Re-Starting After Winter Break

3 Ways to Re-Start after the Break

The winter break is perfectly timed to provide some much needed rest all teachers need after that long, grueling, and dark stretch we endure starting just after Thanksgiving. Honestly, the zest of that brand new school year is often lost by mid-November and the Holiday Break comes at the perfect time to break up the year. Although we are almost halfway through the year, holiday festivities and New Year’s Celebrations are a great way to re-imagine the start of a whole new school year. The way that the first school week of January feels is identical to the first week back to school. Some students may not be so eager to get back into the groove, but all come with the idea that we are kind of starting fresh. There are a few things that every teacher should do when re-starting after winter break.

Those first few days of re-starting after winter break are ripe with opportunity to set straight some aspects of your classroom program that may have went astray in the weeks (or months!) leading up to winter break. It’s important to establish the tone you want to see in your class. Reminders about particular rules while reminding students that everyone is coming into the New Year with a fresh start is a solid way to foster the environment you want to see while giving your students the opportunity to see themselves in an optimistic light.

Don’t be so quick to dive right back into curriculum, especially on that first day. Yes, it is not exactly the first day of school and two weeks of winter break is a lot different than two months of summer break. But, if you’re not going to take some time on this first day back to talk to your students, then what day are you going to do that? Re-starting after winter break should include a little bit of candid conversation. Ask your students to share some stories about their break; don’t be afraid to talk as a class for a bit. Start to work on that classroom synergy again.

Lastly, this is a great time to allow students to set some goals for the remainder of the year. A New Year’s Resolution handout or goal-setting sheet works in a two-fold manner. Firstly, it gets students in a positive frame of mind and thinking about what they want to accomplish for the remainder of the school year, which will inevitably help them become “better students”. Secondly, it knocks the dust off of their brains, hands, and bodies and gets them back in the habit of sitting down and working on something in a classroom.

The first day and week back after any extended break always fly by. So make sure to include a few of these suggestions into your program, as you yourself get back into your teaching routine. By using a few of these ideas, hopefully you will have a happy new year!


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Matthew R. Morris

Educator, Speaker, Writer

Matthew R. Morris is a writer, speaker, and elementary educator in Toronto. He has an M.A. in Social Justice Education from OISE at the University of Toronto and is the author of the forthcoming book, Black Boys Like Me. 

Matthew R. Morris

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