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Holiday Survival Guide for Teachers: Home Alone Edition

Happy holidays, ya filthy animals. Can we talk about what this time of year really means for educators? Because the holidays are a little bit different for teachers.

Sure, the people who work outside of education deal with the stress of in-law visits, unending checkout lines, and the temptation of foods made with butter and covered in frosting. But you? On top of everything we just mentioned, you have to finish one semester, prepare for the second, and manage a classroom filled with uber-energetic, easily distracted kids.

Given the short time span and unyielding intensity of the situation, the holiday season for teachers is not unlike the challenge Kevin McAllister faced—though we hope you don’t have to set booby traps for any bandits this year. (Though the feasibility of those traps would make for a really cool science lesson.) Regardless, does any of the following pre-holiday hell sound familiar?

Managing the Never-Ending To-Do List

December means you’re wrapping up the Fall semester, which involves teaching distracted children, finishing paperwork, administering exams, filing progress reports, submitting grades, honing lesson plans, evaluating data, reworking seating arrangements, writing thank-you notes, communicating with parents, coordinating with colleagues, explaining pedagogy to administrators, sharing progress with principals, choosing PD, managing stress, and…

Is it time for a nap yet? A really long nap? Maybe a cocktail, too. And, like Kevin, perhaps you just need to scream. That’ll have to do until they invent cloning technology.

Keeping Excited Kids Focused

Look, no one likes a Grinch. Happy kids are never an unwelcome addition to the classroom. But when you’re trying to hit your Fall semester goals, pre-holiday jollies might prove challenging. Get ready to experience sugar-induced dance parties, questions about religion, and debates about the existence of the bearded fellow who shimmies down chimneys and leaves gifts. You know, the guy in the red suit, the one from the Coke can.

We’re not going to tell you how to manage your classroom. Nevertheless, we hope that your students are jumping for joy…very quietly and metaphorically jumping for joy.

Quadruple-Checking the Allergy List

Aiden is allergic to red food coloring. Peanuts? Those are a big no-no. Olivia can’t process dairy. Birthday cake gives Bryce a rash. Nora is vegan. Brian doesn’t do gluten. Coconut makes Ava release a geyser of vomit. Corey can’t eat anything that begins with the letter P. Liam isn’t allergic to cupcakes, but he does have a phobia of them.

It looks like you’re doing a fruit plate! That’ll work. As long as it doesn’t have cherries. Brigit is allergic to those.

Turning Your Classroom into a Snow Globe

It’s time to access the Pinterest part of your brain. That classroom is going to be a winter paradise teeming with snowflakes, tinsel, string lights, and jolly decorations that ensure the kids experience a sense of wonder and joy that will create warm memories for decades to come.

Now, you just have to stay after school to make this happen. Or do it on a Saturday. And use your own money. Do you have any old garland in the garage? Oh! Maybe you could turn coffee filters into snow. Yeah, that’ll do it.

Balancing the Holidays

You’re a teacher. This might come as a shock to some, but you’re also a human being with a private life. So, while you’re tying a bow on the Fall semester, trying to give your students a fun holiday, and preparing for the Spring, you also have to take care of your own family. And you know, they’re probably expecting a present or two.

Of course, those holiday crowds and long lines are no fun. Instead, you should totally send a robot version of yourself to do it all. Maybe then you can finish that movie you started back in March.

Hopefully Taking a Little Break

Look, you’re busy. The break is short. You’ve got a ton of stuff to do. Make us one promise, will you? Take a couple days off!

Take Care of Yourself to Take Care of Them

If you want to be at your best, self-care and conscious teacher wellness is one of the most strategic PD choices you can make. Check out our educator wellness PD designed to help you feel great so that you can continue being an exceptional teacher:

  • Self-Care Strategies for Teachers: Teaching requires you to manage others’ feelings and behaviors every day, but are you taking time to manage your own? Discover strategies to invest in yourself so you can create a sustainable career in education.
  • Achieving a Work–Life Balance in Teaching: As with most jobs, teaching responsibilities can infiltrate your entire life if you let them. Having a work–life balance means feeling engaged, effective, and satisfied in every aspect of life. Learn how you can be present and effective at school and beyond.
  • Stress Reduction for Better Teaching: Between lesson planning, communicating with parents, and working with colleagues, even the most practiced teacher can become overwhelmed. Explore how stress can impact your teaching and your health and how to manage your stress effectively.
  • Becoming a Calm, Happy Teacher: Leave burnout, stress, and frustration behind for good. Get proven psychological tools to help you create a calmer, more balanced teaching career so you can be more present and energetic in every area of your life.
  • The Growth Mindset: Fostering Resilience and a Love of Learning: Mindset is a buzzword in today’s educational landscape, but it often addresses only students’ mindsets, not educators’. Explore your internalized beliefs about learning and your students’ abilities, and learn how to structure your classroom around a culture of perseverance and opportunity.

Advancement Courses offers more than 280 online, self-paced PD courses covering both foundational topics and emerging trends in K–12 education. Courses are available for both graduate and continuing education credit for your salary advancement or recertification needs.

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