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As the year winds down and we find ourselves, like our students, starting to cross out the days on the calendar, I have always found this moment, half-way through the academic year, a critical time for reflection. As my learners walk up to me gleefully and remind me that their assessments are ending and the Christmas party is just days away and my faculty is trying their best to figure out whose Secret Santa I am, I force myself to think about all the things I need to ensure happens as the semester winds down.


It is my responsibility that the learners and members of faculty to whom I am responsible, receive feedback from me. They need to know what’s worked well and what needs more work. I need to ensure we are all on the same page from Day 1 of the new semester ( I also need to hear from them all. I need to make sure they have all the support they need as they make their way through the academic year and, in case they haven’t had everything they needed, make sure they have strategies to help them overcome any gaps that might have appeared.

Leave the mess behind

I’ve always tried to ensure that I am able to move on as much as is possible at this time of the year. Ring in the New Year and find new problems to panic over. The mess, literal and proverbial, should remain in the past. I always tried to make sure my classroom was as clean as it could be so that the same sort of space would welcome me back when I returned on the 1st day of school. I also remind myself that along with the usual resolutions to lose weight and exercise more, I must ensure that I leave the past where it belongs - in the past.

Focus on my Family

Teachers’ families are quite used to dining tables being used to grade papers, finding their teacher-parent/spouse building resources for the classroom all night long and finding glitter and glue in the strangest of places. They are also used to finding the nicest snacks disappear only to hear that they were distributed in the staff room. They are used to having Mom/Dad/Spouse/Son/Daughter/etc. MIA through the entire term. While all I want to do is sleep and be waited upon, I have to remind myself that my family’s been waiting for me to be available to them. It is exhausting but it is crucial.

Focus on myself

the holidays are the only time that teachers can become selfish and pretend, at least for a little while, that their time is their own. I use the time to read even more (about to finish this and about to start, listen to my podcasts (latest favourite:, maybe even watch some of the million TV shows and films I have added to my watch-lists (latest obsession: and the big one: and, of course, my favourite, Travel.

Remind myself that it’s all worth it

As we get ready to think about graduating classes (my oldest learners won’t graduate for another 2 years but those from previous schools are starting those journeys), about newer teachers and learners who are about to join the school and, of course, about the excitement of the rest of the academic year. It’s always been something that has excited me, teaching, and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. As I think back to the learning, the success and the possible impact, I recall all the reasons I stayed. And how it has always been worthwhile. I hope you all have a great break and return to your schools rejuvenated, a little rested and reinvigorated as the New Year brings with remarkable promise. I wish you and your families a festive season and a super year ahead!

Mr. Arjun Rao - Principal
JBCN International School, Oshiwara