Candid Teacher Admits: I do not like doing “crafts” for holidays I do not identify with or enjoy myself.
Last year was my first year of teaching, and I shirked responsibility for teaching holidays I don’t personally identify with or enjoy. One of them was St. Patrick’s day. I honestly did not know how to go about teaching such a religious holiday to kindergarten students. However, I teach in a very diverse district and this year I felt up for the challenge, though I was not looking forward to it.
Worried that I would under-plan for the day I dreaded, I designed a multitude of activities: rainbow hand-prints, pots of gold, leprechaun searches, letter writing, St. Patrick’s day books, counting coins, shamrock investigations, and so forth. I wanted to face my “enemy” (yes, a holiday) head-on.
The day began with a buzz; as the students entered they received a pattern for a “hat” with a shamrock on it. They colored and cut, I fitted and stapled.
I absolutely dreaded the day.
We continued with our usual morning routine, only celebrating St. Patrick’s day by reading a book that gave the students an overview about the importance of the day. I was thrilled to find this book, which I admit I did not pre-read before reading aloud to the class, did not contain any real religious references. Yes, I know I should have read it first, but nobody’s perfect.
After the students returned from lunch, they found that a “leprechaun” (a grumpy teacher) had messed up the room. Where this characteristic of leprechauns began, I do not know. I do not think it’s fair that they have earned such a reputation. But that’s neither here nor there. The students were ecstatic to clean the mess and read the note left by said “leprechaun”, which informed them that he was looking for his pot of gold in the classroom.
I planned to have the students make “coins” from foil and glue it on to “pots” (paper with a pot drawn on it). However, when I first introduced the idea I made the mistake of asking, “Do you think the leprechaun would like this?” and they said NO! They did not feel a fake pot of coins was good enough for the leprechaun. I wished to say, “Well too bad! This is what I have planned and we’re going to do it!”
I managed to bite my tongue and after some coercing, I convinced the students the pots would suffice and they got to work. (Phewf, good thing I’m not a politician.) After completing the project, it was off to gym. The “leprechaun” got busy in the classroom once again, leaving a new note apologizing for the mess and giving the class a “green treat” (cookies and green icing) as a thank you for the coins. As the students returned to the classroom, I said in the most professional way I could, “Ha! I told you the leprechaun would like our fake pots of gold!” The green frosting and glue must have been getting to me at this point, as I was mentally gloating about a silly project.
Anyway, when all was said and done, the kids announced, “This is my best day ever!” and “I love the leprechaun! He’s nice!” I have concluded that I will be brave again next year and tackle this holiday head on. For now, I am content to dread the arrival of Cinco De Mayo.