Monday, December 12, 2011

The Christmas Slump

It's been longer than I would've liked since the last time I had an opportunity to blog, but it's par for the course in Christmas season.  Not only do all the "normal" daily duties exist, but Christmas becomes a looming presence--wonderful, because it's my favorite time of year, and overwhelming because it seems that there is so much to be done!

I have LOVED getting to teach Christmas literature in my classroom since we came back from Thanksgiving.  My 7th graders read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, a classic redemption story that's been redone so many times over the past few years in movies that I have an endless list of possible connections to make, and my 6th graders have been reading Barbara Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which is probably my favorite Christmas story of all time.

Both books offer a story of judgment and redemption.  The main characters, both Scrooge and the Herdmans, are hardened, unhappy characters who initially cause their unhappiness to spread to all around them.  However, they quickly change their ways once they are caught up in the spirit of the season.

I think it's been good for me to teach these novels at this time of year, because it's a constant reminder to me that I cannot, and will not, let myself be a Scrooge.  I can't lie; I'm exhausted.  Yes, I love my students and my school and my job, but I am just as ready for a break as the children.  In fact, I may be more excited than they are. I put a countdown up in my room the day we came back from Thanksgiving.  Because of the exhaustion and stress that I've been attempting to push to the back of my mind, I have found myself so tempted over the past few school days to squelch the joy of my students.  I find myself so concerned with my own tiredness and headaches that when they come in overjoyed from recess and full of adrenaline, all I want to do is create silence and order.  I don't know what I'm thinking.  If I can't get full order in September, when there isn't a single holiday, it certainly isn't going to happen now, when we have seven days of school until break.

I realized today that I need to relish these moments of excitement.  The reason I chose middle school, and the reason I love it, is that kids still contain just a glimmer of that childlike wonder.  I don't want to be the tired, Scroogey teacher who snuffs that out.  So tomorrow, I'm going to try to jump right back in to the Christmas spirit with the children.  This IS my favorite season, and I need to act like it all day long.  Bring on the Christmas crosswords and the Santa-themed grammar worksheets!  Ms. Herring is ready to rally.

P.S. Only seven days of school until we get a nice, long, much needed break :)

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