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When the holidays are over and the excitement of traveling, family visits, and gift-giving die down, we look toward the New Year. As a teacher, this means another semester of teaching and guiding students. The holiday break is a great time to evaluate how the past semester went and move forward with more intentionality and a fresh take on the school year, your students, and your subject area. Here are a few tips to utilize over the holidays to be as prepared as possible for the return to school.
Take some time to look back on the first half of the year. What went well? What didn’t? Is there anything you wish you would have implemented earlier? What can you do better moving forward? Write down some thoughts and ideas that can help you process the past few months and improve the remainder of the school year. If you journal regularly anyway, look back on journal entries from the past few months to see what insight you may have had about things that happened or things you should or shouldn’t have done.
The New Year often brings resolutions for many, and the holiday break is a great opportunity for you to think about soar resolutions and set some goals. These could include personal goals, professional goals, student-based goals, or anything else. Be sure that your goals are measurable and achievable, but make sure they are specific as well. Goals shouldn’t be something vague like “spend more time reading,” but should be more specific, such as “spend at least 3 hours reading each week.” Think about what you want to accomplish in the next few months and come up with some actionable goals that you can work towards achieving.
Plan Some Fun
You know that it can be challenging for you to get back into the swing of things after the holiday break, and it’s likely even more difficult for your students. Before you go back to school in January, plan some fun activities to help your students transition into the new semester. This might be a reflection on the holiday break, some winter-themed games, or a particularly fun lesson activity that will make your students forget they’re even learning. Plan to implement some fun and enjoyment into the first few days back to give everyone time to adjust and to connect with your students in a positive way.
Check and Review Lesson Plans
If you don’t already have lesson plans completed before the holidays, that should definitely be high on your priority list when it comes to post-holiday prep. If you do already have them ready to go, be sure to check over them and review them to ensure you are prepared to teach the content. Go over the main ideas that you’ll be teaching and make sure you have all the presentations, materials, and handouts that you need before you return to school. Be sure to make a note of anything you need to do for your lessons once you get back in the school building, and gather any supplies or resources you may need as soon as possible.
Restart Your School Morning Routine Early
Most teachers have a morning routine that they stick to day in and day out, but only during the school year. It may involve a short run and a hot shower, or some yoga and a cup of coffee. Whatever your morning routine is, begin it a few days before you return to school. This will help get your body and mind prepared for the new semester and will help you adjust to being back in school much more quickly.
After you’ve enjoyed the holidays, be sure to shift your focus to how you can best prepare for the next semester. It will serve both you and your students well to put in some prep time and time of reflection after the holidays to ensure that you have an excellent second semester.