Teacher Perspective: How to Ease Back Into The Semester After the Holidays

Now that the holidays are over, it can be a stressful return to work period for many people, teachers in particular. As much as we have enjoyed some much-needed rest and relaxation, the second half of the school year awaits us. It’s important that teachers, parents and family members work together to ensure that every student feels ready and excited to be back in the classroom over the next couple of days, depending on the school year calendar for each district.  The following resources are aimed to support teachers and parents in maximizing students outcomes upon their return from winter vacation:

  • Take the time to reconnect

We are human before being teachers, and it’s important that we remind ourselves that students are human before fulfilling their student role as well. Making time and space for human connection in the classroom is what forms long-lasting relationships and facilitates an environment where learning is celebrated and prioritized. Be sure to check out the following resources for simple and creative ideas on how to reconnect with students upon their return from winter break! With some careful planning and intentionality, teachers can set themselves and students up for a successful remainder of the school year.

  • Reflect and begin a clean slate

The start of a new chapter of the school year is often space for teachers, students, and parents to reflect on the first few months of school that took place from August to December. Teachers now have data on student outcomes, and it’s important that we use that data to plan effectively. Edutopia has constructed a great resource on ways that teachers can use student data to further instruction. The following resource includes tips for teachers to “reflect on [their] strategies” and ask themselves what’s working and what needs improvement. The post-vacation period can be a great time to adjust course and devise effective strategies to better support student learning. Parents can also reflect with report cards in hand and spend some time asking their students about specific experiences they are having and adjust course as well.

  • Set short-term goals and conquer them together

With the holiday break behind us, teachers feel re-energized and ready to conquer the months ahead, it can be easy to fall into extensive lessons and formulate huge goals that can easily overwhelm students. Instead, let’s ease students back into learning and create short-term goals alongside students, this way we set students up for success and continue building on these goals as we conquer them together.

To finalize, our students deserve a fresh start and that means starting with a fresh slate. Students make tremendous developmental growth over extended breaks, and it’s important that they have a true opportunity to show their teachers that. Returning from break means that it’s time to re-focus and motivate students. Let’s give students time to adjust to being back in the classroom and give ourselves the same grace. With careful planning and students’ best interest in mind, we can maximize student learning and success for the remainder of the school year.

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Daniela Felix

Daniela Felix

Daniela is a first generation college student who is heavily involved in education in her home district, West Contra Costa Unified. After becoming a mother at a young age, Daniela’s passion for education justice only intensified and she began to fight for an equitable education for all children, regardless of background or zip code. Daniela played a key role in organizing parents with the California Charter Schools Association and is a firm believer in school choice for all families. She is currently a Lead Organizer with Students for Education Reform, organizing college students around education justice issues in her home district. She was recently accepted into Teach for America and plans to continue impacting the lives of children in her hometown of Richmond, CA as a high school social studies teacher. Daniela is a UC Berkeley senior pursuing her B.A. in Legal Studies and Education along with her 4 year old daughter and husband. Daniela is a firm believer in that every single child is capable of meeting high expectations if given the correct support. Daniela hopes to be a provider of that support.

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