C is for celebrate. As your students present their final activities, presentations, or projects, plan a short time of celebration. Your students have worked hard, and they have learned much this semester and so have you. Reserve a few minutes at the end of the semester and ask your students to reflect on some of the lessons, topics, and assignments that they completed since August. Celebrate how much they have accomplished.
H is for hope. You were not their first English teacher, and you are not their last English teacher. Your students will continue to learn English from other teachers in other classrooms. Take the pressure off yourself; they don’t need to speak and write perfectly at the end of your class. You have brought them so far; they will continue. You can support them with encouragement and hope for their future.
R is for review. Langauge learners need constant and varied review. Always. Review vocabulary, review grammar points, review writing tips, review key words, review APA documentation. Use the final few weeks of a term to review and notice how much your students retain.
I is for input. Provide positive, academic input for your students as much as you can. Teach them about the many ways that people around the world celebrate during December. Teach them about St. Nicholas Day, St. Lucia’s Day, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Three Kings Day, the Lunar New Year, and Epiphany. This input makes us more aware and empathetic of cultures and traditions.
S is for songs. Music fills the holiday season. Some songs are religious, while others are secular. Attend a concert at the elementary school to enjoy the festive spirit. Ask your students to bring their favorite (or least favorite) holiday melodies to share with the class. Songs are wonderful language learning tools.
T is for truth. As you think about the past year, be honest with yourself. What do you need to change or update in your lessons? What activities worked extremely well that you want to remember in 2024? Consider your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher realistically so that you can improve moving forward.
M is for mastery. As teachers, we hone our pedagogical skills each year. Learn what works best for your students. Find something that you do well and challenge yourself to become better. Reach a point where you have mastered skills like leading a discussion, presenting pronunciation, or teaching past perfect verbs. Master your best skill.
A is for advocate. Many times, our English language learners are afraid to stand up for themselves. They don’t have the language confidence to ask questions, to walk to an administration office, for fear that they won’t have the words to express their concerns. Be an advocate for them, both within your school and within their worlds outside of school.
S is for stop. Just stop. Rest. Take care of your mental health. Thank heaven for a few weeks of rest in the winter to take naps, read books, and enjoy time with friends and family. We are not good teachers if we teach 365 days of the year. Stop teaching. You will become a better teacher because you will return to the classroom rested and refreshed.
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