Home for the Holidays

Congratulations my fellow educators we’ve almost made it through half of the 2014-15 school year. Months of lesson planning, grading, assessing and forming connections with our students, have come down to a few more days of final exams. Next week we’ll be home enjoying a much deserved break with our family and friends. But first comes the tricky part, surviving these last few days.

At the secondary level final exams can be stressful for students and staff. At other grade levels students are getting giddy for the holiday season and the excitement that surrounds the next few weeks. Classroom parties and shortened days may bring out the crazy in your students. By the end of the week there may be nothing you’d like more than to wave goodbye for a solid two weeks to your students.  What you may not realize is that not all of your students are excited about the upcoming break. Not all students are acting up because they can’t wait to be on vacation. If you look closely enough you may find that a few students are actually reluctant to head home for the holidays.

Students are do a wonderful job of covering up what is going on under the surface. The act tough or are easily distracted which can make it seem like they are done with school. We may take that to mean they are ready to be home for break, however that is not always the case. Many students will act out for the exact opposite reason, they don’t want to be home for the holidays.

There are many reasons why a student would be nervous about spending two weeks at home. For some students perhaps their house isn’t a safe place. Parents or family members can be abusive or neglectful, either physically or emotionally. For other students a break from schools means going home to an empty house for two weeks. Parents may work multiple jobs and not be around to supervise or provide companionship. For other students in financial need, the holidays can magnify the discrepancies between the haves and have nots. While friends are receiving gifts and going on day trips, these students are worry about whether or not mom and dad are losing their home. For students who have experienced the death of a loved one, the holidays can be a painful reminder of happier times.

None of these presenting issues are overt or clearly identified on paper, but they come bubbling up to the surface during the holiday season. So this holiday season, as you are preparing to head home for the holidays and that one student is really pushing your buttons, understand that it might not be what you think. That child may really need a little extra attention, a warm smile or a kind word. You never know what kind of home they are going home to for the holidays.

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