How does the Christmas/New Year holiday work for freelance English teachers?

Eagled-eyed, dedicated readers of this blog will notice that this is my first post in quite a while, owing entirely to my recent flat search. It’s no understatement to say ’24/7′ flat search as my waking hours have been spent surfing property websites, sending millions of emails and limping to viewings. I’ve broken my ‘making a phone call in German’ duck, which may not sound like much but remember that letting agents are not the most forgiving of people and my German skills ‘could be improved’ (my euphemism). Even my sleeping hours have been pitching in. My dreams of late have included fantasy interpretations of life in one flat in Schoneberg complete with big sofa, cider and Playstation, contrasted with a nightmare about a rental deal falling through at the 11th hour leaving us cold, hungry and homeless. With so much of my blood, sweat and tears being poured into the indomitable hunt and my opinion of Berlin (at least property related) sinking fast, Christmas/New Year has arrived to give a respite from the toil.

Christmas classes

Before you go running off on your holidays, spare a thought for your students. Christmas (or any other celebration-themed class) is very much a matter of personal taste both for you and for your students. However, if you decide to go ahead, Christmas vocabulary classes are always popular, along with conversation classes to focus on the differences between Germany and your own country. For example, giving presents in the UK takes place on the 25th whilst in Germany this happens on the 24th. You can design your own class to suit your students, or have a look at some of these websites.

ESL Flow lesson plans 

ITESLJ Conversation questions

Breaking news English

Beware: a lot of internet resources are (perhaps understandably) targeted at children and may not be suitable for a stern-faced company director or financial analyst.

What to do in Berlin?

Christmas markets! Germany is the home of the venerable Christmas market and Berlin has over 80 covering a range of tastes from Scandinavian (Prenzlauer Berg) to Hipster (Neue Heimat). You can expect lots of traditional food and drink as well as gifts. Prices are much higher in the city centre markets like at Alexanderplatz.

Glühwein (Mulled wine)! Insanely popular and intimately linked with Christmas for many people. I personally can’t stand it (too sweet), but I’m clearly in the minority.

Fairground at Alexanderplatz! Traditional fairground with standard rides. Big wheel with nice views, although this year things got a bit too toasty.

How much holiday can I enjoy?

Right, so the fun and games are over and it’s time to head back to spend Christmas with the family. How long can you go back for? As a freelancer, you can technically take as much as you want. Many of your students will cancel their classes during this period and so, a 2 week break may be unavoidable. If you want to take the time off, you should let your schools know as early as possible as many of you colleagues will also be taking off time and cover for any uncancelled classes will have to be organised.

Merry belated Christmas and happy new year!

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