This article was written by a guest blogger, teacher, wife, and mom of one, who is going into her 11th year teaching 4th grade. Her belief is that successful teaching is based solely on building relationships with her students.... but also Sonic drinks and a sense of humor.
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December is in full swing. There's nothing quite as exhausting as the holiday season in a classroom. Teachers are working double duty — creating a wonderland of Christmas magic at home and at work — something unique to the teaching profession, as far as I know. I can’t think of any other professionals who come home covered in glitter each day.
Teachers coordinate, organize, and attend holiday concerts, both band and choir, with a classroom full of wiggly, awe-filled, and wound up children. We identify the needy, reassure those that aren’t excited to go home for the holidays, and play up the holly jolly spirit as much as we can for all. There are class trees to decorate, doors to make look like reindeer stables, lights to string, and themed lesson plans to create. We pre-cut construction paper, hot-glue googly eyes, and bend pipe cleaners until we can’t possibly look at another ornament. We plan and execute an entire brunch party for all of our students, plus parents and siblings.
Every blessed thing in December is holiday themed. You’re a science teacher? Hope you’re currently teaching about the water cycle or meteorology because your December plans include snow related activities. You’re a math teacher? You’re definitely doing some variation of 12 days of Christmas where the kids have to perform arithmetic functions on each of the 12 days. Reading/Language Arts? You know you’re reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. And Social Studies—gear up for Christmas around the World. It’s not that the lessons aren’t fun. It’s just that they are exhausting. Not only do they have to be able to captivate the hearts and minds of a classroom of kids, who want nothing more than to be out for break, but these lessons also have to meet curriculum standards and rigor because standardized tests don’t break for holidays.
The students are merrily singing a constant loop of "Jingle Bells" and "We WISH You a Merry Christmas". Meanwhile, teachers are silently praying and reciting their mantra in to themselves: “7 more days til Christmas break. You can do this. 7 more days til Christmas break. You can do this…”
I’m of the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mindset, so in between my silent pleas to survive, I like to sing my own Christmas carols. This week, I have been singing Julie Andrews-style. To keep my sanity, I’ve assembled my own list of (school-related) favorite things. I sing this to myself daily (with the melody from Sound of Music, of course), and then I don’t feel so bad.