Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Difficulty with December

Why is it necessary to teach during the month of December?

Can I get an "amen" on that??

For real. My district gives us the day before Thanksgiving off as a "conference exchange day" which is basically how they pay us for conference nights. I'm not complaining. I love that extra long weekend. But coming back from that super short week and having multiple five day weeks is basically torturous.

Don't get me wrong. I love my job, I love my students. This is definitely my passion and calling. BUT trying to keep kids engaged between Thanksgiving and the last day before winter break is incredibly difficult. You've seen those memes about December lesson plans: Scrap kids off the ceiling. Repeat.

Unfortunately, it is not too far off the mark! My students are already pushing it because they just can't contain their excitement. (And I mostly forgive them because they are 8/9 and they are adorable.) I can't even imagine being a kinder or first grade teacher and dealing with December. :|

Firstly, the kids are exhausted. The Thanksgiving Break just makes that more obvious. We are all just plumb DONE. We need some time to rest and recharge. The kids need it and so do the adults. [I have decided teaching is the fall is the worst thing because you have so much choppiness with conferences, marking period breaks, and then the holidays. The second half of the year is so much smoother once all that mess is over.] 

Secondly, *I* am exhausted. I remember being a student teacher and right before Spring Break telling my class I understood they were tired because I was too. My CT was super pissed at me about that and yelled at me for it later. She said I needed to be a professional. Well screw about being HUMAN and HONEST? It's not like I said "I understand you are tired so let's just screw off for the next few days!" I don't think admitting that you've reached a limit is bad. I DO think it is bad if you reach a limit and then give up and start slacking off. But honestly, I feel like my class pushes through harder for me when I admit that I'm tired and wanting a break too. They are little people but they aren't idiots. They understand. (Ever hear of empathy??)

Thirdly, there is so much craziness that goes on in December that can mess with schedules that everyone is off kilter and it just adds to the craziness that is December by nature. Field trips, class parties, music programs, etc. just totally throw everything off schedule and it can be super hard for the kids to come back from that. (Especially with a teacher like me who likes a schedule that is almost 100% the same from day to day. The structure is good for the kids AND me.) 

So I think we should just cut our losses and forget about school for the month of December....or at least past the first week. Give me a four week winter break and I would GLADLY teach until the middle of June in exchange for it! 

Somehow, I do not think this idea would be popular with most people, but I would love it! Time to relax and really enjoy my family and prepare for the holidays without scraping kids off the ceiling at school sounds perfect to me.


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