How to Survive December in Your Classroom

The air is crisp. The weather is cold. There may be snow dusting your windows. Thanksgiving leftovers are all gone. Christmas music is playing in all department stores. Your students are getting antsy, thinking about their upcoming break and holiday travel plans. With all this excitement around you, how do you keep your cool in your classroom? Here’s some advice gathered from teachers across the country.

  • “PATIENCE! We have to remember that they are kids, no matter how old they are, and they are excited! I also remind my students that as their stress levels go down, mine goes up, so we have to meet in the middle. It’s a mutual understanding.” - Anonymous, 8th grade

  • “Embrace the chaos. If you’ve been teaching for a couple of years, you know what the chaos is like. If you embrace it and use it, it won’t drive you crazy.” Jordan G., 5th grade, South Elementary

  • “Make your lessons relevant to the content but fun and interesting for the kids.” Kathy H., 6-8th grade, Eno River Academy

  • “Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many people during this time of year. Find the daylight! Take a walk. Play with the kids or the dogs.” Kathy H., 6-8th grade, Eno River Academy

  • “Bring hot chocolate for yourself to enjoy during your planning or prep time.” Molly P., 9-12th grade, Voyager Academy High School

  • “Take your students outside the school to perform in rest homes.” Christie C., 9-12th grade, Roxboro Community School

    • If you can’t do that, maybe take your class(es) around to other classes in the school and share something that your class has been working on. This could be presenting projects, singing carols in other languages or from other cultures, or having your students teach other students a specific lesson.

  • “Find a holiday- or content-related STEM project where students can work collaboratively and hands-on to keep them engaged.” Caitlin M., 8th grade, Clover Middle School

We hope that this list sparks new ideas for your own classroom. As the countdown to your break dwindles, we know that it can be more and more difficult to grab and keep the attention of your students. We also know that administrators and parents alike often discourage the use of movies and games that have no pedagogical purpose, so we wanted to give you some ideas that will help keep your sanity intact as Winter Break inches closer.

As you begin thinking about your own break, make sure to check out our post on The Top 8 Ways to Ruin Your Winter Break… and 1 Way to Win it!