Holiday themed outfits – check.
Holiday read alouds – check.
Holiday door decorations – double check.
Antsy students – there are not enough checks in the world for this one.
Teachers everywhere are beginning to prepare for the holidays in their classrooms. Being out of the classroom for two years now, I have realized that I miss this time of year with my own group of students. In my new role, I am dusting off my testing coordinator hat instead of dusting off the holiday read alouds I love so much. I am excited to see how much our students have grown, but not as excited as seeing the joy on my students faces when they finished their beaded snowflakes. This time of year has plenty of drawbacks, as our students get plagued by holiday heebie jeebies, which only get worse as we get closer to Winter Break; but this time of year is also really special.
Our students feel the magic of the holidays all around them, whichever holiday they choose to celebrate or not. They may have family traditions that bring them joy, vacations to look forward to, or naughty elves getting into mischief each night. Some of our students do not have holiday traditions with families, or a happy home to go back to, so bringing the holiday magic to them is a special gift.
I miss the holiday read alouds. I miss having my students gathered around on the floor and having that shared experience. I would share about some of my holiday traditions, and would listen to their stories that they wanted so badly to share in the middle of the read aloud.
I miss the crafts and the homemade gifts for parents. I never thought in a million years I would say I missed doing crafts with students since I would get so frustrated with giving directions, cleaning up the mess, and consoling students who did not like how their craft turned out. But, now that I am staring at my schedule for the next several weeks and it is packed full of testing students, I longingly think back to all the crafts I did with my students at this time of year.
I know these next few weeks will come with their challenges, but I would like to encourage you to have fun with your students. Do the read aloud, have the class party, make the fun craft, and if you are really adventurous: break out the glitter. In between the testing, report card preparations, and dealing with misbehavior as it arises we need to remember to have fun with our kids.