12 Ways to Make Your Winter Break More Productive
After months of teaching, for many instructors, the temptation is to spend winter break relaxing and not doing much of anything. After a day or two of low productivity, however, you may find yourself wishing you had something to do to make the most of your free time and get a head start on the nest year’s curriculum. Winter break offers an opportunity to recharge and gear up for teaching in the coming months, and accomplish those things you previously may not have had time for.
The following are twelve ways to make your winter break more productive:
- Reorganize: Winter break is the perfect time to take stock of your classroom, both in terms of physical objects and concepts taught. Determine what has worked for you and your students, and get rid of anything that has detracted from the objectives of your class.
- Reflect: Use your down time to take an honest look at how your fall semester. Ask yourself if you met your goals as an instructor, and if not, identify what you need to do to improve in the next semester.
- Communicate: Winter break is a chance for you to reach out to students who may need additional guidance after completing your course. Send any needed emails or phone calls to tie up any loose ends. Also consider emailing your incoming class with an introduction and some highlights for what your students can expect in the following months.
- Grade: Spend a few weeks reviewing your students’ final exams and papers and calculate grades for the semester. The extra time offers you a chance to thoroughly review your students’ efforts.
- Search for a position: If, after reviewing your previous semester and you find that you are not happy at your current instructor position, spend winter break looking for a teaching job that better meets your needs. Polish your resume and start scheduling interviews.
- Check off to-dos from your list: Winter break is the perfect time to get to the tasks that have been procrastinated while you’ve been busy working. These tasks may involve grading or emailing students, or may include personal tasks that you simply haven’t had time for while teaching.
- Catch up: If you’re feeling behind in planning your next semester, winter break offers a chance to get caught up away from school. When you return to your classroom you will be ready to move forward with the new semester.
- Get ahead. If you’re lucky enough to be caught up with grades and planning, winter break is a great time to get ahead and brainstorm additional topics you may cover in your class. Having a head start can make returning to teaching after the break a little less overwhelming.
- Make your resolutions for the New Year: The year’s end is the time for reflecting on the past year and identifying what you did well and what you could do better. Identifying what you could do better in your classroom can help you make resolutions and a plan for how you will keep those resolutions in the coming year.
- Make appointments: It is difficult to take time out of teaching to visit the doctor, dentist, or mechanic, so use your time away from school to make these appointments.
- Start your taxes. The sooner you file your taxes, the sooner you receive your refund. Chances are that you will not have enough time to work on your taxes after your course begins. While you may not have all the necessary documents, you can begin sorting your receipts and meeting with an accountant to ensure you can file your taxes as soon as possible.
- Spend time with your loved ones. Remember, winter break should still be a break. Above all else, the down time should be used to connect with those people who are special to you. Enjoy your tie together before life gets busy again.
These twelve things, if done during the winter break, can make your coming year your best and most productive year yet.