Thursday, December 16, 2021

12 Days AFTER Christmas

By Vicki Bechard 

We all know the song, 12 Days of Christmas and have probably sung it many times.  I’m pretty sure I’d love 5 golden rings, but I have no need for a partridge in a pear tree!  I remember teaching PE in my first job and the band director would send his sections to various parts of the school during first hour (my plan time) to practice prior to their competitions.  The drum section always came to the gym.  So while I see the need for drummers in a band (and I did play in the band in high school), that experience reminds me 12 drummers can be far too many!

I also remember a great tradition that we had at my last school where we did the 12 Days of Christmas Feast and brought food to share in the Teacher’s Lounge for 12 days prior to the Winter Break.  Oh my, it really should have been the 12 pounds gained before Christmas! J

But I digress….  What I’d really like to talk about are the 12 Days AFTER Christmas (winter break) and what that might look like.  We all know by the squirrely kids, shortened days, and looming finals that this semester is almost over.  All we want to do is relax a little and look forward to what Santa and the New Year brings us!  We might not want to focus on resolutions because we know they rarely are fulfilled.  So let’s talk about things we’d like to have happen, wishes, if you will. 

There is optimism in focusing on wants or wishes, and hope is instilled when we look forward.  While I won’t submit this list as song lyrics, I think we might be able to agree that many of these are on our wish list every day.  These wishes might be considered aspirations, the honest truth, or reminders that each of you does make a difference every day.  In any event, I present to you:


1:      Meaningful Collaboration upon your return

2:      Students back in the classroom eager to learn

3:      Masks worn willingly to keep Covid at bay

4:      Kindness and respect on display every day

5:      Leaders who guide during good and tough times

6:      Teachers who challenge and nurture young minds

7:      Snow falling steadily during the night

8:      A “No school” call before the first light

9:      Seeing the spark in a student’s eye

10:    Colleagues to share a laugh or good cry

11:    All assignments turned in when they are due

12:    A pat on the back for all that you do


I think it is important to think about what we want life to look like and along with that, forward thinking.  We get so caught up in how tired or frustrated we are that we forget we are in the greatest profession on earth where we can touch lives and shape the world every single day. What is it that will make your job easier?  More rewarding?  More meaningful?

It is ironic, and somewhat symbolic, that as the semester ends it coincides with the shortest days of the year – where darkness swallows up each day.  With the many challenges and changes educators have faced the last 2 years, it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But I am confident that after a couple of weeks away, you’ll be looking at the New Year with new eyes as the daylight grows longer and the darkness begins to recede.  As you reflect forward into 2022, what does that look like?

What are your wishes?  Your needs?  Is accreditation in your view?  Do you or your staff understand the process of change and how that understanding can contribute to the success (or not) of goal implementation?  Are you (or your staff) continuous learners?  What challenges await you?  How do you tackle all that is on your plate? 

Let us know how we can help you turn those wishes into actions.   Our role at Learning Forward Kansas is to support your school or you as an educator with professional learning so that you can experience excellent teaching, learning, and leading every day.  Isn’t excellence something you would love to have for your building, your classroom, and your students?  Let’s make it happen in the New Year! 

 Happy Holidays from your colleagues at Learning Forward Kansas!