Teacher got fired for telling kids the truth about Santa Claus

Discussion in 'General Education' started by blessedhands, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. blessedhands

    blessedhands Comrade

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    Dec 16, 2008

    He doesn't exist boys and girls.....He doesn't come out of the chimney. Your parents buy the gifts each Christmas.

    This is a real situation that happened in the UK.

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/4/20081211/tuk-teacher-sacked-over-santa-gaffe-dba1618.html
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Do you think the district acted on this situation properly by firing the teacher? As a parent what do you think? Do you think the teacher did the right thing? wrong thing?

    Your thoughts please.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
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  3. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    It certainly wasn't a KIND thing to do to believing children, but it doesn't seem to me a legal issue in terms of firing offenses. Now perhaps the parents got VERY mad and went to the board. How old were the kids? If they were K-3, I think that's a rotten, scroogy thing to do... older kids-- hmm?

    Since I don't know the whole story, I can't say who as right/wrong. Is there a newspaper article online to read?
     
  4. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    My 3rd grade teacher did that to us. My mom was furious. I don't think she deserve to get fired, but I think her P needs to make sure it doesn't happen again.
     
  5. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Am I to understand Santa doesn't exist??? Well then who delivers all those presents?........:D
     
  6. Lakenjade

    Lakenjade Rookie

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    Honestly, I don't care if the child is in 8th grade. The teacher overstepped her bounds and should have kept her mouth shut. I would have been furious if it had been one of my kids.

    I know that they don't believe any more and are just faking it for me! lol But I like that they love me enough to still pretend!
     
  7. teacherlady69

    teacherlady69 New Member

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    I don't think the teacher had the right to tell the students that there isn't a Santa Claus. That should have been left up to the parents. I still don't think that the teacher should have lost their job behind it. For the school to have gotten involved to this extent is completely ludicrous. Don't they have anything else to do beside firing a teacher for something like that?
     
  8. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    I think it's ridiculous to fire her for telling the truth. While I don't object to teachers being ambiguous or evading the question, I think it's worse to actively assert that Santa does than that he doesn't exist. Encouraging belief in Santa tells the students that critical thinking isn't important. Further, it can erode confidence in adults when the kids do realize there's no Santa.

    Yes, Santa is a nice, fun story -- but as Lakenjade points out, kids are as happy to play pretend as they are to actually believe. Many, many kids are likely pretending for their parents.
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I was thinking the same thing. :D

    Here is an email I received and loved the story:

     
  10. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Dec 17, 2008

    I think the teacher in question was a substitute which is part of the reason they fired her so easily.

    Isn't there a story like this every year? :dizzy:
     
  11. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Dec 17, 2008

    If she told the kids there is no Santa, her core value system is a little off, which might mean she did other little things that irritated the school. A person who would actively discount such a fun tradition needs to re-evaluate why they are working with children in the first place....
     
  12. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    I think there are a few interesting things:

    1 - I don't think this teacher got fired. She worked for a temp agency and it said she no longer worked for the school. I expect this means that she got sent to another school instead.
    2 - Being fired over this type of thing is insane. IF there were other things then those things would need to be brought up.
    3 - Saying this is mean assumes that parents are okay with their kids being told there is a Santa. What about multiculturalism? Is it okay to tell a non-Christian student that there really is a Santa?

    This teacher may have been having a bad day, but this certainly isn't something to be fired over.
     
  13. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    So, would you make the same assertion about teachers who tell children that Santa does exist?
     
  14. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I haven't even uttered the name santa clause in my classroom, tradition or not. It's not part of MY tradition. I wouldn't say anything about his existence or not.

    Half my family is Jewish, and some are Christian (my step-mom.) She always told her children that Santa was pretend and instead they had a birthday for Jesus... different strokes for different folks.

    Whose core values are being valued in this sense?
     
  15. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Well, technically she didn't get fired. She was a sub. So she will not be used again. I think that it is up to me and my husband to tell our daughter anything like this. My fifteen year old still says there is a Santa, because when he doesn't--Santa no longer visits him.
     
  16. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    OK, stg, now I know the real reason I shouldn't be AtoZ-ing while my kids are taking their social studies test-I read your story and I'm tearing up!
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I teared up too, kc. Luckily I didn't have kids in front of me at the time, as my daughter was in her room.
     
  18. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I guess I'm in trouble. Our after school tutoring all just met in the
    lunchroom today to do karokee and Christmas stuff as none are in the mood for class work ( a colleague is having a biopsy on her brain cancer today) so I read them YES, Virginia , there is a Santa Claus.
    When asked by little kids about it I always tell them I believe because I heard him once when I was 6 years old and it had to be him as all my family was in bed asleep ( i checked).
     
  19. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    I always tell my students that I believe. It is not my right to tell them about Santa, I am not their parent. I make sure we learn about the Jewish traditions and Kwanzaa along with Christmas. Tomorrow we are playing driedels, can't wait!!

    A couple of second grade teachers I was at a class with say they take out their cell phones and tell their class they have a direct line to Santa. Then they get on the phone to tell Santa if Jon has been naughty or nice. I think that is horrible!! I didn't even do that with my own kids!
     
  20. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    I don't have kids. I however, do not think that it should be our right to tell the students that there is no Santa. Just like it is not our right to tell the students that they parents are getting divorced etc.

