Thursday, December 14, 2017

5 Tips for Going Strong into Winter Break

The winter break in my district is short this year. It's short every year. Probably so we get out of school at Memorial Day instead of going well into the month of June. Which is good, because Quinnmas is June 12th, and we don't want to be stuck in school for THAT. Because our winter break is short, we go right up until December 21st. It leaves less time for shopping, less time for travel, and makes some things more stressful around the holidays themselves. This last week of teaching kids, I know a lot of us are in survival mode. If we can tread water long enough, we'll make it. I get that feeling. I feel that feeling. But I also want to go into the break feeling good. Here are five tips to go strong into Winter Break. These would also apply to Spring Break, and Summer Break, and a Compound Fracture. Actually, avoid that last one.

1. Keep Teaching. 
This one seems pretty obvious. Like, it's our job. But with all of the other disruptions -- assemblies, dances, student body officers stopping by with singing telegrams and candy canes -- it can be easy to kind of throw up your hands and do Five Days of Christmas Movies between now and when you go on break. There are teachers that do. Personally, I hate classroom parties. I didn't like them as a student, I didn't like them as a teacher. If your students have seven classes, there's a good chance they'll have parties in at least four of them next week. I love the idea of being the teacher that they get a break from the partying and they actually get to do, like, school stuff. That doesn't mean you don't have fun. It doesn't mean you don't do something winter-themed or holiday-themed. You can mix it up with clips from Elf or A Muppet Christmas Carol or The Tale of the Merry Chupacabra. But get your content in there. Keep teaching. You'll have students complain, but also have as many be relieved that they get to do something.

2. Clean Your Room.
ZOMG this is the worst Play Like a PIRATE post ever. I heard that. Winter Break is nearly halfway through the school year. You've been teaching at least eighty days by now. Which, if you're like me (some of you aren't, and are completely tidy all the time, and God bless you, every one), you have...accrued...stacks of things. Graded papers. Ungraded papers. Projects. Post-It Notes. Books. Over the next week, do the kind of cleaning that you do at the end of the school year. A purge of the archaeological layers of schoolness that have already built up between September and now. Get the graded things back to students, finish the grading of the ones that you haven't. Get it out of the way so that when you come back in January, it's to a clean classroom. I know for a fact that I won't be losing weight over the holidays, but I can move a metric ton of stuff out of my classroom and feel good about it.

3. Let Them Have a Break, Let You Have a Break.
I have my students do a long-term project every quarter. It's the only "homework" thing I ever have them do. Even then, we do a lot of that in class. And I  have it due the week before Winter Break. I don't want my project (which I think is valuable and important and good) to ruin the holidays for my students and their families. I want to build goodwill with those families, not cause contention within them. So anything big, I'd have due before the break. The other piece of this is that you, yourself, deserve a break. I used to bring home those 210 (yeah. Utah. Big classes.) middle school projects, and would spend days grading them. I'd wait until after Christmas, but it would be a big, stressful chunk of my own holidays. When you lock your classroom door, do everything you can to leave that classroom behind you until January. It's not easy, because even when I'm not teaching, I'm a teacher. I'm always thinking about it. And that's cool. But take a break. You need it.

4. Be Healthy.
(He said, while caffeinating at 6:34 AM) we've already had one wave of flu hit us this season, things are a little congesty, it's cold and smoggy outside, it's dark and somewhat depressing. Find something each day of winter break that will improve your health. Your physical health, your emotional health. For some of us, that's doing things with family. But. For some of us, it's saying no to a family member asking us to do one more thing. Maybe it's only spending six hours with family instead of ten. (It sounds like I have more family issues than I actually do.) Sleep in. Get up early. Go to the gym. Go on a hike. Play with your dog. Eat some fruit and nuts instead of candy. There are as many ways to make healthy choices as there are to completely bottom out during the Winter what you can to make that break restful, but also rejuvenating. Taking a break doesn't mean going on a sugar bender for ten days.

