Today in my class, I have one really bad sore throat and two of the ERFs in my classroom are off with the stomach flu.
So, I thought today might be a good day to talk about personal wellness.
We are coming up to the last three weeks of school before the break and these three weeks tend to be the most demanding. The students will be extra anxious, excited, emotional and generally demanding of your time and energy. The problem is after report cards, interviews, IEPs, referrals, ISRCs etc., we are all pretty run down by this point in the year.
There are many ways to make it through December with a smile. Some of my favourites are:
- Do an activity with a colleague. Put two classes together and work together to support your students. Having a team approach to deal with extra behaviour from students can take the pressure off of being calm and patient all day long.
- Plan activities that don’t require you to take marking home. Try to get all your marking done in class. Commit to taking anecdotal notes about rich conversations as opposed to marking assignments after school. For writing, do an assignment that requires writing conferences as assessment. For Math, get into some amazing Marion Small rich tasks and capture everything in the moment. The less you have to take home, the more time you have to recharge in the evening. You need to stockpile the energy this month.
- Get outside. Do a couple of lessons in the great outdoors building structures out of snow, balloon races or making some art out of found objects. Extra time outside can really have an impact on all those high emotions and can help students burn off some energy.
- Take time out for laughter. Yesterday, a bunch of my friends and I went out and did an ugly Christmas sweater run. It was great to get out and laugh A LOT. We took crazy selfies all over town and cars were honking at our silliness everywhere we went. I know many of you have a whole bunch of gifts to buy and food to prepare and family to host but somewhere in there find time for laughter. It can be the best self care there is.
- Make rewards more immediate and obvious for the students. I sometime up the reward time in my class in December to help the students stay focused and on task. I have posted the letters F-r-i-d-a-y-F-r-e-e-t-i-m-e at the front of the room and tell the kids that each letter represents 10 mintues. I remove letters based on if students are not following the rules.
- If emotions are running high, have students do some independent work. Give them a break from doing their work and using their social skills at the same time.
All in all, I love December and all the celebrations that happen at this time of year. But this month requires you to take one deep breath and take care of ourselves!