The two weeks leading up to Christmas Break can be some of the most chaotic times of the year. It's like there's a full moon for 14 days in a row while students guzzle 3 two liters of Mountain Dew before walking into your classroom each day. Students can act a little nuts, and in turn can drive their teachers crazy. I'm on my first day of break right now, and I still think I'm hearing voices...
A lot of this unbridled energy before break can be attributed to excitement. Many students are naturally excited to have some time off and enjoy the holidays. I get it, me too.
But the more I've learned to listen to my students, the more I've come to realize that it is not all about excitement. Many of my students are not excited for Christmas Break. Many of my students do not want to be away from their friends, adults who care for them, a regular schedule, regular food, warm rooms, a controlled atmosphere, encouragement, joy, discipline, and all of the other things that come with being in school.
Last week I told my students to write about their favorite holiday gift ever. One student responded that his mom doesn't buy gifts for him and his sister, and that she usually just sleeps all day on Christmas since she has work off. For many students in poverty, the holiday break is not a break at all, but instead a time of pain, sadness, and hunger.
Many of these students start to feel the anxiety of this time as Christmas Break approaches, and they tend to act out because of it.
So if you are a teacher, administrator, or just know a kid who feels this way right now as they embark on vacation: what could you do to make this time special for them?
Could you send them an email on Christmas and let them know what they mean to you?
Could you call them?
If you have a little extra money, what if you spent 10 bucks on a little gift and dropped it off at their door?
Whatever you do to make a kid who is dreading this time feel special, know that you being in their lives in the first place is a gift more precious than anything that could be purchased. Thank you for loving the kids who need love.