How to deal with Santa..

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by soleil00, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Nov 30, 2011

    Odd topic title!

    Okay so every year since I was in first grade at this school, yes I teach at the school I attended, we have always given students/parents the option of writing a letter to Santa that will be published in the newspaper.

    Today we were discussing the things to say in the letter and one of my little boys, just turned 6 in July, piped up and said "You know that there's no such thing as Santa.... it's all a lie"

    Argh.... then an argument ensued between him and my die-hard believers. Well.... none of the other teachers have had this come up and of course my first year will be the first time this has popped up.

    I diffused the argument as quickly as I could basically telling the hard-core believers that it's okay if other people don't believe, we don't all believe in the same things blah blah blah.

    I have no doubt this will come up again when we do our holiday symbols study starting tomorrow....

    What in the world can I do? I do not know how to address this! I can't tell him he's wrong nor can I tell everyone else there's no such thing as Santa...
     
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  3. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Wow, this topic comes up in 1st grade, I am suprised. Luckily by the time they get up to my grade level, those that know the truth also know not to say anything about it and spoil it for those who still believe.
    When it comes to 6 year olds, no idea how to handle that.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Can't families just send their letters to Santa directly to the newspaper? With diverse class makeup, I'd be careful with seeming to support one tradition or another....Embrace all traditions, handle such outbursts with a 'sweetheart, you might not believe what others do. But we are respectful of everyone's traditions'.:blush:

    I had the very unfortunate experience of a teacher revealing 'the truth' about Santa to our entire class. As third graders she thought we were too old to still believe such things.
    Sad.:(
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I have my students write letters to santa. I teach students up to 5th grade, and many of my 3rd-5th graders still believe, but some of them don't. I just say right away that we're not going to discuss whether or not santa is real and that everyone is free to believe whatever they want. When giving the directions, I tell students that they can address their letter to anyone they think might bring them presents on Christmas- Santa, mom, dad, grandma, etc. I've never had any big issues.
    BTW- I figured out santa wasn't real in Kindergarten. It just seemed so obviously illogical to me. I know most kids take a little longer, but I'm constantly surprised at the number of kids that believe in 4th-5th grade.
     
  6. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I just overheard two teachers in the lounge talking about how every year there's one student who decides to share this insight with the rest of the class. One of the teachers said she reads them the Polar Express and discusses how Santa is all about believing in him. You could probably Google polar express lesson plans and maybe get some ideas. I'm sure there are tons out there.
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I had this come up a few times when I taught kinder. For the most part, I kept our lessons/activities/readings/art projects around subjects such as gingerbread men/snow/snowmen/penguins/etc. But, of course, every year, I would have one student who would always bring up that Santa didn't exist.

    I would also say pretty much the same thing that czacza said and then move on.
     
  8. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Now, don't you wish you taught in a school that does not celebrate any holidays?
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    All those letters to Santa can go to Macys, where they'll earn $1 for the Make a Wish foundation.
     
  10. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    I always counter that with the fact that I believe in Santa. I tell them I received a present from Santa last year. Plus, when I was a child my siblings didn't believe and tried to convince me to not believe. I refused to not believe. That Christmas they only received clothes, socks, and underwear from Santa. I received quite a few toys. My siblings never said another word about not believing. My nonbelievers have a change of heart when they hear that story.
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Excellent answer, czacza. :thumb:

    How terribly sad.:( and unprofessional. :p
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    No.
     
  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I handle it the same way Czacza suggested - not everyone believes the same thing.

    I almost gave it away yesterday. I have never believed in Santa - not something my parents ever encouraged, so I don't really understand kids who actually believe. It's fine, I don't discourage it. However, yesterday the students were going on and on about what they want for Christmas, so I told them they were lucky because some boys and girls don't get anything for Christmas. It was quiet for a minute, and then I realized what I had said. Luckily one little girl saved me by shouting out, "Yeah, but those kids are on the naughty list!"
     
  14. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I have actually used that in the past. I still get a present each year with a tag that says Santa and my stocking gets stuffed I tell them.

    And yes, I am very glad I am at a school that celebrates holidays, especially Christmas. Some people at work tip toe around the word Christmas (being a public school and all), not I.
     
