10 Things All Teachers Need to Make It Through December

Top Ten Things All Teachers Need in December cover image

December by itself is a crazy month. You’ve got angry mall-goers aggressively fighting for parking spaces while Mariah Carey crazily wails about what she wants for Christmas on a never-ending loop. You’ve got children snottily crying on Santa’s lap while moms desperately try to snap a semi-decent pic to post on Insta. And you’ve got a long list of people you only half like to buy gifts for, with funds you don’t have. Add to this list Elf on the Shelf, Christmas crafts that shed glitter, and never-ending sugar-fueled parties. Now you get why teachers need some extra tender loving care during the holidays. Below are the top ten things all teachers need in December.

1. A Trenta-sized beverage from Starbucks/Dunkin’ every morning from December 1st until the start of winter break.

Winter break is so close, yet oh so far. And our tired teacher bodies are feeling the endless grind of papers, data, assessments, observations, and Christmas shenanigans. The only way we are going to survive these bleak, long days is with a giant-sized cup of the most caffeinated beverage. If you see a teacher wielding one of these drinks, please run.  We are not to be trifled with.

2. One hour of silence.

Students, we love you dearly. But if we hear you sing one more off-key version of “Jingle Bells” or if we hear (once more) what kind of trouble your naughty elf Trixie got into, we are going to lose it. We just need an hour by ourselves. No talking. No screaming. No singing. No screeching chairs. No bells. No interrupting colleagues.  Just pure, sweet silence.

3. One day with a regular schedule (no extra things added or interrupting our classes).

Why is it that our December calendars look like the workings of a crazed madman? Why do the powers that be think we need something added to each and every day in December? Can’t we just have a normal day without some special assembly, party, meeting, concert, or holiday potluck?

4. Time to teach the freakin’ curriculum.

I know this may sound nuts, but we teachers still have our normally scheduled curriculum to get through. It’s not all fun and games in December. Contrary to popular belief, we still have standards to hit and concepts to teach. We need time to get through our material.

5. A gift card to unlimited drinks at a happy hour of our choosing.

We need a way to bond with colleagues that doesn’t involve small talk at the copier. The majority of teachers would agree that happy hour ain’t a bad place to unwind after an especially difficult day!

6. A day off.

Teachers, I know it is close to the break, but I highly recommend picking a day and taking it off. Go get a massage! Stay in your pajamas all day while watching Hallmark movies! Your mind and your body will thank you for this later, I promise.

7. A personal assistant to do our Christmas shopping for us.

How the *bleep* are we supposed to buy people presents around this time of year? I don’t know what day it is or if I remembered to put deodorant on before leaving the house. Our weekends are reserved for all the chores we neglected during the week and most of us don’t get out until a few days before Christmas. Send an elf to help us out, STAT!

8. Magical funds to buy said presents with.

Where are we supposed to magically get money to buy presents for all of our families and friends? Is it with our overflowing salary from being a teacher? Is it?! Because our bank account continues to weep tears of sorrow with every withdrawal made in the last month of the year.

9. Zero judgment from others regarding our disheveled appearance and weird eating habits.

December is the time when leggings magically become pants and unwashed hair perches in the form of a messy bun on our heads. It takes all of our willpower just to get out of bed and put on clothes that don’t smell. Please don’t judge our appearance OR our diet, which consists of 3-day old cookies that have been left in the faculty lounge. If you see us shoveling five in our mouths during our prep periods, just walk away and pretend you saw nothing.


What would we do without these blissfully wonderful weeks where we can sleep in, be with family, and return to our human selves? We break our backs during December to enjoy some time lying off our feet. This is the light at the end of the tunnel. Give us two weeks at the end of the year and we will come back in January, ready to make sh*t happen the rest of the school year!

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Abigail Courter is a fifth year music teacher at a K-8 private school in California.  She has taught general music, band, music technology, and performing arts.

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