back at the work and wonder of education in no time at all. The anxiety will subside. We will make it! And when we do, we will all be just a little stronger for the effort.

I can’t wait for Wednesday morning, September 7. See you at car pool!

About Tower School, Marblehead MA 01945

View all posts by Tower School, Marblehead MA 01945


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