  15. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I have a little girl (also 6) tell everyone "Santa is dead. My mom said so!" This upset several other students. I just told them in "My house we believe. If you don't believe you might not get anything and we are afraid of that."
     
  16. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Thanks for the replies! The newspaper prefers the teachers to send them in, mainly so we can proofread and put names on them. So I gather them up middle of next week and mail them as a group. Anyway, we don't go into the religious part of Christmas but we do talk about Santa as one of the main symbols.

    I love Czacza's response and I do believe that is what I am going to respond with if he does it again anytime soon. We read/watched a video about "Twas the Night Before Christmas" which showed Santa a lot and he didn't say anything so I think he may have gotten the drift yesterday.

    I guess they don't realize that them saying that will effect someone else in the room. They think they're just speaking the truth and that's that.

    Thanks though! I never would've thought Santa would cause so much drama ;)
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I've shared before that I accidently revealed to a class my first year that Santa isn't real. I didn't tell them this, but I spoke something assuming they knew. I had siblings even younger than my students, but I had NO IDEA middle schoolers still believed. Just absolutely no idea. Nothing came of it...no tears, no parent emails...but I felt horrible. I wouldn't tell a student he exists or advise them to believe or they may not find anything under the tree come Christmas morning (but I would say something along the lines of respecting traditions...and then get back to work! :)), but I would have never revealed this purposefully.

    In your case, I'd stick with the respect statement.
     
  18. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I always tell my kids that I believe and that they don't have to, but we aren't going to argue about it.
     
  19. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    I did have one girl ask today "But.. what if I sent this letter and Santa doesn't read it so I don't get what I want?" which lead into a conversation of do we always get everything we want, sometimes we have to wait to get what the things we want and if it doesn't come this year maybe next year, etc.
     
  20. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Wow, I never would have guessed middle schoolers would still believe! This year none of my 5th graders believe, but about half of my 4th graders do, as well as anyone 3rd and under. I had a friend growing up who was insanely smart (like off the charts genuis IQ) who still believed in santa, the easter bunny, etc. until her dad finally told her in 6th grade.
     
  21. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    A boy in my daughters K class this year is telling them all that Santa isn't real. I asked my daughter what she thought of that, she replied "Isn't that sad that he doesn't believe? I feel sorry for him on Christmas!"

    Next week, her class is going to participate in a distance class live from the "North Pole"!
     
  22. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    Last year I had to be careful as I had a mix of religions, but I also had a very low SES class where many parents could not afford Christmas. I avoided the topic as there was no telling which families would be able to afford a Christmas. However, whenever a student asked if I believed, I answered "I believe in Christmas 100%" I believe in the spirit of Christmas without a doubt!!!
     
  23. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I don't have a problem with the question itself, I can say "well, I believe in him" even though that's not the truth-I understand having to perpetuate what the kids believe.

    My problem comes in when the kids start asking questions. We'll be talking about the North Pole (unrelated) and how it's so cold people don't live there--of course, the kids say -but Santa lives there. Or we'll be talking about the homeless and they will ask what Santa does in that situation. Or how he hits so many houses in one night. I just say it's magic but I just feel like they are really good questions and deserve answers. I would never do that and burst their bubble, but it's just awkward for me.
     
  24. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Wow. Something tells me not to mess with your parents.
     
  25. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I'm so thankful that all my students are believers this year. In the past when it's come up, I normally tell them that if you believe Santa is real, than he is real.

    I still believed in Santa in 3rd grade...until my friend told me in detailed how she stayed up late with her parents and wrapped presents and put them under the tree for her little brother and they ate the cookies and poured the milk in the sink.

    Later that afternoon when we were at my house she told me that my parents brought all my gifts and that if we looked hard enough she bet they were somewhere around the house.

    We went into my parents room and looked in their closet and, sure enough, all the things that were on my list were there in bags on the floor. :(
     
  26. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Teaching in 3rd grade makes this a pretty treacherous situation at times, as I often have about half and half. I've gotten pretty good at spotting the comment coming, so when I hear, "But, Santa..." I head it off with a "We're not talking about that right now."
     
