Breathe, early career teacher: the end of your first autumn term is in sight. Very soon, you’ll have a few precious weeks over the festive period to decompress, spend time with family and let the stresses of the classroom fade from view. But first, you’ve got to get through those last few weeks before Christmas.
After an abnormally hectic term, during which teachers have had to contend with large numbers of staff and pupil absences, we can understand the temptation to put a DVD on, lean back and let the pupils wallow in that festive feeling. But there are more productive ways to see out the last few weeks of lessons that will keep pupils focused without causing you undue stress.
Let’s run through some lesson ideas for teachers approaching the end of term.
1. Don’t start the Christmas ease-off too early
It may now be December, but there are still lots of precious learning hours to go before school’s out. Pupils have already lost grievous amounts of their education to school closures over the last two years, so this is certainly not the autumn term to take your foot off the pedal until the last possible moment.
Some kids will be guaranteed to whinge for every day that you haven’t slipped into Christmas mode. But you don’t want to even mention the C-word until the last two lessons with each class. Until then, keep cracking on with the curriculum and make sure that your more recalcitrant pupils don’t think you’re a soft touch.
2. Set group work
There will come a point at the very end of the last week of term where the festive pull becomes truly insurmountable. At this stage, it’s only fair to inject a little bit of Christmas cheer into lessons. But how can you do that without sacrificing their educational value?
The name of the game is to convince children that they’re having an unusual amount of fun while actually keeping their learning bubbling along vigorously. That’s where group work comes in handy. Group work projects have proven holistic benefits for children’s learning, while the freedom to chat and collaborate with their friends will give pupils a wellbeing boost before they head into the holidays.
Here’s an idea: kill two birds with one stone by throwing a class party that revolves around a fun, interactive group activity relating to what you’ve been working on.
3. Use quizzes wisely
We’re a nation of trivia fanatics - just ask the thousands of punters who’ll be heading down their locals for special Christmas pub quizzes this week.
While your pupils are probably rather too young to be joining them, that doesn’t mean you can’t jazz up your lessons with a fun little test of their recall.
It goes without saying that this quiz should be orientated around a particular topic you’ve been learning, with a bit of a festive twist. For example, a Year 8 history teacher might treat the class to a quiz about a Tudor Christmas, with questions about what the kids have been learning over the course of the term.
You could get the festive team spirits flowing by splitting the class up into groups of five.
You can rely on Protocol Education for advice
Whatever teaching approach you want to take in the run up to Christmas (and beyond), Protocol Education is always on hand to give you the right advice. We work with thousands of teachers every year, and our educational recruitment consultants have a wealth of expert advice for NQTs looking to develop their skills and grow as teachers.
Whatever questions you might have about your path through a career in education, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.