Every year that I have taught, my entire classroom celebrated Christmas. It’s one of the first things that I ask students and parents. Not specifically whether or not they celebrate my favorite holiday, but what cultural traditions and activities do they like to acknowledge. So, I try to incorporate and acknowledge important traditions into lesson plans throughout the year. I have learned a great deal from doing this and my students have typically been open to learning about other cultures.
Well, this year, the year that I have had my faith tested. The year that almost drove me into isolation. The year that I swore that I hated humankind. Which, I really don’t. I’m just overly dramatic at times. I have a single student that does not celebrate a holiday that I look forward to all year. Listening to Christmas songs is a year round thing for me. If you walk into my home at any time during the year, you will see hints of Christmas decor sprinkled throughout. That could be laziness, but seeing those decorations make me feel happy.
I pulled out my Christmas decor last week from my class closet. Looked through the three boxes and marveled at the beauty of the decorations. I examined the items with tags that I purchased after Christmas last year during every stores 90% off sale. See, I was already making plans for this year’s Christmas.
I put the boxes in my office not knowing what to do this year. My previous students have always been super excited for Christmas. To be honest, your girl knows how to celebrate a holiday. So, my current students have figured this out and began asking about our Christmas plans during Halloween. I don’t know know the lives that my students live outside of school. However, inside of school, if I can lessen the struggle while they are with me,I try my best to do what I can.
The first day of school, I told them that we are a family. I even make them recite a daily family creed a few times each week. When tensions are high, we have to find good traits about each other and discuss them openly within our “family”. If I don’t make a big deal out of Christmas, the majority of my students
might will blame the one student. If I do as I want and have an all-out Winter In Wilsonland Class Extravaganza, my one student might feel isolated. I know this because anytime a holiday is mentioned, my students face shows distress.
I have received some suggestions.
1). Send the student to another classroom when we are engaging in Christmas activities.
That doesn’t really work for me. It might be a solution for others. However, my class within our school community, is their home. My class is their safe zone. To send him away would feel like he’s unwanted.
2). Go on as planned. The others students shouldn’t suffer.
That doesn’t really work for me either. My “all for one, one for all” motto would be tested. Especially, when I hold them all accountable for each other. If you see one in need, help them. We are all different and should be accepted and deserve to be treated equally.
I was still unsure. So, what’s a distressed teacher to do? I called the guardian. The key to relationship is communication, right!? Hmph!!! Even the guardian was like, “it’s your classroom do as you please, however, ‘the student’ can’t partake in any activities pertaining to the holiday.” So helpful.
This would be a whole lot easier if this were my house. However, it is not. I could take the stance that this is MY classroom. It is not. See, I can’t teach what I want in my classroom. At any given moment, my administrator can walk in and inspect the class without being invited. Every June, I have to pack my things up. I tell the students that this is their class so that they take ownership of the happenings inside of it. I don’t own it. I am responsible for what transpires inside of it. If you are a fellow sped teacher or parent of a student with disabilities, then you know the importance of inclusion. I have decided to lightly decorate my classroom…some fake snow, a few ornaments and maybe a light or two. I’ll lend my tree to another class for this year. We will take a few virtual field trips in the upcoming weeks to see what is happening in other cultures around the world during this time of the year. We may not be fully immersed in all things holiday tradition. However, I have decided that we will focus on helping others within the school and find a cause that we can plant tiny seeds in during this holiday season. Isn’t that the true meaning behind Christmas?
Ms. Christmas doesn’t have to miss Christmas after all. ❤️😁