Saturday 8 December 2007

Jingle Bells

Most years I am the grumpiest of teachers when it comes to Christmas. Usually, Christmas in my classroom starts two days before we break up, whilst other teachers have been showing bits of films (that the kids never see the ends of) for a week or two already. But I know that the kids get bored with endless DVDs and "free lessons", and as for the LSAs that accompany certain kids from lesson to lesson... they develop a hollow-eyed stare of desperation when they enter the room, nervously looking towards the TV or screen to check that you haven't got "Shrek" paused and ready to play because they've seen it already that day, and the kids are on the edge of boredom and hyperactivity.

But this year, with the Christmas concert rehearsals in full swing, most of my classes are only half full. And now there are fewer than three weeks of school to go, those parents whose experience of this time of year is endless DVDs filling up their children's days often decide that now is the time to take the whole family to visit relatives or grab a cheap holiday to see the red coats of Butlins or the Red Sea in Egypt.

So I've had to anticipate half full hyperactive classes arriving, who are fully expecting a "free lesson"... and in a way I'm giving it to them. I haven't started dishing out chocolates yet because that is the signal that the end of term is imminent, but we have been cutting out snowflakes to decorate written work and posters, and having the kind of one-off lessons that mean no real marking for me, and also mean that nobody who isn't there misses out on important curriculum-based stuff. I've also been playing Christmas music and am experiencing the "Santa-baby" edge-of-psychosis that shop assistants everywhere must be feeling by now.

But it does mean I've still got ten school days to fill with seasonally-inspired lessons, as I've already started to use my Christmas resources with each year group, and these will run out pretty soon. It could well be that I'm rummaging around in my DVD collection before the end of next week...

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