Wednesday, December 16, 2015

time to recharge

Winter break provides a perfect chance for teachers to recharge. While August always and forever will feel like the true “new year,” the passing of one year ushering in another on January 1st provides an opportunity to reflect on what has gone well this year and what can be done to shift anything that is not going as well.

While you’re very ready for a break, it is important to know that some students feel a lot of stress as break approaches. School provides a structure some students crave and do not get when school is out of session. It is important to be mindful of this and watch for signs of distress in students as winter break gets closer. And remember that after break things might be stressful as students get back into the structure of school.

But for you, while the holidays can be so busy and overscheduled, you do need a chance to relax in order to be ready to tackle the end of the first semester and gear up for the second half of the year. Do what feels best – yoga, ice fishing, wine night with friends. Find a way to fill up your reserves so that you can return to school in January healthy, happy, and ready to support students through the remainder of the year.

Happy New Year, readers! See you in 2016!

Monday, December 7, 2015

the difference a phone call can make

When was the last time you called a student’s parents to tell them good news? These calls are often few and far between. And yet they can do so much good for the students, their guardians, and their relationships with you as the teacher. You're completely overwhelmed with the responsibilities of teaching, and now I'm telling you to add one more thing? It might seem hard to fit into a schedule already bursting at the seams. But think of this as a proactive way to support students and manage classroom behaviors in a positive way.

All too often, the only news that comes from a phone call home is bad news. Parents are often surprised to get a “good news” call, sometimes confused and wondering when the other show might drop. But reaching out to guardians this way can create allies, which are so important for students - both when things are going well and when they are not.