What Teaching in December is Like: According to Classic Holiday Movies

What Teaching in December is Really Like: According to Classic Holiday Movies

Ah, the merriest time of the year has arrived. The time of year to deck those halls, trim those trees, and hang on for dear life until winter break. It’s a whirlwind unlike any other and here to help explain just what it’s like are characters from some of our favorite classic holiday movies.

1. When you turn your back on your class for one minute and chaos ensues

Everyone gets a little antsy the days before winter break and it can be hard to keep everything running smoothly. Sure you may have the class right where you want them, but all it takes is one small distraction and BLAM! You’re in the middle of a dance number.

2. When you get buried under an avalanche of emails from admin

December is a very busy month for teachers already… then along comes administration with a cavalcade of emails and as the month drags on teachers get more and more grinchy about the whole thing.

3. When all your coworkers are in the holiday spirit, but you’re just not feeling it

Sometimes it can take a while for teachers to get into the swing of things, but rest assured your students are always ready for a party.

4. How teachers feel as their class spirals out of control

This time of year we do what we can to keep the train from jumping the tracks and some days are more successful than others. Then there are those days when you see your carefully crafted lesson slowly becoming a 4-alarm disaster.

5. When you realize your teacher to-do list never… ever… goes away

It seems like no matter how much we teachers get accomplished, there’s always more to do. You turn in your lesson plans, but you still have to update your grade book. You schedule two parent/teacher conferences, but you still have 5 more phone calls to make after school. Fun!

6. When your teacher buddy tries to call in sick

Everyone needs a buddy, and that is especially true for teachers. That one friend that knows exactly what you’re going through because all of your other friends think you’re making most of it up. Then you show up to school one day to find your buddy called in sick! It’s enough to make anyone dive into a Clark Griswold meltdown.

7. When you’re willing to do just about anything to keep kids entertained

Whatever it takes guys… whatever it takes. Cover your room in lights, do a funky dance and pray your students join in.

8. When students tell you they turned in all their work, but everything is blank

Thanks to technology, the old standby “my dog ate my homework” has been replaced with “I totally submitted that assignment.” Then when we go to look at it, all we find is blankness. Do they think we’re too busy to check? Wait… don’t answer that!

9. When your students show up on a candy cane sugar rush

You can hope for a calm relaxing day all you want, but in December let’s just say those are few and far between.

10. When you get to school on Monday and realize you have 5 days of holiday insanity awaiting you

As if the Sunday blues weren’t bad enough, there’s also the Monday morning feeling of looking at the week ahead of you and wondering if you have the energy to make it to another Friday.

11. When your class is getting on your last nerve and you need to reign in your inner Grinch

There are many effective tools and strategies to succeed at classroom management, and every teacher has a style that works for them. Occasionally though, it’s less about managing your class and more like herding cats across the savannah.

12. How teachers really feel on the inside the week before winter break

December can be a really long month. The closer we get to winter break, the more it seems we have to do. Sure on the outside we’re wearing our ugly holiday sweaters and wrapping Secret Santa gifts, but on the inside we’re… well… a lot like our friend the abominable snowman here.

13. When that one struggling student you’ve been working with all semester has a breakthrough

Sometimes it takes days or weeks. Sometimes it can take months. But there is no feeling quite like when that one student has a special breakthrough in class and they suddenly “get it.” Those “a-ha” moments come in all shapes and sizes but they warm our hearts the same every time.

14. Teachers leaving their classrooms when winter break begins

There is no object that moves faster than a teacher heading to their car after the last day of school has come to a close. You have put in months of hard work and now it’s time to reap the rewards by taking a couple of weeks off and actually getting a chance to enjoy the holiday season before we all have to come back in January and start the whole thing over again.

15. When the final bell rings and vacation has officially started

Once the kids have left and vacation has started… you’ve earned a little holiday dance with any teachers that are still in the building before rushing home to watch classic holiday movies on the couch with the fam!

So yes, this school year has been stressful and full of obstacles we never thought we’d face, but just remember why we do what we do and keep looking for the good because it walks into our classrooms every day. And just like in these classic holiday movies, it’s never too late to have our hearts warmed.


What Teaching in December is Like: According to Classic Holiday Movies

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David Rode

Dave is a middle school math teacher. He's also a musician, a community theater, dad to two amazing children, and he doesn't get a lot of sleep.

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