Politically Correct?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by ms_chandler, Nov 28, 2006.

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  1. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    When we discuss our holiday (or Winter Break) traditions, my students ask me about my family celebration and I share that with them after they have shared theirs with me. We always marvel at how much we all have in common no matter what we believe or celebrate. Our 2 weeks off of school at the end of December and beginning of January is a time for rest, relaxation, enjoying the company of friends and family, and new beginnings. In our society today, the students are surrounded by symbols of Christmas on TV, the radio, at the mall, in the newspaper, and in the grocery stores--if I talk about putting up my Christmas tree or finding the perfect gift for one of my children it doesn't put down anyone else's beliefs or customs, it is simply a story about something that happens in my life--not an "environment inundated" with traditions the students are encouraged to adopt as their own.
     
  2. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2006

    Praise the Lord.
     
  3. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2006

    LOL
     
  4. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Ah, the agenda is clear now.

    Would you being saying the same things if a teacher told the class he was an atheist?
     
  5. Stooty

    Stooty Rookie

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    I second that one... :)
     
  6. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    But if she doesn't want backlash from parents she may want to go with Happy Holidays. One of the teachers at my school told me the other day she thinks it's a pagen holiday because Christ was not born on Dec 25th. I kind of just ignored her. Not the point. It's the celebration of his birth, it just may not be on the right day oh well.
     
  7. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Right. I think that's the point. Regardless of what your personal beliefs are, it's sometimes just better to be safe than sorry. You never know what's going to upset someone and I really don't feel as though it's worth the argument with an angry parent.

    Everyone has the right to express their personal beliefs and I don't see anything wrong with your students knowing that you celebrate Christmas (discussing your tree, buying gifts, etc) and I've always encouraged my students to discuss their family traditions and customs, but sending home a card with "Merry Christmas" in writing is not something I would do in a public school. It's not worth the possible consequences, in my opinion.
     
  8. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    I second that!
     
  9. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Look, no one's saying you should get up in front of the kids and deliver a sermon. That would be irresponsible, unprofessional, etc. But if teachers begin feeling threatened because of what they believe, how's that any better?

    What some of you are describing is a white-washed, sterile environment where diversity doesn't exist...and diversity was the goal in the first place.

    Censor everyone so no one's offended? Welcome to Brave New World, my friends.

    Who wants to be an alpha?
     
  10. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    So, how do you feel about the Federal Government recognizing Christmas as a Federal Holiday? Are they being careless and coercive???? How about any holiday for that matter the government recognizes in a secular sense........careless, coercive as well?????Here is the list. Shall we pick and choose those that "may not offend" and cast the rest out? What will be left, I wonder? After all, I'm sure there will ALWAYS be someone who is offended by everything on this list.
    New Year's
    Independence Day
    Veterans Day
    Christmas Day
    Martin Luther
    King's Birthday
    Washington's
    Birthday
    Memorial Day
    Labor Day
    Thanksgiving
    Election Day

    Goodness.........whatever happened to common sense and tolerance of diversity? No one here is talking about indoctrinating their faith on anyone else......I think we all get that and agree that is not the job of a public school teacher.

    I just want to know, since when has Christmas become a "four letter" word?
     
  11. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2006

    X-mas
     
  12. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!:p
     
  13. AbbyR

    AbbyR Rookie

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    I'd like to ask an honest question, and I'm not trying to pick a fight. I celebrate Christmas and will go to church with my family on Christmas Eve.

    Here's the question: If I were a devout Wiccan or Pagan or something, would you be offended if I wished you a Happy Solstice, or sent you a card marking the holiday?

    Again, I'm not trying to stir anything up, I'm really wondering if you would be offended. I am a Christian, as I said, and I would NOT be offended. Anyone else?
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I would be offended because I would consider it an empty greeting from someone who cared so little about me that he/she didn't know about what I believed.

    Darwin Day is not a generally accepted cultural celebration - though Hallmark might like the opportunity to celebrate it.
     
  15. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I would not be offended if someone sent me a Yule card, because I have many friends that are Wiccan. But my friends know I celebrate Christmas and they would send a Christmas card. I send my friends that are Jewish, Hanukkah cards or Happy Holidays and not Christmas. I have actually never sent my Wiccan friends cards. I just think it shows my respectful of them to send a card for a religion they practice, or a general card that says Happy Holidays. Besides the Happy Holiday card are so cute now. I have a hard time finding cute ones that say Merry Christmas.
     
  16. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    No, and I would smile and say, "Thanks! Same to you."

    Again, my students have invited me (more than one year) to the Ramadan celebration, and I was flattered.
     
