Christmas – A Teacher’s View

Hello all. Today it’s not Hayley From Home writing the blog but the person you know as ‘The Husband’. Now, as you all know, Hayley has been doing a series within her blog about Christmas and when I got home from work she was mulling over ideas for another one. I’m always happy to listen to Hayley’s ideas about what she writes about, as more often than not what she’s writing about brings back happy memories for me. However, and I must stress at this point that I’ve not been well over the last few days and this must be taking a toll on me, on this occasion I decided to open my mouth and suggest I write this time on the theme of Christmas as a primary school teacher.

I’ve been a primary school teacher for around six years now and really enjoy my job, even though it’s unbelievably stressful at times. From the outside, Christmas in a school must look like a glorious and wonderful sensory explosion with parties and performances, carols and cards and tinsel and treats. As I write this, I sit here shaking my head at the thought! Christmas is probably the most stressful and exhausting time of the year for a primary teacher. Not only do we have to do all of the above, but it’s the end of a term and we have assessments to keep up with. We have had the longest term of the year and the amount of different bugs and viruses that are floating around is off the chart. I work in a Catholic school and so we have a real push on the ‘real’ message of Christmas and have to ensure that we continue to teach RE lessons whenever we’re not doing other Christmas activities. I’m actually getting quite tired just thinking about it all!

Some of you may know that this year I stated teaching in a new school and am classed as an experienced teacher (I know…six years?!) Anyway, when I started I was told that the juniors will just do a small carol concert for the parents and that I could include some Bible readings if I wanted. I thought, “Cool…easy run in for me!” Boy was I wrong! In the week before we started practicing I was informed that we would do a production just like reception and the infants would be doing. The panic set in. Nevertheless, I thought that it could be done as I knew a few of the common productions that are generally churned out.

“We’ve bought in Baboushka!” exclaimed the assistant head. The panic was now firmly rooted! The next two weeks then entailed: creating a complex schematic outlining the hall timetable so that everyone has a chance to practice; photocopying scripts for the 34 different speaking parts and highlighting the appropriate sections; re-photocopying scripts for the children who lost their first copy on the first night they had it; typing out the words for the songs (all 10 of them, all of which are totally new to the children) onto a PowerPoint for each class teacher; practicing lines in class; practicing the songs in class; practicing the whole thing in the hall and learning positions; practicing the whole thing in the hall with different positions after the stage was erected in a different place…Not to mention all of the lovely Christmassy activities mentioned before; keeping on top of my assessments; keeping on top of the RE lessons and many, many more things besides.

But would I change anything? Quite simply, no! I love my job and I love seeing the faces of the children, their parents and the staff when the performance is happening. For some of the children that I teach this will be ranked as a huge achievement and quite possibly a highlight of their life. So I wouldn’t change it…I just need a supply of whiskey in an evening and some ‘Just For Men’ to repair the damage when it’s all over!

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