Merry Homestay Christmas
Hosting and teaching over the Christmas period is not for everyone. For many, this is a time to take a break from work and relax with close friends and family.
But for some teachers, welcoming a student into your home at this time adds a new depth to the celebrations and is an opportunity to share and reflect on what Christmas means, both within your own household, and on a wider cultural level.
Students wishing to do homestay over this period tend to be just as interested in the whole cultural experience as improving their language skills.
And they will want to be involved in all things Christmasy: baking, cooking and decorating the Christmas tree; singing carols; sipping mulled wine and eating mince pies; going through the Radio Times with a highlighter; and watching traditional Christmas repeats on telly.
In terms of teaching, there’s a wealth of online materials on the theme of Christmas. It’s always important to think about cultural and religious sensitivities and not to push the theme too much if students appear uncomfortable. Christmas is a time for sharing, so ask the student to share/ present a traditional custom from their own country even if it is set at a different time of year.
If you have relatives and or friends visiting, they’re an excellent authentic English speaking source for your student. Have students prepare questionnaire/interview questions to ask that person about their thoughts/feelings about the festivities. If you have friends or relatives from other parts of the world this would be a perfect opportunity for sharing knowledge as well as gifts.
And most importantly, give yourself time to relax and enjoy the festivities as well.