By Teachers, For Teachers
On any given day, teachers make more decisions in the first few minutes of entering their classrooms then probably anyone, anywhere. Not to mention they are on their feet for most of the day, and have to deal with 20 or more children (usually by themselves) for what seems to be an endless amount of hours.
Throw in the new year, when children are still bouncing off of the walls with excitement, and you have yourself a teacher that (most likely) feels like she is about to have a breakdown.
Luckily, there are many experienced teachers that have been through these times, and know a thing or two about how to make their teaching a little less stressful after the holiday season. Here are a few teaching strategies from the teachers who have survived these glorious post-holiday months.
Oftentimes during the holidays, teachers feel the pressure of making things perfect. They want to be able to give their students a fun festive experience, so they spend a lot of time creating lessons, activities, crafts and parties that are a bit extravagant. While this is much appreciated from the students, it takes a lot of time and effort on the teacher’s part. Don’t try so hard, any teaching strategies you choose to do during the post-holiday season will be good enough. Think simple and easy, and you will be on the road to having a stress-free post holiday.
This can be a hard one, because children thrive on routine. But with holiday parties, classroom gift exchanges, and Christmas plays, sometimes adjusting to your post-holiday curriculum schedule is difficult. It is okay to break from your normal routine for a period of time, the students will adjust. Just make sure that you tell your students the new year schedule so they can get accustomed to it during. Try your best to keep as close to it as you can, but also know that the students will be fine if you can’t.
An organized classroom equals a happy classroom. After the holidays your classroom may tend to get in disarray from all of the holiday crafts and parties. To keep this from happening you must stay organized. This means having students keep their papers in order, as well as you having designated spots in your classroom for papers to be organized. Keeping organized during this hectic time of the year will save you a lot of stress.
The holidays are a time where students are bouncing off the walls with excitement. If you want your classroom to be less stressful after these times, then you must incorporate some sort of movement or exercise throughout the school day. After each activity or lesson, have students get up for about two minutes to get their wiggles out. You can do a few yoga moves, get up and stretch, dance or do Go Noodle. You will be surprised that in as little as two minutes how quickly you can settle down your students.
Technology can be a great way to make teaching less stressful after the holidays. To save time on researching lessons and ideas for your classroom, try visiting the NOVA site. Produced by PBS, this site has hundreds of lesson plans and interactive resources available for free. Instructables is another great website that is known for its creative DIY projects. You can browse the site for easy projects to keep your fidgety students busy after the holiday season.
Post-holidays are a time to have fun! Don’t be afraid to laugh and have a good time. Laughter is said to be the best medicine for a stressful day. Have a sense of humor and laugh at yourself, play a game with the children, or tell a funny joke.
Do you have any tips for making teaching less stressful after the holidays? Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.