  27. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    My mom and I just talked about this over Thanksgiving. My parents told me in 4th grade. I was young for my class, and had some issues with being picked on, so they didn't want that to become a target. Anyway, Mom told me, and then took my shopping for all the Easter basket candy. I still vividly remember that next Christmas Eve--I desperately hoped that she was wrong, and tried to stay awake listening for Santa... (And I was irrationally afraid that I wouldn't get any presents at all, even though I had helped put them under the tree!)
     
  28. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    That reminds me of something super creepy my parents told me about Santa Claus...

    To prevent me from sneaking downstairs early and busting them as the gift culprits, my Mom said that if children come downstairs before sunrise on Christmas, Santa will throw SAND :eek: in your eyes and take all your gifts back to the North Pole.

    I remember asking if the sand would blind you and my Dad was like, "We never snuck downstairs before sun rise, so we don't know. I wouldn't risk it."

    :lol: No wonder I have so many issues :rolleyes:
     
  29. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I always worried about Santa getting shot down over Vietnam.
     
  30. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    My boys know Santa is real. One of his boots got caught in the doors of our fireplace screen when they were little. Of course, we left the boot sitting out for Santa to take back the next year. ;)

    My youngest, at the time, said "What did Santa do for the rest of the night after he lost his boot? And how will he be able to go out next year with only one boot?" I said "Oh, I'm sure this isn't the first time this has happened to Santa, so I'm sure he brings along a couple of extra pairs of boots and gloves each year just in case."

    That satisfied him, but I had to admire the intelligence of his questions. :)
     
  31. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  32. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    This picture always convinces my students - I'm in the yellow jersey. Santa is actually close to lapping me.

    [​IMG]

    Here's another picture. I guess up in the north pole they do mostly cyclocross, which is my two wheeled race of choice as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  33. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think it's a very difficult situation for some educators who don't feel comfortable being dishonest to children. I also think it would be difficult as an administrator to dish out a consequence to a teacher for giving a factual answer to the students' questions, especially when asked in the context of a legitimate lesson (such as a geography lesson).
     
  34. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    It really is an iffy situation that I had never even considered.

    On one hand, you have the kids that know he's not real and if you don't validate them they think they are wrong. On the other hand you have the die-hard believers that will go into a meltdown if they discover the truth about Santa.

    Luckily we really haven't had it brought up since then! Now I know how to better deal with it for next year/later this month.
     
  35. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    say, some believe and some don't. We all make up our own minds. That is something we discuss with mom and dad.
     
  36. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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  37. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    I always tell students I believe! Once when I was in college, I observed a teacher (third grade) do an entire lesson with Polar Express. Well, the weeks leading up to the lesson, a little girl in the class insisted her parents had told her Santa wasn't real. The class was in an uproar for weeks leading up to Christmas break. So when it was the day for Polar Express activities, the teacher passed out a silver bell to each student. It just so happened that one of the bells was a dud. The little girl who had told everyone Santa wasn't real got the dud. All of the children who were believers were cheering and saying, "See I believe! I can hear the bell! My bell rings!" For the first time all month, she was speechless. I will always remember that...
     
  38. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    It's funny but I actually remember being REALLY annoyed when I found out that Santa wasn't real. I remember thinking, why did so many people lie about his existence. Then, of course, I wondered about the tooth fairy.....
     
  39. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I never once wondered. I believed. I discovered it by accident. I didn't get upset about it at all.
     
  40. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Czacza, that's awful!

    I think that when you go into primary education, part of the package is the fantasies of childhood.

    Want to teach the facts, and nothing but the facts? Then teach Physics in college.

    But elementary schools, and particualry primary grades, are all about fantasy. Those red, green and yellow lights you use for behavior? Not real lights. When you read The Kissing Hand on the first day of school? Bad news-- that kiss from mommy doesn't really stay on your hand all day long. That stuffed bear that comes home so you can write in your journal? Bad news. He's not a real pet. All that stuff you wrote in your journal was a lie. Flat Stanley?? Not a real boy.

    So I think that, if you accept a job teaching young kids, part of that job is walking the delicate line between fact and letting your young kids be young kids.

    It's not up to you to decide how they'll be brought up, it's the job of their parents. If their parents have decided that their family believes in Santa, it's not your call.
     
  41. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I don't think anyone here is advocating revealing the truth-just discussing how to deal with the different conflicts that arise.
     

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