  17. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Mr. M...I like your style!!!:D You take the words right out of my mouth.

    You too Kinder...but you know I always agree with you.:D
     
  18. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    No one should feel threatened because of what they believe and again, I'll say that I don't think there's anything wrong with your students knowing what holidays you celebrate (or don't celebrate) but there are many people out there who get offended when they have Christmas or other holidays that they don't celebrate thrown in their face. Let's face it, people who don't celebrate Christmas are the minority in this country and some of them do get offended when people insist on wishing them a Merry Christmas.

    Do I celebrate Christmas? Yes. Was a raised in a Christian family? Yes, I'm Catholic and actually work in a Christian school this year. Did I hide the fact that I celebrate Christmas when I was in the public schools? Absolutely not. Did I give them all "Merry Christmas" cards, though? No. It's easier sometimes to just not go there and avoid any potential issues.
     
  19. MissWilliams

    MissWilliams Rookie

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    Mrs.C--I like your whole group discussion idea.

    If a child does not celebrate Christmas, do you use the vacation activities as a reference point??

    Do you send out any cards to your whole classroom?

    CW
     
  20. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    I'm not giving my kids Christmas cards either.

    And I'm not going to go up to a kid who I know is, say, a Muslim and say "Merry Christmas." But at the same time, if I want to tell my students (high school) a funny story about something that happened at church over the weekend, I'm telling the dang story. I know how to say the words "church," "Christmas," "pastor," "Jesus," and "Bible" without being all preachy.
     
  21. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    This is my point exactly.

    The original question was whether or not to give cards wishing all of the students a Merry Christmas not whether or not the word, "Christmas" can be used in school.
     
  22. Tigers

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    Though, the other religous holidays are about important things too. Besides don't you think Jesus would want you to be friendly towards all?
     
  23. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Right, and I see nothing wrong with either. If I were an elementary school teacher and therefore had 21 or 22 kids, I would probably give cards. I simply have too many kids...about 150.

    My point is let's stop freaking out about this.
     
  24. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    If I say "Merry Christmas" to someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas and that person thinks it's unfriendly, then said person needs to get a life.
     
  25. MissWilliams

    MissWilliams Rookie

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    Why in the world would you feel threatened about what YOU believe??
    Being thoughtful and planful about your actions toward families in your community, which is what public teachers do...has turned into a personal attack??:(

    Inclusion for everyone necessarily means reflecting on your actions. Every family approaches holidays in their own way. Evaluating your curriculum, which holidays you choose to recognize and why, is a good thing. Is sending a MERRY CHRISTMAS!! card encouraging of:

    *acceptance of diversity?
    *respect for others?
    *personal/cultural pride?
    *promote self-discovery and learning?
    *relevant for student-initiated and student-controlled activities?
    *supportive of strong families and cohesive communities, involving the richness of people we serve?

    Or is it fun, cute, and a statement of what you like, in a blanket mailing to the classroom whole.:rolleyes:

    It's a great topic for discussion--but mocking and attacking ForaPhi's contribution here clearly highlights exactly what you profess to be against. ForaPhi, I enjoyed your posts. They were thought provoking for me, thank you.

    **If you put your "Merry Christmas" in a cultural context instead of labeling it unfriendly, perhaps you wouldn't be so defensive, offering them "a life". Reductionist, to be sure.;)
     
  26. Tigers

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    Perhaps, considerate would be more appropriate.
     
  27. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    On the same subject, it is my month to decorate the school bulletin board in the hall. I didn't want to offend anyone (I am a new teacher and in a new state as well) so I picked a "Winter" theme even though I celebrate Christmas and I am a Christian. So after I spent all weekend buying materials for a non-offensive Winter theme, the school puts up a huge Christmas tree in the hall! How ironic :)
     
  28. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Glory to the Lord ------ Jesus

    There have been so many replies in this particular post that I have not been able to read them all in detail.....

    Read them or not........ my reply is praise to the Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only true Savior.

    Major Hunt :)
     
  29. KinderCali

    KinderCali Rookie

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    oh goodness....

    Christians have been warned that if they love and follow Christ, the world will hate them. Now I am not advocating preaching in front of your class, but I am of the opinion that we Christians have tried too hard to "fit in" in this world as it is. I live in an area that is fairly hostile to Christianity, and my views get attacked all the time. Do I care? Not really. I am seeking God's approval, not man.

    So I am going to wish my students a Merry Christmas.

    If I "inflict" my beliefs on others, I am supposedly being inconsiderate. But what about the fact that I am, without my agreement, exposed all the time to elements that, in my opinion, advocate for the other side? Examples being the mainstreaming of pornography, coarse language, etc.

    I think of Christmas as less and less of a Christian holiday anyway as it seems more and more geared to materialism and shopping.

    I am wearing my Jesus pin to my job on the day before Christmas and we'll see what happens. If I am expected to accept students in wiccan symbol tee-shirts, then people can deal with my Jesus pin for one day!
     
  30. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    Good for you KinderCali.

    The thing that gets me is..... I don't ever recall "Merry Christmas" being such an issue 10 years ago. I doubt my elementary school teacher debated over wether or not she would offend myself, or anyone else because she gave us cards with the words, "Merry Christmas" on them. I mean, seriously...good grief! I think this is just a symptom of our overtly politically correct society. (and honestly, I think political correctness if the big F word in all of this discussion, I quite frankly detest all that PC_ness stands for) We can't say anything anymore without the worries of "offending" somebody, and I think it is a sign of our true woosification of our society. I live in Los Angeles, where things are so BEYOND political correctness it's gotten downright stupid. Send the cards, this is America. It's not like your sending cards that say God bless. Heaven forbid, right?
     
  31. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    ms_chandler.........after ALL this, I'm curious. What DID you decide to do???:p
    Or, have we all scared you away and "offended" you????:eek: :love:
     
  32. Mr. M

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    Hmmm...I hereby profess to be against the following:

    1) high-brow pretentiousness as a means of intimidation.

    2) diversity for the sake of diversity.

    3) oh yeah, having to put "Merry Christmas" in a cultural context.

    By the way, I don't know what it means to put "Merry Christmas" in a cultural context. And yes, I'll say it again: anyone who sees "Merry Christmas" as unfriendly needs to get a life. Misguided? Maybe. Ineffective? Maybe. Ignored? Maybe. Unfriendly? Get a life.
     
  33. MissWilliams

    MissWilliams Rookie

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    Yes, it is.....so as not to be UNFRIENDLY, I wish you good tidings, and-

    Merry Alban Arthan, Mr. M!!!:p May someone gift you with a Yule, may it burn 12 hours, and may you remember where the ashes are stowed in your home to mix with seeds for the fields!!

    LOL--perspective is good.:rolleyes:

    I love this time of year, when the Sun God and Mother Earth align. I think I'll send everyone in my career field a card about it, just before I cash my paycheck.:D

    And a cute graphic of Newgrange and Stonehenge....:angel:
     
  34. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    I don't feel threatened, exactly. But I live in one of those "small-town Christian communities" -- you know, the kind someone mentioned on here as being a totally safe environment in which to send Christmas cards, since you know the religions of everyone in that community.

    I am a Pagan.

    I have receieved three Jesus-themed cards from coworkers so far this year. They were very sweet gestures, handed to me with the best intentions -- wishes of good luck in my first year and condolences on the loss of my horse -- and I took them as such.

    But when I opened them, when I first looked at them, I got this horrible shaky feeling in my stomach, and my hands literally started to shake. Although those cards were given to me with the sweetest of intentions by some of the most caring teachers in the building, they only underlined the basic fact that I Am Different, which is not exactly how I want to feel in a new town, in a new school, my very first year of teaching.

    I don't think "Merry Christmas" cards are urging me to become Christian -- but I do think they are assuming that I am ALREADY Christian, that because I'm a sweet, fairly easygoing young woman who cares about her students, that I automatically belong to a specific religion. That assumption makes me feel awkward and unwelcome, and places the "burden of proof" on me to let people know that my religion is okay, too.

    No one at school knows my true religion, because I'm the new girl and they think they have me figured out. They send me Jesus cards and invite me to participate in the Christmas pageant, and then they ask me why I don't open up more and get friendlier with them.

    I FEEL TOO OUT OF PLACE TO DO THAT. What if they freak out when they find out my true religion or my true sexual orientation or whatever else it is that people like to freak out about? And I still have the rest of the school year to get through? I thought I was braver than this, but my point is, I shouldn't HAVE to be brave just to go to school and still be myself.
     
  35. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Thanks! And Merry Christmas!

    By the way, I teach the Mythology course at my high school and teach my students these things. It's not as if I'm entirely oblivious to Christian holidays' pagan roots. My students (Christians, Pagans, Atheists, Muslims, Jews, whatever) appreciate the knowledge and are surprised that Jesus wasn't born on December 25. That knowledge can a long way to helping kids understand each other. Also, Jews, Christians, and Muslims are sometimes surprised at the common themes/stories across their religions.

    (I am listening to Christmas music right now, by the way...IN MY CLASSROOM!!!!!!!! (not working, obviously))

    Let's acknowledge everyone and hope we don't leave someone out rather than acknowledge no one and hope we don't point someone out. It's far easier to do the former.

    Shalom!
     
  36. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I teach in two VERY christian schools. But we have Jehovahs
    W's and accomodate those kids best we can when recognizing
    Christmas and such. I just recieved a very Jesus type Xmas
    card from a good friend here at school. I take it as a positive that
    someone cares enough about me to write me a card. I love Christmas and the thoughts of giving to people. We need to do it all year not just one day. Watching Miracle on 34th St last nite
    reminds me that its all about kids and treating people decently and
    being thankful for all the good things in our lives.
     
  37. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    sarypotter, you suggest that you don't enjoy the feeling that you have to hide your identity. It's true that people make assumptions that are often false until they get to know someone else. It is up to you to reveal what you want them to know about you. That part is totally your choice.

    You could sweetly thank them for their kind wishes and explain that you don't celebrate Christmas. You could go into more detail if you care to. Their response is no reflection on you. Just be prepared for any negative responses and if you think they would be too hurtful, then continue to hold back.

    I think it is just plain human nature to want to be accepted for who you are. Express yourself in a way that will get you what you want, though.
     
  38. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Isn't this assuming on your part? How do you know they think you are Christian unless they told you that? What some people don't understand is that as Christians it is our job to spread the word. They are doing their part in doing that in a harmless manner, IMHO. If you are assuming that they are assuming, with all due respect, you are making yourself feel that way and it's not their fault, it's yours for assuming unless they told you otherwise. :sorry:
     
  39. ForaPhi

    ForaPhi Rookie

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    The original question was concerning whether it is appropriate for a teacher to send Christmas Cards to her students. Whether a teacher makes students aware of his or her personal faith is a question that depends on several factors including the context in which it is discussed and the age and maturity of the students. I do not believe that a teacher should deny their faith or be restricted from acknowledging their faith. If a student asks in the context of a classroom discussion about a teacher's personal belief then I think it is for the teacher to decide what is an appropriate response. If a student comes to a teacher during school but not during class time for a private conference then what is appropriate may be less restrictive. Outside of the school setting or activity, then I believe a teacher can exercise any rights of expression afforded to any other citizen since they are not doing so in their role as a public servant.

    I believe this is appropriate regardless of theological beliefs. In response to Mr. M, I would absolutely feel these standards apply to atheists and I am not sure why you would suspect otherwise. I am also puzzled over your comment about seeing an "agenda". I was merely using a hypothetical situation to illustrate a point that perhaps some people can be hypocritical about teachers expressing personal views or acting in such a way that reveals endorsement of personal views when those views happen to not match their own.
    It was intended to illustrate a point similar to AbbyR's.

    No teacher should feel threatened to acknowledge their personal beliefs. (But please recognize that this is standard practice for teachers of less popular theological positions. I doubt many teachers would feel comfortable acknowledging their personal belief as a Pagan, Wiccan, atheist, agnostic, or in some cases even Muslim. I also doubt that as many would come to their defense though the principles of a teacher's right to personal religious beliefs and reasonable expression of that faith in a school environment are at play.) I also remember when I was a student a young Jehovah's Witness girl in my rural middle school who had to sit outside the principal's office every day because we were practicing a Christmas play and it was against her family's beliefs. I don't know how much it affected her internally, but externally it definitely attached a stigma to her. No child should have to endure that either.

    I don't understand why sending a generic "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" card is considered demeaning to a certain belief system. The "Holiday Season" belonged to many other religions before being co-opted by Christianity. And though that may be the predominate recognition of it in our nation, it is not the only one. To me it just seems polite and an act of common decency to not assume everyone believes like you and an act of respect to wish good will during the holiday in a way that makes allowance for those who view it from a different perspective.

    I don't think the individual who initialized this thread with the query about Christmas cards should be ashamed of her beliefs nor have any undue restrictions on her expression of them in her personal life. But with those whose social relationship with the teacher is solely or predominately based upon the teacher-student relationship, the sending of greeting cards would be most appropriate if sent with a broad, generalized message of good will, rather than emphasizing the specific beliefs of the individual teacher.

    And as an aside, I do not lose sleep over federal recognition of Christmas, but since you asked, I do not think it is entirely appropriate. If you look at the list of holidays in your own post, Christmas is the only one with a name that overtly belongs and is included within a specific religious belief. Still, it is not worth my time to worry about something so impractical.
     
  40. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    As a teacher, we have professional standards. In these, we try to guide the students to their own thought. Many teachers feel that they should keep their personal beliefs separate in an effort not to indoctrinate children to their beliefs. Well, as some of the posters have pointed out...Christianity has beliefs that are sometimes interpreted as contrary to this professionalism.
     
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