Getting back to the classroom after the holiday break is tough for students and teachers alike. After enjoying time away from daily coursework and homework, many students are resistant to being back in a classroom setting and may act out or have difficulty getting back into a productive rhythm. Dealing with this unruly student behavior on top of their own feelings about coming back to work can feel like an uphill battle for educators. While conquering the back-to-school blues may never be easy, here are a few things to ease the process.
Set Appropriate Expectations
Know that a lull in productivity after a break is completely normal and is even to be expected. If you begin your classes with the expectation that everything will resume from where it was before the break, you will be frustrated when things don’t go according to plan. Mentally prepare for the fact that classroom activities and student engagement will take time to return to regular levels. Realistic expectations will free you to work with what is in front of you rather than being disappointed by your idealistic preconceptions.
Have A Consistent Routine
Start the return to school with a consistent and familiar routine. Even if you don’t accomplish as much in a day as you could before the break, the comfort of returning to the classroom routine may help students begin to adjust to post-holiday classes. It helps both students and teachers know what to expect and reminds them that they have done this before and can do it now.
Take Time to Process
Holidays leave students with a broad range of feelings and experiences. They may need time to process what has occurred over the holiday to integrate it into their lives and move back into a school routine. Allow time for artmaking, journaling, or other forms of expression centered around student experiences of the holidays. If students choose to share their work, you should validate and accept the experiences and feelings they present. Remember to do this for yourself as well.
Give Yourself Grace
Even after appropriate expectations, a consistent routine, and time to process, the behavior of your students may still leave you feeling frustrated. Be gentle with yourself and with them during these times. Remind yourself that you are not alone in the back-to-school struggle and know that this won’t last forever!