It is NOT the most wonderful time of the year…
I love Christmas: cosy nights, warm fires, good food, and people wishing each other a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… or it can be the worst if you’re with a class full of children who are desperate for the Christmas break and just as eager to do as many “Christmas activities” as possible. (And heaven forbid it starts snowing and the whole class suddenly shouting “it’s snowing!” as it’s far more exciting than the trial of Charles I.)
It’s not just the kids who are desperate for the Christmas holidays to begin - you probably haven’t even started buying or wrapping presents yet! I used to be so drained at the end of a day of teaching that I had no energy to do anything except make tea and get into bed...
So how do you turn it around and, in the crooning words of Michael Bublé, make it begin to look a lot like Christmas? Here are 5 simple ways to keep yourself from going mad this Christmas, and actually, enjoy this most wonderful time of the year!
1. Classroom attitude
Keep routine and classroom attitude expectations high. Explain to them that it’s really exciting and you need to keep the standards otherwise you can’t do the fun activities.
If you want to reinforce your classroom expectations in a Christmassy way, you could try the STAR method:
Track (look at) the speaker
Ask and answer questions
Respect those around you
This is also available as one of our strategies.
2. Have purposeful Christmas activities
Treat Christmas activities in exactly the same way as normal activities. Expect the same levels of attention, behaviour, etc.
Also make sure your Christmas activities are purposeful. If you give your pupils work that doesn’t matter, why should they behave or focus on it?
Christmas-themed Maths activities, learning about Christmas traditions from other parts of the world or from different parts of History, singing carols or songs, or Christmas writing activities.
You may say, “but this is more planning! I don’t have time or the energy!” Fear not, you can find thousands of purposeful, Christmas-themes resources (many of them free) at Twinkl.
3. Do something good for someone else
Whether it’s taking round chocolates or tea for Random Acts of Kindness, or whether you organise a donation to a local food bank, Secret Santa for children in need, or donate gifts to nursing and care homes, it can leave you (and your pupils) with good cheer at Christmas time.
4. Lots of water and Vitamin C
I love a satsuma at Christmas, and used to eat at least 4 a day to ward off colds, as well as drinking lots of water (on its own, hot with lemon, or with squash). Keep your energy up!
5. Treat Yourself
In the spirit of Christmas, and to quote Parks and Recreation, treat yourself. It’s so hard at Christmas Last Wednesday evening I shut the curtains, lit a candle, made a luxury hot chocolate and read my book (Suite Française, would definitely recommend!). It’s the little things that can spur you to keep going through until the end.
OneStep CPD champions authors, teachers and pedagogists through our strategies, allowing everyone to test ideas and adopt what works. Our blog does the same, providing a platform for anyone with an interest in education to share good practice and great ideas.
All opinions are those of the author and not necessarily OneStep CPD.