In my part of the world, Halloween, Remembrance Day and Thanksgiving are over, and the long haul to the winter break has begun. Getting through it without loosing your cool with colleagues, students, parents and your own family can seem a daunting task. Here are some suggestions to help you survive:
Choose a mental health theme. It isn’t an easy time of year for many families and brushing up on mental health and wellness tips this month can help everyone. Check out OPHEA.net for great ideas
Mental health and wellness is key. Not just for you but also for your students and their families.
Add in fun breaks. Some call them brain breaks, others call them daily physical activity. It doesn’t matter what you call it; we need it. At this very stressful time of year, in the northern hemisphere, winters can be brutal. It’s not always easy to go outside. Every hour of teaching, add 5 minutes of physical activity. Check out @dalesidebottom and https://energetic.education for great ideas. Doing DPA everyday can release stress, improve attention, learning, overall health and wellness AND decrease behavioural problems. Sounds like win-win to me.
Try a self directed group project. Give the kids some independent work to create on their own. My intermediates are currently working on a class Merengue (yes the Latin dance) to do as a « dance off » battle at our winter dance. – performance, credibility, fun, teamwork and laughs.
Get in on the celebrations. That’s right, join the many thousands of teachers that do it up big around this time of year. Believe it or not, drinking the Kool-aid makes it a lot easier to get through. Every game and activity can be in on it. Keeps the kids interested and you laughing. Check out @andyhair and his links to #physedmas for some fun ideas in the gym. PS also a great way to teach about the MANY different religious/non-religious celebrations of this time of year.
Find any outlet. This is similar to caring for mental health. Find something that makes you laugh/delights you/makes you think and just do it. Me; I have a soft spot for Halmark movies this time of year. I get in my favourite sweater, banish the hubby to his iPad and chill. Throw in a good cup of tea and some munchies and I’m all set.
However you get through this time of year, make sure to remember that « this too shall pass. » You might not cover everything you needed to in the last week. Be fair, it was a pipe dream to believe they would be able to focus until Wednesday even! Know that sometimes « good is good enough ». Relax and enjoy how lucky you are to have friends and colleagues who care about you and pay it forward to those who truly need it: those kids and their families.
Happy Holidays and enjoy the break. January 2020 is just around the corner… and report cards.