10 Ways Teachers Just Know That Winter is Coming

Ways teachers know winter is coming_John Snow_cover image

Not that any teacher can tell you how long it is until winter break (10 days, 13 hours and 33 minutes), there are also certain things that only happen around this time of year. Teachers can sense when it’s going to be a full moon. Even brand new teachers can tell you when the weather is changing. For most of us, we don’t need watches, calendars, or even the lady down the street telling us something is coming. We can usually tell when the holidays are upon us, just by looking around the classroom.

While these might not be as accurate as your dad’s arthritic elbow predicting the rain, teachers can just about judge the time of year by these 10 simple things. So put your smartphones, watches, and iPads away, and look no further than the hallways of your school.

1. Kids’ clothes

Kindergarteners show up in matching holiday garb. The reindeer look, about as exhausted as the teachers at the end of the day. You know it is that time of year when the leggings match the shirt, which matches the hairbow, which matches the monogrammed backpack.

Bridget Johns looking and laughing at boyfriends Christmas clothes

2. Baked goods

These little bags of wonderment show up on the corner of your desk a little more frequently. Some of them look like they came straight out of Southern Living, while the others look like someone swept them off the floor with the same book. You simply give that smile and “Oh thank you, it looks so good! I’ll have them during planning!” (aka “I’ll hide them under the papers I didn’t grade, in the trash can“).

Santa eating cookies

3. That creepy elf is everywhere

I don’t care who you are, that thing is creepy. I know it is holiday time when I hear, “Mr. McCall, Joey showed up at our house last night and is going to be watching me to see if I’m good!” Well, kid, Joey is going to tell Santa you pick your nose whether the teacher is looking at you or not, and he doesn’t have enough time to tell Santa how many times you didn’t write your name on your paper. Good luck with that.


4. Lost and Found

At the start of the year, you don’t find many things in your school lost and found. Maybe a water bottle or a random kid’s shoe from the bus line. But when winter hits, it turns into the clearance aisle at Kmart. You can find everything in that pile. Those kids are lucky I don’t wear a youth medium because I’d have a new coat for every day of the year.

Girls trying on dresses in clothes store

5. Holiday recitals

Little snowmen and angels. Christmas trees and donkeys. Whatever the play, program, or rehearsal of the week, you get invited to everything.

10 Ways Teachers Just Know That Winter is Coming_5_Bored Teachers

6. Jersey change

I’m not talking about all these professional athletes that should give back to their teachers for helping them be able to read and sign their checks (Hint, Hint), but the kids that wear them. Look around your school. Football and soccer jerseys have turned to basketball jerseys. Whoever’s the star player of this season, you best believe these kids have their new jersey. Those football jerseys they begged their parents to buy them in August are now sitting in the back of the closet until next season.

Cartoon basketball player

7. Coffee gets bigger (and colder more quickly)

You notice yourself pouring more and more coffee. You had this cute little new cup you found over the summer and used it every day, but now that it’s wintertime, and there are things like Peppermint Mocha and Christmas cookie creamers. It’s a new ball game. With the clocks going back and finals around the corner, you’re now using a half-rinsed Big Gulp cup from 7/11, and refilling it by the time 2nd-period hits.

man drinking out of coffee pot

8. Noises

I’m not talking about the noises your stomach makes sitting in a quiet room during a timed test, but the ones your students make. The “Ums” and “I don’t know” are now preceded by a cough that sounds like chunks of a lung came up with it. The viruses swirling around your room with each cough are almost visible to the eye, dancing like fairies with the disinfectant you just sprayed in the air.


9. Classroom supplies

You started the year asking for pencils and notebooks. You’re now writing letters home and posting on Twitter, desperately crying out for tissues and hand sanitizer. You’re currently rationing it out, but the bottom of the box is in sight. You don’t even care if they write with crayon, just don’t get snot all over the test!

Man taking out a lot of tissues out of tissue box

10. Hot flashes

Your back-to-school wardrobe is now covered in dry erase marker and ketchup stains, so you’re just going with whatever you pull out of the unfolded laundry pile, at this point. You dress ready for the arctic wind, but then they actually decide to turn on the heating, and you can’t get those layers off fast enough. It’s like a chess match with the thermostat in your room.


Andy McCall author

This article was written by Andy McCall. Andy is in his 9th year teaching and does everything to honor his little girl, Penelope, who passed away. Check him out on his Blog or on Facebook: Penelope’s Path.

10 Ways Teachers Just Know That Winter is Coming

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