- December 6, 2017 at 8:19 PM #41476
What Christmas-time wisdom can you offer to the rest of us? Last year I noticed how stressed even young students can become the month of December. With all their family traditions, church traditions, Christmas suppers, etc. their emotional bands can get pretty stretched.
- December 9, 2017 at 4:49 PM #41601
Not to mention the mile markers we are trying to reach in our school books so we don’t have a big test looming right after the vacation days and practicing for a program if our school is giving one…
This question has left me pondering. I’ve never actively thought about what we could be doing at school to help lessen the stress. Subconsciously I guess I’ve thought that the December unsettledness went with the territory and looked at it more from the teacher perspective than the students’. For myself, I’ve eliminated some of the things that I used to have to do and simplified other things. Our church community has an annual auction the first of December with proceeds going toward various needs, missions, etc. It has become a school tradition for various classes to create a project to put towards it. Some years ago I decided that the first grade didn’t need to contribute something–they are too young to do much without it becoming a teacher project. Eliminating that made my life and thus my students’ lives less stressful. I’ve also learned to keep other ideas simple; things like art projects and our contribution to our traditional school Christmas party. I don’t even do much changing of the scenery in my classroom. If I can keep my life simple than I have more time for my students.
- December 11, 2017 at 7:08 AM #41607
Betty, I really like the way you bring up relevant issues that I haven’t considered. I can’t say I’ve noticed increased stress in my students this time of year, but maybe that’s because I’m too busy nursing my inner Scrooge to pay attention. I do try as much as possible to schedule special events for the slower time from January–March, and this seems to relieve things in the busier first half and last eighth of the school year.
- December 13, 2017 at 12:56 PM #41611
December is a good month to be very routine in daily school activities, since there are often many other activities in students’ lives this month, as you mentioned. Save the energy for special activities for the end of January and February, when things naturally seem to be getting a bit slower.
Over the years, I personally appreciated our school’s choice to not have a Christmas program. Instead, we focus energy on a spring program, sharing a variety of things we’ve learned through the year.
We do divide the student body into manageable groups and go “on the road” to sing to older folks and shut-ins on the last day before Christmas vacation. That provides excellent opportunity to share the Christmas songs with others with a minimal amount of planning energy as compared to a program.
- December 25, 2017 at 5:02 PM #42255
Betty, now that Christmas is here, I’d be interested to hear your reflections on this question. What did you find working for you?
- December 30, 2017 at 7:08 PM #42302
I am responding here to Carolyn’s invitation to reflect on the above question now that Christmas is past — I’m not sure what all to give credit for the fact that this year I did sense much less emotional tiredness and the resulting “unglued seasonal stress” in the classroom. Intentionally planning to do only a few extras made a difference within myself and I am sure that also helped the general atmosphere of calmness and the ability for students to focus. Then too the few extras that we did do had more of a focus on giving rather than receiving and I expect that too made a difference. We did our traditional memorizing of the Christmas story and presentation to the 1st and 2nd grades and instead of a Christmas party, we went caroling for a few of the grandparents close by. Both of these things gave students an opportunity to give, and they stepped up to the plate beautifully. I loved ending the final day of school (we went through the 22nd) with a spirit of joy rather than the feeling of barely making it.
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