Five Ways for Teachers to Survive Till the Holiday Break

3:00 AM

December come and Decembers fact, 25 classroom Decembers have come and gone for me.  I can honestly say that December is one of my favorite times of year, even in the classroom!  HOW would be the answer a lot of teachers would ask me.  So, here are 5 ways to keep your sanity in December and still have a great time with your students.

 Decorate Early

Yes, you heard that right!  So many teachers wait and go into "It doesn't exist" mode.  It does exist.  Christmas hype is hype as long as you pretend it does not affect your classroom.  I decorate the day before Thanksgiving break so that students enter the room with decoration up before they even leave for Thanksgiving.  This usually doesn't include my tree because I decorate in the last remaining moments of the day.  But they see it.  When they come in the first day, they are already aware of the decorations and they become second hand very fast.  If you wait, you actually hype up the whole problem of the month.  So, embrace the month and decorate right away.


That's right.  Get out of that building as soon as you can, every day!  You can quickly become worn down and, with the time of year it is, that equals SICK!  It is key that you stay rested and relaxed.  Load up what you need to and head home early!  Your body will thank you, your family will thank you, and you will thank you.  Escape as fast as you can!

Avoid "Junk"

Avoiding "Junk" is easier said than done.  Junk food, junk talk, junk relationships.  This will load you down faster than those sugar cookies on the counter.  This is the time of year when everyone comes down on everyone.  Walk away from the crazy so that your peace of mind is just that.  Smile, nod, and just keep walking.  You know exactly what I'm talking about, I'm sure of that!  

Play Some Games and Do Some Crafts

I know that in today's curriculum demanding times, this is easier said than done.  Be creative in this.  For instance, I will be pulling out my Winter Bump to practice multiplication skills.  I will be conducting a fun experiment series with the theme of Force and Motion.  This focuses on Santa's Workshop.  I will be writing about gifts with this FREEBIE writing prompt, Holiday Wishes!  The kids LOVE these fun experiences that embrace the fun of the season.  Yet, I'm able to stick with curriculum needs and keep my sanity and still take grades!  There are so many ideas out there! Find some classic favorites and use them.  One of my favorite ornaments is a hand Santa!  Here are the basic instructions.  I do it a little easier.  I use flesh colored paper for the hands.  Then I have the kids trace the thumb and upper hand with red paper and cut that out.  They glue this down and then cover the band and ball area with cotton balls.  They also create the beard with cotton balls.  They come out adorable and are super fast and easy!

Let the Parents Help! 

This is probably the one that most teachers would say "NO WAY" to.  I have done it both ways.  I have let the parents handle parties in the past and I have done parties myself.  To be honest, the self created parties are the hardest.  I'm doing all the work.  I send out the papers, I control the food, I plan the games, etc. just didn't work for me.  When I relaxed and truly let the parents take the wheel, it was so much easier.  This doesn't mean that they go totally crazy with no guidance.  Meet with your parents that are willing to help and give them the guidelines before hand.  Approve what they are going to do, but let them do all the leg work!  Let them come in and decorate while the kids are out of the room.  I step out too!  I view my classroom as an "everyone" space.  The more you open yourself to this idea, the easier this one is to deal with.  There had never been a time that something terrible has happened.  Nothing gets broken, nothing gets taken.  Trust them!  Only one time did students get a little out of hand, and it just took one reminder in all of these years to calm everyone down.  In fact, one of my worst parties in recent history (they were just REALLY loud) ended up making on of the sisters of a mom decide to become an elementary teacher!  Yep, how about that!  She loved every minute in the room and it made her make up her mind about her future!  

Again, you can survive this time of year.  Just breathe in and use some of these strategies to help you through.  It is only a mater of weeks before you are free again to recover from it!  And, after that, the REAL teaching starts!  So just embrace and breathe!  

Have a great Holiday season-you deserve one!

by Julie from The Best Days Classroom

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