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Friday, December 1, 2017

5 Tips to Help Tired Teachers Survive Until Winter Break

Winter break is in sight and the students all know it. This time of year can be the toughest for even the most seasoned of teachers. It's important to maintain control over your classroom yet still find the strength to enjoy the holidays with your students. Becoming a Scrooge or the Grinch isn't fun for anyone, including yourself. So here are my five tips for surviving until winter break.

1. Resist the Urge to Ease Up on Expectations!
This time of year finds teachers struggling to stay sane and composed, especially when you have a classroom of students who know you are at the end of your rope. The perfect time for them to get away with doing things they don't normally get away with doing. Resist the urge to loosen your expectations and classroom rules. I promise you it will backfire! A lackadaisical teacher will only compound the chaos in the room. Students can smell a tired teacher from a mile away. Take a breath and a second to remind students of the rules and correct whenever necessary, every. single. time.

2. Make a List and Prioritize!
Make a list of everything you need to get done in your classroom from now until break. Yes, you do have time to sit down and make a list! It takes a few minutes but it's worth it in the end. Now read through all that is on the list. If you are anything like me, there are things on that list that are non-negotiable. Find time for these in your teacher planner. Semester exams created and printed? Time to get grades done? Check. Christmas program practices? Check. Now that you know what you have to get done, you can schedule in a few (A FEW) fun activities for the holidays. One activity I always do in my classroom is put up a tree and ask my students to make ELA-related ornaments. It's a simple activity and takes less than a class period, while giving your students (and yourself) a chance to spread some holiday cheer. This free "Reading is a Gift Ornament" template can be found in my TpT store.
My classroom tree from last year.

3. Sleep, Eat, Drink, Move. Repeat.
Sleep: A tired teacher is an unhappy teacher. Taking care of yourself is a must, especially during the weeks before winter break. Resist staying up late each night, preparing for the next day. Loss of sleep makes it harder to think and worsens our (already short) patience. There is nothing wrong with a short catnap when you get home from school to get reinvigorated.

Eat: Even thought it's always easier to grab something on the run when we are busy and tired. Resist high carb, high fat meals. Not to mention the endless stream of sweets in the teacher's lounge. I'm not saying abstain...just keep it all in check. Extra pounds and a sloggy metabolism won't help you to keep your mood and energy up.

Drink: Dehydration can impact your mood and mental clarity in a very short time. Remember to take water with you to school and drink water often. Also, imbibe in small doses. A glass of wine at night can help everyone unwind from a day with students.

Move: Even five minutes of exercise can boost your mood. Head outside for a walk at lunch to clear your mind. The crisp air will wake up your senses and invigorate your body. Find time to exercise 30 minutes at least three times a week to help burn off negative energy.

4. "Just For You" Time
Take some time to do whatever makes you happy and relaxed. Get your nails done...walk the for holiday gifts...get a massage...take a drive...go to dinner with friends. Do something to ease your stress and allow your brain to center itself. A frazzled teacher can run out of steam quickly, especially the few weeks (and days) before break.

5. Prepare for January
It's always hard to get back into the swing of things when you return in January. Do your future-self a favor and get plans done for the first week back. Make copies that you will need, create new seating charts, take down holiday decorations. Anything you can do to make things easier on yourself in January will be appreciated by "future you". No one likes to come back to a mess or a long must-do lists.

When stress begins to rise, think about the well-deserved time off you will soon be enjoying. Use the break to rest, relax, and recharge. For tips on regaining your sanity during break, see my post titled "10 Ways to Regain Your Sanity During Christmas Break" from last year's 12 Days of December.

Remember there are two more teacher-authors that are included in today's blog hop: Cullom Corner and OC Beach Teacher. Be sure to head over to their blogs for more useful information.
12 Days of December Day Two Teacher-Authors

Come check out the other 10 days of teacher-authors for more chances to win some great prizes.


  1. Such great reminders to remember self-care during what is a busy and sometimes stressful time of year! Thanks so much. :)

  2. Love these tips, especially the reminders to sleep, eat, drink and move! I get dehydrated easily and must constantly remind myself to drink water during the school day (and wine at night 😂)

  3. It's so important to schedule "me" time. Thanks for the reminder!

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