Stress – what every teacher feels in December. Reducing holiday stress for teachers is a very important topic, but is often overlooked in the busyness of the season. Teachers everywhere look forward to their holiday break in December. Spending the Christmas season with friends and family helps get us through the snowy cold days of November and December. The weeks leading up to the holiday break can be very stressful if you don’t plan ahead. Read below for our top tips for reducing stress before, during, and after the holiday break.
Reducing Holiday Stress For Teachers Before The Holiday Break
- At the beginning of December, strategically plan out all your lessons and marking load to ensure that you’re not bringing home a giant pile of marking. Check out this pre-made Middle School Christmas Activities bundle for ready-made print-and-go lessons.
- Make sure you prep lessons ahead of time for at least the first and second week back. It is better to stay late one night and get everything ready than to be in a rush after the holidays.
- Always save your best and most engaging lessons for the week before break.
- Accept that students will leave early before the break or arrive late after the break. Your teaching will need to adjust to this change.
- Have fun with your students! Use our Christmas Writing Prompts activity and enjoy reading out loud what funny stories emerge in your classroom.
- Get creative with your lessons so that they cover curriculum expectations as well as bring the joy of the holiday season to your classroom. Try our Christmas Creative Writing Assignment. Students are provided with 5 different Christmas-themed RAFT format writing options (Role, Audience, Format, Topic). They will take on the role of one character: Santa’s Elf, Christmas Turkey, Gingerbread man, Christmas Tree or Museum Curator and create a written product based on the character’s specific scenario. This one assignment allows students to practice their creative writing, celebrate the holiday season, and covers curriculum expectations for layout, design, and writing.
- Our world is a global village. It is important for our students to learn about different cultures and faiths. We can help our students learn about different celebrations with this global holiday research assignment. Students will work in pairs to research 1 of the 16 suggested holiday and/or cultural celebrations. Students could also choose to research a local holiday or cultural celebration. Research is presented to the class in a slideshow format.
Ways to Avoid Stress During The Holiday Break
- Do not take marking home over break (unless it is non-negotiable i.e. exams, finals, summative assessments)
- Spend time with family, friends, and pets which you don’t get to see during the school year.
- Try out a new recipe or two to add to your post-holiday season meal plan. Check out our Dinner and Dessert recipe Pinterest boards.
- Use some of your time on holiday break to gather new lesson ideas using Pinterest, Twitter, and Teachers Pay Teachers
Ways to Avoid Stress After The Holiday Break
- Use the first class after the holiday break to re-establish classroom community, class norms/rules, and procedures.
- Don’t launch into new content the first day back, give students time to review content, journal about their break, and share a memory with their peers.
More Teacher Advice
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- December Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA