Monday, December 5, 2011

While visions of sugar plums...

Working in a school 3 weeks before Christmas can be a bittersweet experience.  There are a number of ways I am reminded, daily, of the upcoming holiday and I love it because I am, and always have been, a true Christmas spirit!  There is a daily announcement email that is sent out each morning, reminding us teachers of the school events that will occur within the next month (most of which are holiday related), the windows of each classroom decorated with lights, trees, paper crafts created by small hands, and snow made out of anything from cotton balls to silver glitter, picture books being read aloud within the classrooms, full of characters such as The Gingerbread Man, snowmen of all sorts, and the all important, Santa Clause, faculty and staff decked out in their best Christmas sweaters, sweatshirts, socks, and pins, and students on a school bus asking the driver, "Hey Joe, is today a Christmas music day?"  Only the beginning of the many sights and sounds of the season I will embark upon throughout my work days this December!

As I walked my first grade class out to the buses this afternoon, while passing by a fellow teacher, she gave me that, "Oh my goodness!" look in response to the energy level streaming down the hallways of our rural school building.  I replied with, "Christmas is coming!" and I heard her quiet voice (she is always very quiet when she speaks....sometimes wish I could be the same way) come back with, "Visions of sugarplums!"  This reference to the classic poem, The Night Before Christmas, could be the very best way I have heard a teacher describe the anticipation felt by these little guys.  Even 180 years after it was written, these words still explain the pure joy felt by little ones at Christmas time, with simple sentiment.

Now you may be wondering where the "bitter" part comes in b/c everything I have written so far sounds quite sweet!?  Well...unfortunately December does not get to be all about our friends, The Gingerbread Man (one of my favorite units to teach all year b/c of our Gingerbread Man hunt...more about that later in the week), snowmen, and our old friend Mr. Clause in first grade.  There are still assessments to be completed, homework assignments, administration observations, etc.  (Man...talking about the sweet part was sooo much sweeter!)  It is not so easy to get 6-year-olds to think about spelling words when all those sugarplums are doing "The Twist" in their noggins. 

There are times when a teacher needs to sit back and let the excitement fill the room.  Rules, routines, lessons aside....children are what make the season magical and alive.  While adults are bustling around with shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping, cursing the fact that they waited til the last minute, children are making sure they watch plenty of Christmas movies, see the lights (I mean they really stop and admire the lights), savor candy canes, slowly and gently hang tree ornaments, and read and reread their lists for Santa as many times as possible.  Their little eyes grow 2x bigger between the months of October and January, there is sooo much to take in.  Over these next few weeks, watch a child enjoying Christmas and join in.  We can all re-learn something that we once knew and have now forgotten about the joy of the season. 

                        Love how the lights reflect in all directions through the top of this jar and the window behind it.

While I write this, in my living room full of twinkle lights (but no tree just yet)...I'm enjoying the TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a holiday tradition for many families.  I've seen it every year since I can remember!  This teacher is enjoying being a kid for the evening.  SHE THINKS I'M CUTE!!!

Lincoln and GrayC getting along....Tis the Season <3

<3 - Sarah

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