While Teachers Love Winter Break, We Should Remember That Not All Students Do

Teachers Love Winter Break But Remember Not All Students Do

“Just three. more. days.” I told myself as my alarm clock went off while it was still dark outside. Winter break was so close. 

There are so many factors that contribute to the desire to stay in bed this time of year: the cooler weather, the thought of containing kids during holiday parties and crafts, and our desire to spend time with our own families—or, you know, the desire to lay in bed catching up on the million hours of sleep we’ve lost. 

“THREE DAYS UNTIL WINTER BREAK!” It’s what I wrote in big, capitalized letters on the chalkboard first thing that morning, as I anticipated the kids’ excitement matching my own in the next few days. We were finally slipping out of the mid-year stress, more intense this year than ever. I worked hard to continue the pre-holiday magic that envelopes my classroom each year as we write poems and tape them outside the classroom for other students to see.

It’s a crazy atmosphere in the classroom the last week of school before winter break, but I can’t help but love it—because I know the loose ends of the year about being tied up and the much-needed break is just around the corner.

I honestly assumed that each of my students had joined me in my enthusiasm.

“What day do we come back to school?” a tiny voice in my classroom asked.

“January 6,” I stated in passing, as I handed out worksheets.

“Two weeks?! That’s a long time,” he almost whispered in a disappointed tone. 

I stopped what I was doing to look back at my sweet student, who looked noticeably sad.

I suddenly felt a twinge of guilt for the amount of enthusiasm I’d placed on the upcoming break, and the lack of concern I’d put into my students in the past week. The other teachers and I joked about how we were running off caffeine and candy canes, and openly counted down the days until we were away from all the little people we were responsible for day in and day out.

Don’t get me wrong—I think teachers have every right to be absolutely pumped for any break—but I had this huge realization today that it isn’t always the same for our students. They may not be as excited to spend time with family for various reasons we know nothing about.

They may truly look forward to that greeting at the classroom door each morning. (Have I even done that these past few days?) Even more, they may look forward to the hot breakfast, and then a filling lunch. They may look forward to the communication with their classmates and their teachers. They may look forward to seeing YOU, their teacher. Just the thought brings tears to my eyes. Before the break has even begun, this little boy is looking forward to coming back to my classroom.

If that doesn’t make you want to create the most magical atmosphere in your classroom year-round, I don’t know what will. I’m done wishing away the days before the break, even though I know how sweet it feels to sleep in and sit in solitude on my couch for a while. I erased the THREE DAYS UNTIL WINTER BREAK from the chalkboard. Winter break just isn’t as exciting for all our students.


Teachers Love Winter Break But Remember Not All Students Do

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Whitney Ballard is a writer and teacher from small town Alabama. She owns the Trains and Tantrums blog, https://trainsandtantrums.blog/. Whitney went from becoming a mom at sixteen to holding a Master’s degree in Education; she writes about her journey, along with daily life, through a Christian lens on her blog. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the backyard with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.

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