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Why Target Causes Teacher Anxiety

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Who said back-to-school supplies are necessary in JULY??

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I’ve made a personal pact that I never want to move to a house that isn’t somewhat close to a TARGET.  To say that our family frequents this particular beacon of consumer capitalism would be an understatement.  We are always there.  TARGET is the destination place when I’m in desperate need of anything from home supplies to home décor….from toys to toiletries….and from socks to sandals (of course those should NEVER be worn together!).   Our family is loyal to TARGET throughout the year….It’s a store that never lets us down….until, of course, the 2nd week of July each summer.

After the fireworks have been spent, the 4th of July decorations at TARGET are hauled away and boxed up along with the remaining patio furniture, citronella candle holders, and outdoor umbrellas.  You see, TARGET has to make room for….well…you know.  I can hardly say it, but YOU know what it is.  Every teacher who steps foot in TARGET will, during the 2nd week of July, happen upon a certain display containing certain materials pertinent to an event that takes place in August throughout most of the country. 

When I first see the display, I get the same feeling throughout my body, as when I nearly slip on ice.  It’s extremely hard to describe but relatable for most who teach.  It’s the signal of the start of the end…a time to say goodbye to another summer.

Teachers are creatures of habit.  We become accustomed to the full acclimation of the routines of our lives whether it’s during the school year or during the well-deserved break referred to as “the summer.”  Seeing that TARGET display creates a bit of anxiety because it signals the end of a routine we’ve become accustomed to over the summer….We had time, schedule flexibility, and one of the most cherished things of all:  long lunches.

I have some advice for you….some words of wisdom after you overcome the shock of witnessing “the display.” 

Embrace it.  Understand that the twinge of anxiety you’re experiencing pales in comparison to the excitement most students will be feeling about the school year starting.  While we’re upset about losing our freedom and starting the school routine, they’re getting bored of the freedom of the summer and are ready to get back into a routine. 

The truth of the matter…and I hate to even say this…is you’ll probably be ready to get back into a school routine as well.

After you witness “the display”, If you haven’t done so already, I’d encourage you to go to your school….Yes, you read that correctly: Go to your school.  Walk into the office….Check your mailbox…and head to your classroom.  Spend some time in your room thinking about what you’d like to accomplish this year as a teacher and what you’re most looking forward to.  Take a moment to think about teaching and be “present” in your classroom…Before you know it, you’ll be there every day so it’s worth your time to re-introduce yourself to your next “routine.” There’s a bit of an adjustment period for all of us at the end of the summer….Of course, once the “back to school” in-service meetings and staff training sessions begin, the summer starts to feel like a historical event you can vaguely remember.  It happens to all of us….or maybe it’s just me?

The school year will begin.  I assure you of this.  I also assure you that after the school supplies have been sold…and then discounted and sold again…with the retail space now filled with Halloween goodies and eventually Christmas decorations, then Easter candy & baskets and finally summer furniture and outdoor umbrellas, it will happen all over again.  The “display” will go back up and the school year will return.  Embrace the routine….just don’t show up on the first day wearing socks and sandals…please.

For more information on ways to improve your wellness as a teacher, explore all of our Educator Wellness courses.

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Topics: Teaching Advice, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, anxiety

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