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Preparing for Christmas break

Christmas is a time for relaxation and contemplation of the year ahead. It's also a time for end of term DVDs, parties and music in the classroom. These tips highlight the need to have a strategy in place for coping with the end of term. Yule be glad you did...

Be festive but be in control

Pupils will place pressure on you to decorate your classroom, bring in DVDs and work less: you'll be lost to tinsel and baubles and classroom discipline will slip. It's important to keep pupils working, easing off in the last few days. It's up to you how far you're prepared to let your dignity go with your flashing earrings or Santa hat.

Teach a festive lesson

End of term festive assembly can be difficult. Pupils are restless as they feel the freedom they are about to get from school and can't wait to take to the shops. It's a time, no matter what age they are, to think about others and all the qualities Christmas is about. Try to develop their caring and sharing side rather than what they expect from Santa.

Try some feng shui for the brain

End of term is a time to finish things up, get lessons and projects wound up and look to the new start that a new year brings. It's a way of using feng shui for the brain. Cleaning up the classroom, finishing off worksheets and clearing up all make you feel better organised and ready for the new term.

Christmas isn't a time for marking

At the end of term teachers can be found packing unfinished work and staggering to their cars, using their holiday to catch up. The reality is that work will remain in the boot as the festive spirit takes hold. This is a time for self, family and friends not marking and worksheets. Take a break, recharge and don't feel guilty: all teachers do this.

Beware children bearing gifts

Pupils will sometimes give you presents. You may have concerns about where these have come from and whether you should give one back. Bringing in sweets or biscuits (checking for dietary difficulties) for the class means you don't have to give individual gifts, which is not a good idea. Many schools have policies about accepting presents so please check the protocol.

Deck the halls - but remember the janitors!

Pupils may ask to play music at the end of term. If you have an aversion to Slade, leave this until the last couple of days. They may also want to decorate your classroom but are unwilling when it comes to clearing the room up of tiny bits of paper and spare cuttings. Keep in with the cleaners and the janitors by preventing this and making the deal include tidying up after themselves.