Teachers work harder than Santa on Christmas Eve when they are getting ready for the month of December. It’s a very busy time of year! As a way of saying thanks for all you do for your students, I created this free resource to help you make December feel less crazy and more joyful! This resource includes 20 teaching tips for the month of December and 10 free printables.
Below I listed 5 of the tips included in the free resource. Be sure to download the free December resource for elementary teachers to get the other 15 teaching tips and the 10 free printables!
5 December Teaching Tips for Elementary Teachers
Here are 5 pieces of advice for elementary teachers like you to help make December feel more manageable!
1. Take the Weekends Off.
I realize this is so much easier said than done, but the weekends should be your time. Vow to not do school work at all on the weekends. Instead use the time to enjoy the season and recharge those batteries for Monday. Leave that school bag at school on Friday. It will be there when you return. Plan to go in to school earlier than usual each day to get ahead in your required tasks.
2. Create a December Calendar.
Fancy planners and electronic calendars that sync up with your family are awesome. I love them all and for the majority of the year they are the perfect tool all by themselves. However, in the classroom I have found it to be extremely useful to make an additional calendar to display on the wall by the teacher workstation that is specific to the happenings just in school. There is something about seeing all the events and tasks isolated in one place and then being able to draw a great big X through the day when it is done and you are one step closer to winter break that keeps things manageable and in perspecitve.
3. Prioritize and Designate Tasks.
December is the perfect time to get yourself in the habit of saying no to some things. It’s not easy at first, but it does get easier. I promise it even becomes enjoyable. To make it easier to prioritize, designate, and let go of tasks, create a to do list in columns. As you list all the things that you think need to get done be sure to categorize them. Your list should be classified by things you MUST do, things your MAY do, things someone else COULD do for you and things someone else SHOULD do instead of you. Use that list to ask for help, hire help, designate help or simply cross if off if it isn’t necessary.
4. Create Emergency Sub Plans.
December is the unofficial start of yucky germ season. When you factor in added stress, less sleep, and more time indoors, your likelihood of getting sick increases. Make sure your emergency sub plans are up to date and ready to go at anytime.
5. Be Prepared to Say Thanks.
If you do receive gifts, you’ll need to write a thank you note to anyone who gives you a gift. Doing so before you leave for the winter break enables you to spend your vacation relaxing without having anything hanging over your head. Make the process simple by having thank you notes ready to go ahead of time. At the very least, have a box of thank you cards with you at school. To expedite the process even more, you can prewrite notes and then just add in one specific line related to the gift.
It is likely that there will be some students who do not bring in gifts. It is important that you do not exclude those students by passing out cards to select students in front of the class. Even if you plan to discreetly slip them into their folders there is a strong chance the others will hear about it on the bus or in the neighborhood. Plan to write a note to each student and if they have not given you a physical gift simply thank them for something they bring to the classroom. (Example: Thank you for always starting my day with a hug. I hope you have a wonderful winter break. I’ll miss you and can’t wait to see you in January). Stamp and address the envelopes ahead of time or just send the notes home in the students’ folders that day.
Download the Teaching Tips and Free Resources
I hope these 5 December teaching tips were helpful! Don’t forget to download the free December resource for elementary teachers to get the other 15 teaching tips and the 10 free printables!