Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Twelve Days Before Christmas Break

This time of year, I’m regularly met with looks of pity from friends, family, and strangers on the street when they are met with the fact that I teach elementary school.  The mere thought of being trapped in a classroom with twenty-some hyped up, excited, antsy kids for six hours a day in December is enough to make an average person squirm.  For us teachers, it’s just another hazard of the profession that we take on with a smile (even if it’s fake at times).

As we face the last couple of weeks before Christmas break, it occurs to me that this has to be the longest 12 days of the entire school year.  Longer than those first 12 days when you haven’t quite mastered their names or their quirks, longer than those pin-drop quiet days of testing in May, and even longer than those 12 ninety degree days in June when the kids have become more like bickering siblings than studious classmates.  The only people who find that time absolutely crawls this time of year to an even greater degree than those kiddos who are counting down to Santa are their teachers, who are trying to contain them for twelve. more. days.

In honor of this joyful stretch of time, I’ve compiled a list of things that every elementary teacher will either say or at least think over these glorious 12 days.  My prayer for us all is that most of these will remain thoughts and not become words, in the interest of holiday cheer. J

·        Yes, I know what a shelf elf is.  No, I do not want to hear about where you found yours this morning.  I’ve already heard the riveting details of six other shelf elves this morning.  And, no, I don’t remember what you said yours’ name is.
·        Another assembly? No problem.  Let me move the math test I really need to get in before Christmas break for the third time so we can watch another program that will get the kids extremely wound up. 
·        Is there any way to effectively clean up glitter?  Because I’m pretty sure it’s still going to be all over my guided reading table in March after that craft.
·        Could you possibly ask me again when our class party is going to be?  It’s the same day and time that it was the other hundred times you asked.  And yes, there will be food.
·        Yes, we still have homework.  I’m sorry but we can’t take a whole month off and still keep up with the pacing guide. 
·        Did your mom really let you wear that jewelry that jingles or that shirt that lights up to school today?  Because we weren’t distracted enough as it was.
·        Thank you for the coffee mug.  It’s just what I’ve always wanted.  (Not to sound ungrateful, but sometimes I have to wonder if anyone notices that I drink Mountain Dew every single morning- never coffee.  A can of Mountain Dew would have been perfect!)
·        If you teach K-3rd grade: Yes, we are going to watch Polar Express and wear our pajamas.  If you teach 4th-5th grade: No, we are not going to watch Polar Express and wear our pajamas.  You have the whole movie memorized because you’ve done that for the past four years.  Sorry, you’re big now. 
·        Can you PLEASE just sit down and calm down?  For five minutes even? 

But you know what?  For every time I’ll be counting to ten under my breath these couple of weeks, there will be another time that I’m counting my blessings.  Because despite the chaos and craziness, there is no more magical place to be than an elementary school in December.  Eyes are brighter, steps are lighter, and smiles come more easily than any other time of year.  I love those twenty-some antsy kids, I’m glad they’re excited, and I hope their Christmas will live up to all the hype.  And I’ll be extra grateful for them when their sleepy, calmer little selves drag in on January 6th... 


  1. What a GREAT blog! I enjoyed reading it all! I understand the upper grades don't get to watch Polar Express in fourth grade but just look at ALL that you do watch! Has the Neilson ratings people contacted your class yet about volunteering to supply information on programing since your class is always so well versed in the topic? By the way, your never to old to wear PJ's to school! What's 1 more coffee cup? I would say that you should put your Mt. Dew in the coffee cup but people would wonder why your drinking coffee with pizza EVERY day! :) Have a GREAT holiday!

  2. Ha. Thanks! There are so many comebacks floating around in my head right now that I don't know where to start so I'll just say Merry Christmas to you too! :)