5. Get Yourself Something Completely Unnecessary.
Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, they all have an element of gift-giving. Of generosity, of fun. If you don't celebrate any of those things you probably have fewer family issues than I do, you can do this too. Find something you want to do, and do it. That may mean buying a LEGO set for yourself. It may mean going to see The Last Jedi 27 times. It may mean planning a trip for later in the year (or going on one now). Teachers by nature give a lot. Time, energy, work, thought, love. Our careers are built on those things. Leading up to Christmas, I see my students and others who have great need, and I think I'm generous in donating to Sub for Santa and Toys for Tots and Angel Tree and Food Bank and all of the many ways I know families are hurting in December. I'm guessing you do too. And we should. I've been that kid, I've been blessed by the generosity of others. Don't forget yourself. I know some people only want practical gifts, and I'mma let you finish, but there is a time for something frivolous, something fun, something that will make you laugh. It doesn't have to be big, doesn't have to be expensive...but do something for you.

All of the images in this post are from P.J. McQuade, who has the most geektastic Christmas cards and ornaments you've ever seen. P.J.'s Etsy site is the place to buy them. I don't know P.J. But dang. Good stuff.


  1. The effectiveness of IEEE Project Domains depends very much on the situation in which they are applied. In order to further improve IEEE Final Year Project Domains practices we need to explicitly describe and utilise our knowledge about software domains of software engineering Final Year Project Domains for CSE technologies. This paper suggests a modelling formalism for supporting systematic reuse of software engineering technologies during planning of software projects and improvement programmes in Project Centers in Chennai for CSE.

    Spring Framework has already made serious inroads as an integrated technology stack for building user-facing applications. Spring Framework Corporate TRaining the authors explore the idea of using Java in Big Data platforms.
    Specifically, Spring Framework provides various tasks are geared around preparing data for further analysis and visualization. Spring Training in Chennai


  2. After this brings up its clients get entertained well with its premium services, the Escorts in Gurgaon is liable to increase the level of fun by its quality services dissimilar to get anywhere. So, let us forget everything and take pleasure in what you wait for a long time. Check our other Services...
    Escorts Service in Gurgaon
    Female Escorts in Gurgaon
    Russian Escorts in Gurgaon
    Call Girls in Gurgaon
    Escorts Service in Gurgaon

  3. Thank you for sharing this useful information, keep writing this type post, If you are trying to find the Fashion Hooded Sweat Shirt or top-of-the-line hooded sweatshirt at affordable prices, you will find a spread of hooded sweatshirt that matches your needs and budget. And don not forget, your hooded sweatshirt order may qualify, allowing you to shop for now and pay later.

    You can browse through our category-defining ladies Vintage Plaid Knitting Cardigan during a simple, secure, and faster way. Compared with shopping in real stores, purchasing products including knitting pattern on turtle-cart will endow you excellent benefits.

    Knitted Casual Sweaters are an excellent style that is suitable for a variety of occasions. You will dress up a cable knit sweater with a pair of nice pants or a skirt and a few fun jewelry, otherwise you can keep your cable knit sweater casual and wear it with an everyday pair of jeans.

  4. Thanks for posting this useful information, keep writing this type post, Mobile car washing Phoenix is that the way of the longer term for savvy car owners everywhere. Once you have had your vehicle cleaned by our company, you will never go back.

    Mobile car detailing Arizona is the way of the future for savvy car owners everywhere. Once you have your vehicle cleaned by Wegotoyoumobilewashdetail, you will never go back.

  5. Nice post, thank you for sharing this useful information and keep writing this type post. You can Buy wide selection of Finger magnet glove online for exercise and fitness equipment on best prices. Explore strength training gym equipment, exercise balls, yoga mats and exercise gloves and more exercise and equipment online at the best prices only at fricego.

    Our strong magnetic metal finger glove have a really strong attraction. Unsafe handling could cause jamming of fingers or skin in between magnets. This might cause contusions and bruises. Powerful, very large magnets could cause bone fractures.

  6. Very Good way of attracting your reader's attention is to write blog like you. Please do contact me on for
    Guwahati Call Girls
    Guwahati Call Girls
    Guwahati Call Girls
    Guwahati Call Girls

  7. Stress and anxiety is really hard time to get rid of. You can try the CBD product for it. These CBD products are also very good for pain. best broad spectrum CBD tincture is really works better for pain and mental diseases.