Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Back to School Stress

Posted on: August 4, 2014

teacherI’m getting grief from my wife.  After 11 years of teaching, she’s starting to give me grief about my current career.  She doesn’t like that we can’t take vacations anymore, not like we used to.  She works all summer and I am finally not.  I don’t make the money I used to make in sales, not even close.  I’m not working in the summer and she’s heading off to work.

I’ve found a couple of articles about teachers going back to school, but they are mostly written for women teaching elementary school.  Male teachers married to women who aren’t teachers – we need a support group.  I need to talk about some of this, I’m stressed out.  My wife is asking me about getting back into manufacturing sales.  I don’t want to do that, I love what I do.  If I can make it just 10 more years, I’ll should have a pension that pays me half my meager salary every year.

So I’m not stressed out about shopping for my classroom, putting up posters (I had kids do it the last week of school), or oversleeping.

Here’s what I am stressed out about:

  1. Just being ready to start teaching 6 different courses (2 are at the community college).  Once again, I’m teaching a course for the first time, Trig/Pre-Calc.  That means a lot more work, especially since I will be using Standards-Based Grading in the course.  More importantly, having the mental focus to do all of it well.
  2. A lack of control – of who I have as students, the number of students in the class, the class schedule, having time for exercise and a healthy meal.
  3. The first couple of weeks are brutal on my body – finding time for bathroom breaks, teaching non-stop, talking until my throat is raw, being “on” at 8am, and teaching until 9pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  4. Back to school orientation where we learn about administrative changes, new paperwork, rule changes, and basically sitting too long doing nothing when I have a million things to do.
  5. Putting on long pants and shoes.  Seriously, I’m going to look like one of those scratchy sweater kids for the first couple of weeks.  I’m not sure my school clothes will fit.  I’m sure I can teach in shorts and flip-flops, I’ll wear a shirt with a collar if that will help.
  6. Grading.
  7. Keeping my mouth shut when I want to chew out a lazy teacher for being beyond useless.

I’ve tried to get started on my lesson planning, and it helps a little, but I really need the routine to get underway.  It’s kind of the same feeling before playing a team sport.  You can practice all you want and you are nervous waiting for it to start, but once the whistle blows, you are in the zone and it all just clicks.  Can I do this 10 more times?




3 Responses to "Back to School Stress"

I may not be a husband but I can relate. My long work hours cuts into our family time and things like cooking and cleaning. He doesn’t ask me to quit but has a hard time understanding why I can no longer cater to his every need. As a wife I can say you should talk with your wife about your passion for what you do and how making a lasting impact is more valuable to you than materials possessions. You could also look at how to increase your pay. For instance when my daughter graduates, I will get a master’s degree which will increase my pay. I could also get nationally board certified. As a teacher with high school preps, I know having time to do this is a challenge. Key point- if you are miserable at your job it will affect your health and your marriage. I see it every day with my husband who is trapped in a bad work situation. The trade off of loving what you do is worth it, you will be happier and healthier which will affect her directly.

Leslie Walker Sent from my iPhone


I’m currently dealing with a curriculum re-write that is stressing me out like crazy. This summer, for the first time in my life, I was able to establish a fantastic workout routine. That’s already being sacrificed due to my non-stop work schedule. I don’t really have the answers, but I just wanted to say, “I feel ya.”

Being that six weeks have passed since you posted this, I hope that your start has been more manageable than you predicted. Keep on keepin’ on.


Thanks Kyle. No, it’s actually been a bit worse, but it’s starting to settle down. The city of Philadelphia is a mess, they are so underfunded that our board rescinded our pay raises and the city is refusing to pay into our retirement accounts. And then they wonder why schools can’t attract highly educated professionals from industry. At least football is back in season. Go Eagles!

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Hot topics this year are going to be the Common-Core Standards, Standards-Based Grading (SBG), improving AP Calculus scores, and somehow adding Python, maybe as a club.

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