The worst part about starting a new school year…the anxiety that comes with every note or e-mail from a parent. Every phone call that comes to my classroom from the principal’s office. Anxiety manifests itself to me in the form of intense butterflies in my stomach and an elevated heart rate. My husband does his very best to talk me through it. He knows what questions to ask that help me to understand what the root cause of the feelings are. But what I wish I could explain to him is that this is not something that I can talk myself out of every time. It’s an irrational feeling that no amount of discussion can push away. I don’t experience this over the summer because there are no parent e-mails and while my principal does on occasion send me e-mails or text me in relation to the many different hats I wear during the school year, she’s not in full on principal mode during those brief couple of months.

It’s times like this weekend when I wonder if I shouldn’t just keep this teaching job long enough to pay off my credit card debt and then take a much less demanding job that wouldn’t produce these unpleasant anxiety flutters in my body. But if I didn’t have this job, would I really be totally free of these feelings? Wouldn’t something else come along that reinvigorates them?

I am very thankful for my husband and my tough-as-nails co-teacher who has given me some great advice about dealing with parents as I have made this transition to teaching middle school. I have found that I truly enjoy this new teaching position. Teaching older kids is very rewarding and I love that I can really put all my energy into preparing awesome lessons for the subject that I’m truly passionate about (English). While this anxiety is nothing new, in fact I should be used to it by now–it’s just a part of my school year–it could be intensified this year because of the fact that I am desperate to prove myself as a teacher of the older crowd. I’m not licensed in this particular field and I’m sure many of the parents know that. I don’t want to mess up. I don’t think anybody really aims to mess up, but I’m trying my very best to make sure that if I do, it’s not in a big way.

I’d like to think that when I go back outside tomorrow and start my 5K training again–I signed up for another race in November, to get myself back into gear with my health that I neglected all summer–I will reduce the physical impact of this anxiety. My favorite line from “Legally Blonde” is the one about exercise giving you endorphines and endorphines making you happy. I’m hoping that these endorphines will make me less anxious. I hate the feeling. I hate that it controls me no matter how hard I try to not let it. I hate that the littlest things set it into motion. But, in the end, I don’t want to hate myself because of it. I can’t say that I’ve ever hated myself…but I also can’t say that I’ve ever truly loved myself either. Somehow it all connects, the anxiety, my poor health, and my self-image. Soon it’ll be late enough for bed…sleep always makes things better with regard to the anxious butterflies in my stomach. After all, tomorrow is a new day. New days bring new opportunities. Opportunities that I plan to take advantage of.

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