Surviving December in the Classroom

Ah, December. The festive season that brings about joy, cheer, and… anxiety? As teachers, we all know that December can be a challenging month with overloaded schedules and high-energy students excited for the holidays. Read on as we discuss five practical strategies to help you to survive the month of December, to keep your classroom as tranquil as possible, and to have a very happy holiday break.

Be yourself!

Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others in your building or teachers on social media, especially during this time of year when stress levels are already a bit heightened! If your grade level colleague finds recreating the North Pole in his classroom to be joyful and wants to spend his entire month’s salary on bells and whistles, let him. But don’t feel like you have to follow suit. Embrace your own style, your own traditions, and your own budget. Focus on creating special moments for your class that are true to you and to your students.

Prepare your class for schedule changes!

It’s possible that your school will be putting on one or two special events during the month of December that will cause a shift in the daily schedule and in classroom routines. In advance, calmly explain to your class what will be going on, and how it will affect them. Something like “Friends, today we will be stopping Writers’ Workshop early to attend a ‘Holidays Around the World’ presentation in the gym. When the presentation is over, we will come back to our room, and it will be time for Literacy Stations.” By being proactive and keeping your students informed, they will be better able to adjust to changes and will be less likely to act out.

Keep the day before the break low-key!

Let’s be honest, scraping frosting from the ceiling and glitter-glue globs from tables for hours after the kids are dismissed is not really how you want to kick-off your holiday break. In other words, today is not the day for your elaborate ‘Fizzing-Candy Cane-Glitter-Bomb-Oobleck’ science experiment. Keep the last day before break low-key, perhaps with a calm class party or movie time. You’ll feel more relaxed knowing you won’t have a massive clean-up job when the bell rings.

Stay organized!

December can feel like an overwhelming month to keep everything straight. Between parent-teacher conferences, holiday events, and last-minute grading, it’s easy to lose track of tasks. Keep a planner or create a digital schedule to stay on top of everything. Make a list of priorities each day, so you don’t become overwhelmed.

Take care of yourself!

Between the holiday events, extra hours at work, and family gatherings, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Make sure to carve out some “me-time” every day, whether it’s a few minutes of meditation, a short walk, or even treating yourself to a fancy coffee. Additionally, make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and stay hydrated.

In conclusion, December can be a stressful time of year for teachers and students alike, but implementing these practical strategies can help you keep your cool and have a happy holiday break. Be proactive, stay true to yourself, keep it simple, stay organized, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Remember, you do not have to do it all, and it’s okay to say no if you need to. With these strategies in mind, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever December throws your way. Happy Holidays!

At GrapeSEED, we value an interactive yet ‘in-control’ classroom environment, where children are engaged & interacting while understanding routines and expectations in December and all throughout the school year. Are you ready to learn more about GrapeSEED and how it can impact your English Language Learners?

Just click here!