For teachers, the holiday break is one of the best times of the year. When I was a teacher, I remember being so excited to get a break so I could catch up on sleep. I also remember the days leading up to returning to school and thinking about how I was going to get back into my school routine. It’s important that we allow ourselves and our students time to transition back to school. Below are a few tips to help make that transition easier.
I always considered the first day back from a holiday break to be just like the first day of school. You will want to review classroom expectations and procedures. It’s helpful if you have these written or posted somewhere so that students can visually see them. There are many fun ways to review classroom expectations. You could play games such as two truths and lie, jeopardy, and more.
Ease Into Learning
Plan for a reflection assignment, group work, or something hands on for students. More than likely, your students won’t be mentally or emotionally prepared for a hard assignment right when they walk in the door. Give them some time to transition back into learning.
Remember to be empathetic. Not every student will return to school happy or ready for the classroom. Some younger students might have a hard time being separated from their parents or guardians. Have some extra patience and compassion. Practice empathy while consistently enforcing your classroom expectations at the same time.
Reflect on Your Strategies
Take some time on your break for a little self-evaluation. Consider your teaching strategies in general. What has been successful? Are there any that need improvement? Are you incorporating high-yield instructional strategies into your classroom? Make a few notes and use them in your planning when you return to school.
Have a Plan for Stress Management
Upon returning, have a plan for how you are going to handle the stress of teaching. Brainstorm a few ideas over the break that will help you when you return to school. It could be something as small as meditating for five or ten minutes a day. This can make a big difference.
Remember to take some time to ease the students and yourself back into the routine of learning. If you like these tips, you can learn more from Diana at TCEA 2023. She will be presenting a session on Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom where you can get tips for self-care for not only you but your students as well. She is also presenting a session on incorporating high-yield strategies into your classroom.