Don’t tell anyone, but at the bottom of my closet in my classroom are a Christmas tree and a Santa Claus. Yep. I remember years ago when I first started teaching, many teachers would decorate their classrooms for Christmas. Yes, I said Christmas, because back then we were allowed to say that word in school. (I’m not going to say how many years ago that was, because basically I’m in denial about my age.) I’m not throwing these items away, because I’m hoping that one day, I can bring out the decorations that mean so much to the little girls and boys who go INSANE around this time of year.
Back in the days when I was teaching fifth grade (at that age you laughed with them, instead of at them) I had a gorgeous miniature Christmas tree in the room. The tree was decorated by a very creative parent who made handmade decorations and graciously let us put them on our tree. We also had a very cool menorah that blinked off and on, also donated by another thoughtful parent. We sang songs from all over the world, had wonderful discussions about family traditions, and just basically basked in the excitement that only comes around that time of year. Yes, we talked about Hanukkah, and other celebrations that occurred in the many various families that were represented in our classes. We did this in a friendly, thoughtful and caring way, through discussions that came up in our rooms. They weren’t directed by any policies, mandates, or outlined in any directive by the school district. They happened naturally and beautifully.
These days the children are just as excited as they were then. They come in practically shaking with excitement, beginning right after Thanksgiving, and they stay in a somewhat controlled state of excitement until we practically throw them out the door on December 23rd, after our winter sing-a-long. (Another controversial subject, but that’s another column.) Now, as I sit here humming Christmas carols and look upon the tubs and tubs of decorations at my house that still need to be put up, I find myself getting very, very excited for the holidays! I know my cards will be late, someone will be mad that they didn’t get what they asked for, I’ll forget a gift for someone at school, and I’ll also forget where I hid some presents. (tis the season) However, I did manage to whip up a little poem for the parents and public at large for this month’s column. Enjoy!
Twas the night before vacation, and all through the school,
The teachers were weary, while kids broke all the rules…
They were very excited, for Santa was coming!
They couldn’t sit still, and were often found running.
Their eyes were aglow with anticipation,
while teachers had dreams of a LONG winter vacation.
The children were snug in their classrooms with care
In hopes that the principal wouldn’t see the chaos there
It’s hard to control a present happy crowd
That won’t stop singing carols, often and loud!
The kids talked of their trees, and their own celebrations
But the teachers were busy with holiday creations.
What could they possibly make for the kids’ moms and dads,
That would make it home in one piece in brown paper bags?
We’ve tried making houses of graham crackers and icing,
But after the long bus ride home they don’t look too enticing.
The marshmallows melt when we glue them together,
The licorice we use ends up tasting like leather!
We’ve tried gluing, and stapling many things into art
But one way or another it ends up coming apart.
So this year we’re thinking of having the kids,
do something quite cool that once all people did.
Treat their neighbors with kindness, love and respect,
Be nice to your brother, it’s not what they’ll expect!
Have love in your heart for all creatures you see,
Their parents will love it, don’t you agree?
To remind them that giving is much better done,
Than receiving a gift, it’s just much more fun!
Then we all will be Santa, in heart and in soul
And Christmas will be here, and not just at the North Pole.
And so to all the parents, children, community members and exhausted Santa’s helpers, I wish you a Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and a very Merry Christmas!
This was a piece I wrote in 2009. Too exhausted to write this morning!!! I'm heading to school to hug the kids (AGAIN), fill them with candy and wind them up before I send them to parents to have a magical Christmas!!!