By the time the school Winter Break is in sight, most teachers are pretty exhausted. They have a brief holiday for Thanksgiving, but the remainder of the first term is spent tying up loose ends and keeping students focused. It’s hard not to be a little grumpy in the home stretch, which is why it’s so important to have a game plan when classroom morale gets low. In this guide, we’ve shared five important tips that teachers should keep in mind the week before Winter Break.
There’s a strong temptation to be lax in the classroom, especially when you find yourself drifting off and thinking “How many days until Winter Break?” This is a terrible teaching strategy, and it will create chaos during your lessons. Even a few days before the holiday starts, you should maintain the same code of conduct with your students. If they start acting restless or fail to follow instructions, stop the class and ask them to try again. You can mention that you understand how close Winter Break is, but it won’t come any faster if students don’t follow the rules.
Not every teacher needs to decorate their classroom to the nines. Even if your colleagues are spending their hard-earned money on holiday decor, you should never compare yourself or try to keep up with other teachers. There are simple ways to decorate that don’t require a ton of money or time. Just do whatever you feel like you can handle.
If you want to have an actual vacation during school Winter Break, you’ll need to be ready for the first lesson in January. In the week leading up to the holidays, make sure to prepare your materials, draft a lesson plan, and figure out the January calendar. You may also want to use the “reset” of the second term to set new classroom rules and routines. When New Year’s finally comes around, you’ll be glad that you finished this work ahead of schedule.
Kids tend to lose focus the week before Winter Break because they can see the finish line and it’s extremely distracting. For teachers, this is a great time to review classroom rules with a fun trivia game or team-based competition. You can start the contest a few days before break, and then finish up when students return in January so that your classroom expectations are top of mind.
Finally, you should give everyone an entertaining sendoff on the last day before Winter Break. Choose an activity that doesn’t require a ton of brainpower or too many steps. Most students will be too excited to pay attention to detailed directions. Just pick something fun and relaxing that everyone can enjoy.
At GraduationSource, we believe that teachers and students deserve a reward after working so hard during the fall semester. Visit our blog for more teaching tips and holiday-themed resources.