Phew. Here we go, teachers. Classroom holidays are on their way. Here is what I want you to think about if you need some tips for classroom management.
You’ve heard of the Polar Express. If you have a child, teach a child, or were a child… we are all familiar with the story of the magical Christmas train that transports us to Santa and rewards those who believe.
Well, if you’re a teacher, you know that there’s another type of train around the holidays. It’s loud, and fast and starts right around Halloween. It’s the Classroom Holiday Express.
Until the end of the holidays, your classroom is full of 20+ children, sugar, crazy schedules, and excessive cheer. If you don’t keep the classroom routine in place, your merry train ride can easily turn into a runaway disaster! Which is why I’m here to chat about today’s topic: Classroom Holidays: Tips for Classroom Management.
Why is classroom management so important?
The American Psychological Association, in a 2016 article, put into writing something that educators know. The article stated:
“Classroom management systems are effective because they increase student success by creating an orderly learning environment that enhances students’ academic skills and competencies, as well as their social and emotional development.” (Brophy, J. (2006). History of research on classroom management. In C. M. Evertson & C. S. Weinstein (Eds.), Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues (pp. 17-43). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.)
We know better management means better lessons, better engagement, better relationships, and better moments to connect with students. But with the holidays attempting to derail all of the work you have been putting in since August… how do you keep things on track?
Tips for Classroom Management to keep things on track this season
Conduct yourself with Calmness
Remember that kids pick up on everything. Ev.Ery.Thing. You’re a human with your own holiday checklist, your own crazy in-laws, and your own Christmas excitement.
Try to check your stocking full of stressors at the door. Because the more frazzled you are, the more frazzled they will be.
“Express” your expectations
Teachers work on expectations starting the very first-moment students step foot in the classroom. How to turn in assignments, how to share an idea, and how to interact with others. We have literally prepared for this all year. Keep those expectations super clear, and even set aside time to review them with the class. I know it may seem monotonous and unnecessary, but I can promise you that every student will benefit from snowflake-clear instructions.
Choo-choo-choose your battles
Remember that kids are not immune to stress at this time of the year, and we have no idea what is going on at home for each of these kids during the holidays. Things that aren’t blatantly against the rules, blatantly defiant, or blatantly unsafe may just need to get swept under the tree skirt for now. If you have unrealistic expectations of things going perfectly, it will make it a lot more difficult to get to the New Year.
Teaching is an exceptionally stressful profession, and that’s putting it lightly. It is exceptionally time-consuming, exceptionally draining, and it puts exceptional pressure on your shoulders. But there is also an opportunity for exceptional joy. What other professions give you the opportunity to experience the joy of the season through the eyes of children year after year?
As wild as this ride can feel, savor every moment of joy you can soak up. Find the little moments to close your eyes, and open your heart. Who knows? You may just hear the sound of jingle bells.