Oh the Holidays!
As teachers there is nothing we look forward to more than Holiday break! We work all semester, serving as educator, parent, cheerleader, motivator, cop, dress code enforcer, communicator, and school supply supplier and look forward to the precious days off to bond with family, friends, and catch up on missed sleep and recharge our batteries. Oh such precious days!
Have you considered how many of your students feel about the holidays? Many dread this time away from school. Many will not verbalize it but school is their safety zone and the one consistent factor in their lives. For many, the coming holidays bring anxiety, fear, and a serious feeling of instability.
Students KNOW they can count on you; they KNOW what they can expect at school. As a teacher, how do we help our students during the holidays? The first step would be to open conversation with the students prior to the holidays. Talk to them and let them talk about what they do during the holidays. But then take it further, perhaps do a “Step to the Line” activity where students are on both sides of a line on the floor. When you say a situation, such as “Step to the line if you have ever felt lonely over the holidays“ or “Step to the line if you have ever been bored during the holidays.”
Start with easier topics, and work up to harder ones. But then realize that the students need to debrief afterwards. Have them write a reflection first, and then conclude with a big circle for students to express their emotions. Lastly, have them come up as a group with coping techniques. This is where you can input some ideas for the students to assist with coping. This is where you put on the hat of parent or counselor. As always, students that you feel are truly at risk need to be referred to a school counselor, vice-Principal, school psychologist, or other administration.
Good luck and Happy Holidays!!! Thank you for what you do! It is a selfless profession but you are making a difference!
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