It’s that time of year again! The classroom will be full of chaotic fun and excited children, but for all the excitement and anticipation in the lead up to the big day, it can be a stressful time for teachers and teaching assistants.
Being a TA ranks as being one of the most satisfying careers available, (in fact in a recent survey 89% of people working in education say they love their job as opposed to the 59% of average workers). But if that end-of-term exhaustion is setting in, here’s your guide to surviving in the classroom until Christmas.
Yes, we mean Christmas. The very mention of the word can whip a group of small children into a frenzy and their concentration for the lesson at hand will be long gone. It’s best to avoid saying the C word in the classroom for as long as possible to get you through the early days of December!
With so many fun and exciting activities going on throughout December, like special assemblies, choir performances, and of course the traditional Christmas play (and rehearsal time), your usual classroom schedule can go well and truly out the window if you don’t help to keep the teacher's plans on track.
You can really help to keep the whole class calm by using all the skills you’ve learned throughout your time as a TA, like getting the children to line up calmly and quietly before heading out to a special assembly; this helps keep a lid on the Christmas craziness!
Make sure you run through any special classroom events for the week ahead with the classroom teacher, so you can both plan how you will support each other and keep order in the classroom during all the festive fun.
December often brings a whole host of weather conditions and from time to time it will be too cold, wet or windy to send the students outside for lunch and break time. You’ll need to have a few activities up your sleeve to keep the little angels busy (otherwise they’ll want to make their own fun and you don’t
Prepare some fun and engaging activities you can whip out if the weather takes a turn for the worse. You can keep things fun and educational by creating some brain teaser games, maths quizzes and story writing competitions based around a Christmas theme. (It’s amazing what your class are willing to learn when you have a picture of Father Christmas and his reindeer on the page!)
Note – these days every classroom has a wonderful mix of children from all walks of life, so be mindful of any pupils who do not celebrate Christmas and prepare some activities for them to join in a way that will make them feel comfortable and included.
The Christmas spirit gets us all eventually so every now and then, don’t fight the fun and just go with it! The students are obviously excited, and you must be too at the thought of all of that lovely time off, it’s one of the perks of a being a teaching assistant
Christmas is a magical time of year for the little ones and you get to enjoy that special time with them, so every now and then, why not indulge in a little winter fun with them. Perhaps you could plan a PJ day and make everyone a hot chocolate while you watch a fun Christmas film, read them a Christmas story or put on your favourite Christmas songs and have a break time boogie! There are plenty of ways to enjoy the magic of Christmas without things getting too crazy. Plus, it’s a great way for you to relax and have fun too!
December means that the classroom will start to look like the Art Attack set and there will be glitter, PVA glue, coloured card and stationary everywhere!
It’s time to get crafty with the kids while still being able to help them with the important things they’ll need to learn as part of the curriculum. Why not try activities like writing a letter to Santa in their English lessons, or just simply have a little fun and let them make mum and dad a beautiful Christmas card.
Whatever comes your way this month, try and keep in mind how lucky you are to be in such a rewarding career that you love. How many people can say they spent an afternoon at work baking Christmas cookies or colouring in with 20 of your favourite people in your pyjamas?!
There aren’t many jobs out there as amazing as yours so even though things can get a little hectic this time of year, involve yourself in some of the fun and remember that a lovely relaxing break is on the way!
If you are interested in finding out more about this fulfilling career, read this next!
5 reasons people work in the classroom…and why you should too!