5 Top Teacher Approved Tips to Beat the January Blues

After all the holiday excitement dies down, teachers return to school in January-a dark, cold, and what feels like an oh-so-long month!

While it can be cumbersome and unmotivating for many, why not embrace the new year by putting some pep in your step and shaking up your teacher life with some new teaching tips and tricks? You’ll feel better about coming back to school, and so will your students.

Here are five no-fail ways to beat the January blues!

Happy Teacher - January Classroom Themes

1. Host a Theme Month

Whether it’s a wellness, health, and body challenge (because who is not working off those holiday treats?), a focus on self-care or a month of kindness; consider following a theme in January. These short, 30 day challenges are a fun little extra that will help your students want to come to school and will make them feel better about themselves in some way, contributing to their overall wellbeing. Each day, offer a short activity or brain breaks that centers around your chosen theme and end the month with a celebration! Don’t forget to take pictures and share them with parents and your school community to inspire others to get involved and do something extra at home and with their own students.


2. Implement “Fun Friday”

Since the days and weeks feel long post holiday, give your students something fun to look forward to each Friday. Whether you bring in a treat, host a mystery speaker, schedule an assembly, or bundle up and get outdoors for a winter activity, one thing’s for sure-you’ll give your students something to look forward to at the end of each week, and you’ll ensure that attendance stays strong, when it can sometimes decline towards the end of the work week. 


3. Amp Up Your Professional Development

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but just haven’t found the time (or motivation) to do it? This year is your year to be the best teacher you can be! How exciting would it be to show your students something new with technology like a podcast? What about incorporating a different language into your social studies unit, or teaching them how to sign at language arts centers? Maybe you want to enhance the way you set up your lesson plan. When you amp up your professional development game, everyone wins! Plus, you can find many free courses for educators that also give you credit toward your continuing education requirements. Start searching for your academic game changer and add more excitement to your teacher life!


4. Build New Relationships

Teachers often learn best from other teachers. This January, beat the back to school blues by making some new connections with colleagues. Branch out and sit with a new grade teacher in the break room or invite some co-workers out for dinner after work to share strategies. You can even start up a walking club after school or a Thursday night book group, where you can not just unwind and talk about school, but also get to know who you work with on a social level. Many schools participate in painting workshops or group fitness events and receive awesome discounts. Keep busy and stay moving so you feel motivated and merry, despite the cool days and dark nights. 


5. Redecorate

Look around your classroom. When was the last time you purchased something new for your classroom decor? Whether you change your color scheme or simply a pair of curtains, your space can be given a major or minor makeover to mix things up a bit. Not into buying anything? Consider rearranging your room to enhance your classroom management, going from rows to groups, or vice versa for the remainder of the school year. Set up an inspiring math center or cozy reading corner. These little updates will not go unnoticed and your students will enjoy and appreciate the facelift (as will you)!


January can be long and cumbersome, but it doesn’t have to be. Beat the back to school blues with these five simple tips and tricks for new teachers or seasoned elementary or high school teachers, that will contribute to the overall excitement and well being of your students, and also your school community at large.


About the author

Heather Aulisio


About Heather

Heather Aulisio (B.S., M.S. Ed.) is a 5th grade math and science teacher. She has been teaching in a public school setting for 19 years. Heather has previously taught third… Read more

loading gif