It’s that time of the year again…
For all the fun and excitement the December holidays bring for teachers, the months of November and December have always struck me as the most exciting months of the school year. During the month of November, our learners are writing their exams. We are no longer teaching. Learners come to school for only a few hours. We invigilate for only a few hours except when we are invigilating a 3 hour paper! This one is just terrible. We mark internal exams! And luckily for grade 12 teachers, they don’t even get to mark at all! We submit all our marks. We give learners their report cards. Close your classroom register.Then boom!! It’s holiday time.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring what the holiday season means for us as teachers and as people. I’ll also be offering ideas for how to make this time of the year the best for you and your learners.
But first, let’s focus on you…
Eat, sleep and exercise
Our natural impulse during the holidays is to rest, and it’s not uncommon to feel the lure of the couch or the early bedtime. I recommend listening to this impulse and making sure you’re well-rested.
Along with the desire to sleep more, you may feel hungrier than usual. This is also nature at work, as our bodies want us to add a little bit of extra fat to get through these holidays. Yet you should consider balancing out this extra sleep and food with spending as much as possible in natural sunlight, as that helps create Vitamin D. Regular exercise also helps to balance all these demands.
Watch the holiday fun
Starting from the 1st week of December and continuing through New Year’s Day, the six weeks of the holiday season are filled with joy and excitement. And that usually means longer and later nights celebrating the season.
These events will throw off your internal clock (which may still be adjusting to Daylight Saving Time) and may cause you to feel more fatigued. Tiredness taxes your immune system, and resulting illnesses can derail your plans and attitude. Yes, it’s good to celebrate, but do your best to find proper balance between fun and rest.
Celebrate family and friends
A major theme of the holiday season is to think of and spend time with your family and your friends. Try to set aside evenings to get together with your loved ones and help them make the most of the season. Today’s fast-paced world causes many of us to lose sight of their important role in our life, and this time of the year serves as a good reminder of their connection to us.
That being understood, there will be certain family members who may stress you out. For those situations, you have to make a call between your loyalty to them and your need to take care of yourself. Keep in mind that for many of us, our friends are our actual family. Be sure to set time aside for them.
Do nice things
Along with the importance of family, the holiday season helps to remind us of our obligation to be good to other people. You won’t have to look very far to find volunteer activities that enable you to practice kindness toward others. This could include volunteering in a non-profit organization, donating your time helping the poor or working with a social service agency to help families.
Most likely your school district or local community will have multiple opportunities to help others. If you really want to extend yourself, speak to your principal about a needy family in your school and work with your colleagues to supply presents and gifts for them. Doing all of this anonymously makes your kindness and caring become more powerful.
Now it’s your turn. Do think teachers need to take care of themselves during these holidays? Let me know in the comments below.