I’ve written before about how much I love the holiday season, but if I’m being honest, this is only half the story. True, I do love me some winter wonder, but December can also be a very hard month. It’s cold, it’s dark, and for an educator, it’s exhausting. Throughout December students are frequently restlessness, moody, fail to follow directions, and have trouble following directions. And this is in the best of times.

Life under COVID has turned the winter months from difficult to dreadful. Aside from the normal challenges, there’s the constant news of new variants, the anxiety of meeting in large crowds, and the added strain of trying to proceed as though everything were normal. As such, its no surprise that many of us are feeling a little cranky during this time of year. One could almost say we’re feeling a bit “Grinchy”.

December Syndrome

So, how can we stay effective during this season of fluctuating feelings? Perhaps best thing you can do is to remember why you got into teaching in the first place. We all had that influential teacher from our past. Those individuals who inspired us and who demonstrated how learning could be a grand adventure, even when it was hard. Most of all, they taught us that we mattered, and that we could make a real difference in the world.

These are the same lessons we want to impart to our own students, and December is a particularly good season to make that our focus. It may not relieve all our grinchy symptoms, but it does help by reminding us of the opportunity at our fingertips: to make learning memorable, meaningful, and fun! If it feels like you’re cramming information in, give yourself permission to stop. Instead, embrace the holiday season, and use it to help your students feel valued and loved.

Your Christmas List

Consider taking advantage of VAI’s latest Timely Topic and inspire student curiosity and creativity with some holiday-themed activities. Or you could set aside time to work on students’ interpersonal communication skills. Consider asking them:

  • What do you want for the holidays? Why? What does that mean to you?
  • What is your favorite gift you’re giving this season? Why?
  • How will you make someone feel special this holiday?
  • What do the holidays mean to you?

Don’t allow yourself to become a Grinch this year. Instead, see if you can channel your students’ eagerness into something worthwhile. Like many hurdles throughout the past year, these challenges can often be an opportunity in disguise. Take this chance to connect with your students while you can. After all, it only comes around once a year!

We hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this difficult time. For more free educational resources simply follow this link. If you enjoyed this blog post, don’t forget to subscribe!