Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Now showing

My co-teacher and I hosted a Polar Express day today.  We have half days today through Friday.  The kids have been struggling to stay focused since we returned from Thanksgiving break.  It's such a hard time of year to keep them engaged.  Family gatherings, Christmas parties, staying up late to watch movies or look at lights or decorate or visit with friends or...  you name it!  Parents get much more lax in their routines.  It shows in the classroom BIG time!

So, back to today... I gave a big unit summation quiz yesterday.  We are now officially done studying Colonial America.  So, I figured we could do some fun things for the next three half days.  Friday is class party day, so that's taken care of.  Tomorrow I'm having the kids do a few projects they can take home as a gift for their parents.  I heard some buzz about other classes (2nd grade and then 1st grade) doing a Polar Express day.  The kids wear jammies to school and drink hot cocoa while watching the movie.  Hmmm....  sounds good!

So, I printed tickets and we made our plan.

Only problem for me (personally) is that I really don't care for Polar Express too much.

I swept those personal feelings about the book/movie under the rug because everyone else was showing it and getting in the spirit.

But, I have to admit that today it bothered me.  First, I read the students the book and then we watched the movie.  I even bought jingle bells to give one to each kid (because I remember that's what another teacher did and it goes with the theme).

But, here's my conundrum, I don't know how I feel about the message of the book.  I mean, I am the person who wrote about why we told our kids the truth about Christmas at a young age. I'm also the person who has had hard conversations with close friends challenging them when they say things like "I saw him once" or "I still believe" to a child.  I mean, what does that mean?  "I still believe."  Still believe in what?!  You do NOT believe there is a man living at the North Pole who gives gifts to nice kids and not to naughty ones.  If you say that, you must NOT teach school because you will certainly discover those very naughty kids got gifts and Santa must be off his rocker!

But, this piece of our culture is so tricky.  I'm absolutely NOT in favor of banishing all things Santa or protesting his existence.  I just think there must be some balance somewhere.

Maybe I struggle with this topic because my children are still in a concrete thinking phase.  They take their teachers at their word.  They believe them.  So, when my children ask me "is he real" and I answer honestly and then they hear their teacher say things like "He's real if you believe", they are totally confused!  Did I just feed that monster today as a teacher?  I think I did.

Ugh.

This post has absolutely no answers.  It's just my rambling about the quagmire in which I found myself today.  It stinks to be reading your class a book while in the back of your mind you are questioning whether or not you made a big mistake.

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