Christmas – to teach or not to teach

christmas1You may think it is odd to be blogging about Christmas in January but I feel I have had sufficient time to reflect upon December in school to write a bit more objectively about it. Christmas in secondary schools seems to be all encompassing from the 1st of December. Teachers overnight festoon their classrooms with lights, mini trees and tinsel and extension tasks or tasks for fast finishers involve ‘Christmas’ themed nonsense that has very little to do with the curriculum.

I have put ‘Christmas’ this way because we don’t really promote the traditional Christmas message. Santa, trees, holly, presents, snowmen, reindeer and robins are the seen more and the message of seasons greeting and happy holidays have replaced Merry Christmas.

The Christmas holidays are the only time of year that teachers do something different as we move towards the end of term. Easter is merely a holiday with an emphasis on chocolate eggs with the real meaning lost to most. The same can be said of Christmas. In an increasingly secular and multi-faith country Christmas time itself has change from a religious focus to a focus on family and friends.

This year teachers in our school received a memo that that we should continue to teach the curriculum right to the last day of the term. I had every intention of doing this anyway as personally I see the over-emphasis on Christmas and the winding down before holidays as a waste of time.Teachers complain that there is not enough time to get everything done so why make the last week before the Christmas holidays a work free zone?

I am not suggesting that we just plow endlessly on working all time but it is clear that pupils and some parents see little value in the last week of term at Christmas in particular due to the lack of real work. School should be a valuable experience all year and the last week of term should be no exception.

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