Oh Frabjous Day ! Callooh! Callay!

Jasmin Choudhury

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

It’s here! It’s finally here! The last week of that very long Autumn term is finally here! September seems miles away.

Despite being tired, exhausted and nearly keeling over – you- my friend have finally made it! Oh, frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! We are chortling with joy and er… hysteria.

The school Christmas shows are usually over by now and have been hugely successful! The kids always pull it off -despite the fact you have been so worried about their performance that all your nails have been chewed off in the process! Furthermore, you have lost your voice after telling them to practice over and over again!

Suddenly, everyone is beaming with joy and the thought of planning Christmas parties and letting your guard down in the last week with your pupils is hugely appealing. 

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They get to know you in a different way and they finally realise, ahem, Mr or Ms So and So is actually funny and can …er… actually, smile! If you are a primary school teacher, you are also touched and overwhelmed with the generosity of many of the parents and carers who have taken time to buy Christmas presents for you.

Assessment deadlines and pupil progress reviews have been dealt with and now it is senior and middle leaders’ turns to analyse, evaluate and create reports for governors and school improvement partners!
You may have still had test papers and books mark – but try to get them done before the final Friday or the last day of term.

There is nothing worse than coming back from the holidays, especially after Christmas when it is cold and dark, and there are books and test papers to mark. Moreover, the two weeks after the Christmas holidays - for some reason, are really exhausting. All that Christmas and Hogmanay cheer and festivity take its toll no matter what New Year’s resolutions we come up with!

Playing games and watching a great movie with them are some of the nicest things you can do as a teacher.

If you are an NQT or new to teaching in the UK, get your classroom tidy by the penultimate day. Don’t leave it till Friday as you want to leave as soon as possible. The hols need to start!

Have some bin bags and recycling sacks ready, clear your cupboards and desk and get the children to clear their trays too. You will be surprised at how much rubbish has accumulated over the last few months.

Just like being September ready – aim to be January and Spring term ready. The Spring term is very short and before you know it – Easter holidays, May and June, the months of exams and tests creep up.
If you are not prepared properly, you will face a backlog of things to do that are somehow endless. It can affect your teaching and learning as well as your mental well-being. Even the most seasoned teachers can crack.

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The new year and Spring term starts with a bang! A sense of seriousness and efficiency pervades the school! There is no time for complacency- targets need to be met regardless of where children have come from and who you are! By the Spring half term, you will have been teaching your pupils for six months- and progress has to be made. Scary but achievable if planned carefully and thoroughly!

So try to get your planning for the first two weeks (at least) of 2019 done. You might be exhausted but that final push will ensure you have a great holiday. Otherwise, you will stress and fret the weekend before you are due to come back. We all know that sickening feeling.

Sometimes, it is hard especially if you are part of a team as some people plan and work differently. However, try to do your bit. The best teachers are prepared and organized as the pressures of teaching can be ongoing and overwhelming.

Enjoy the Christmas party with the children. Be prepared to be silly yet still appropriate and most of all- have fun with them. Children love it and as I said before, will see you in a different light.

Have a good time at the staff Christmas do if you are attending. It still puzzles me that most teaching and support staff have to pay for their own Christmas party, unlike other organizations and workforces. Bah humbug – at least we get the holidays!

If you are a senior leader – get the data done, the action plans reviewed and INSET day planned. Clear your desk and office too and file those papers that you keep meaning to do! There is socialising to be done!! School socials are a must if you are a senior leader, whether you like them or not!

In the last two days, make time to greet people personally and find out what they are doing over the Christmas break and wish them a happy holiday – even down to the cleaner. It may seem patronizing but as senior leaders, you can get caught up with things and forget you are in charge of your own “class of people”.

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In large schools and especially if you are new, it is hard to learn and recall names of all the staff. However, try to learn the names of your staff and offer genuine praise as it helps smooth the lonely wheels of leadership and above all, makes people feel valued.

Avoid thinking a round robin email wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and happy New Year is enough. Even though the words might be short and the chat may be brief, it goes a very long way. The personal touch is essential for all successful leadership!

Learn from the past, try to enjoy and be positive about the present and look forward to the future!

Finally, here’s to you and Auld Lang Syne! Life is too short and too precious - so make every moment worthwhile!

Have a wonderful Christmas, and a very happy, happy holiday! I sincerely wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2019! Joyeuses fêtes, Frohes Fest, Felices fiestas, Buone Feste, Felizes Festas, Fijne feestdagen, Sărbători fericite, Wesołych Świąt, Glad helg, Hezké svátky, Spanish. ¡ Felices Fiestas! 节日快乐 (Jie Ri Kaui Le)! Laethanta saoire sona! 幸せな休日 (Shiawasena kyūjitsu), Boas Festas! Li holide eximnandi! Forhe Feiertage! Selamat Hari Raya!

As for me, I am about to get seriously festive and order the goose for Christmas and watch “A Christmas Carol” for the millionth time! Happy days!



About our Community Expert


Jasmin Choudhury
Community Expert

Jasmin has extensive experience of working in a variety of settings which have included being recruited to work schools in special measures and concern as well as outstanding.

Jasmin has been qualified as a teacher for over 20 years and has been a Deputy Head, working mainly in some of the most deprived and challenging schools in the UK.

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