    I'm still young and trying to debate if I ever want to tell my kids (if I have them) about Santa. I think that I would want them to get excited about something like Jesus' birth or even say that we can pretend Santa is coming. I just have never really liked the idea of lying to a child but then teaching them not to lie.

    I of course let my students get excited about Santa and listen to all of their stories and ask them questions. I never talk about it either but will discuss giving gifts etc. They never realize and miss out from the Santa discussions since we talk about everything else (except Jesus of course!)
     
  21. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    How many people took the time to read the story I posted? Because if you are debating about telling your own kids about Santa, then that story is a good example of how we can ALL be Santa.
     
  22. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    I tell my kids--I've taught PK through 5th--only when one of them brings it up in front of classmates--some people believe in Santa. I do! If you do, then I'm sure he's the one who brings your gifts! Some families prefer to do their gifts another way, so I guess Santa doesn't come see them. Santa represents the spirit of giving. And there really was a Saint Nicholas!
     
  23. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    When I was little we put socks out for St. Nick! Some years I have had St. Nick come to our classroom during the night too.
     
  24. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    I have never taught my own children that we believe in Santa Claus, but I would never and have never been the one to tell my students the truth about him.

    I have been asked by some students over the course of many, many years:D And I always tell them to go ask their folks.
     
  25. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    It's a lovely story, stg, and I may offer it to my own kids even though they're quite aware of the actual grandparental identity of "Santa". I teared up too.

    I might even go a bit further -- it's a lovely story not because Santa "exists" (obviously, the story plays with the definition of existence -- I'm taking the straight definition here), but because he does not. Because it's the story of a young girl who's learning to give selflessly and anonymously, after considering others' needs. It's a lovely story not because it's a story of mythical figures, but because it's a story of human ones.
     
  26. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I read a similar story last year and got the link on a thread here.
     
  27. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I'm with 3 Sons here. Of course, I would never tell the 5-year olds in my class there was no Santa Claus - but I don't refer to him at all in class either. We talk about geography and how it's so cold on the North Pole that people can't live there and inevitably someone will say "but Santa does". So I begrudgingly acquiesce and say "yes, but he's magic" but I don't feel like I'm being honest with them or even teaching them the facts accurately.

    There was a case in Florida a few years back where the teacher was fired - her 4th Grade class (if I remember correctly) asked how far Santa would have to travel to go around the world and they did the calculations and figured out it was just an impossibility. I just have a problem with firing someone for teaching children reality. Is that really on the same level as hurting a child or having drugs on campus (fireable offenses).
     
  28. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I tell my own children that Santa Claus, the spirit of St. Nicholas, is magic, but there's different kinds of magic. There's the made up magic of the world of Harry Potter, the slight of hand magic they see on tv, and then there's everyday magic. The last one is the most important kind. That's the kind of magic that happens when people love one another. It's how you feel inside when you cuddle up to mommy and snuggle in front of the tv, or how you feel when you know you've done something good for somebody else, even when you didn't get any credit for it. Santa is the magic of love, and we all have that magic. My kids still get to experience the joy of Santa, but when they get old enough to realize he isn't a real person, they'll also know I never "lied" to them either.
     
  29. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    I think that's a wonderful way to explain it!! I would never tell a student that Santa does or doesn't exist, but I don't think that the issue is one that warrants someone to lose their job, either. As a new mom, I'm struggling with the Santa issue right now, so it was nice to read everyone's opinions.
     
  30. ByCandleLight

    ByCandleLight Rookie

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    She was a sub, and though subs are vital, there's little paperwork in not hiring them again for a particular school. That may explain the easy fire. As for the situation...I probably wouldn't tell even my high schoolers that there wasn't a Santa Claus because it seems kind of mean to do so. But I wouldn't go to extreme measures to protect the myth. For example, if the kids were discussing it or asked me about a particularly memorable Christmas the the topic of my parents giving me presents came up.

    In this situation, however, I think it was in extreme bad taste. The kids were very young (I believe one mother said her son was only seven and came home in tears), and it would still be highly plausible that the majority of them still believe.

    Final verdict for me is that she deserved to be canned.
     
  31. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    Well, as a mom to 5 "believers" I'd be furious. I would be one of the first one's asking for the teacher to be terminated. I'm of the opinion that the teacher had cruel intentions and thus, I wouldn't want my children in her presence. What's wrong with allowing children to be children and believe in magic? My children are grown, but they still want their stockings on the mantle for "Santa." In fact, Santa still visits us and the boys enjoy sneaking in and placing gifts under the tree for others. It's just a fun time....no matter the age. How dare someone take a child's fun away from them? What purpose was served?
     
  32. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    What a nice story, stg!
    I think I'll pass it on through my email! Thanks!
     
  33. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I read it SmallTownGal, it is so sweet. Thanks for that :) :) :)
     
  34. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    I think of Santa as a religious thing, because it is associated with an inherently religious holiday. Therefore I do not offer my opinion or any information about it in school, ever. If a kid asks me outright I tell them that their parents will be better able to answer that question. If arguments break out between the kids, I try to diffuse it and divert the topic to the spirit of giving in general.

    The teacher definitely exercised poor judgement. But I think firing is a rather drastic action for something that doesn't really present any immediate danger. I think a warning and maybe a fine or probation or whatever they do for minor offenses would be effective enough.
     
  35. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Why on earth would any teacher who didn't hate kids do something so deliberately mean? There are a million ways to avoid answering the question without lying-- why choose the one guaranteed to hurt kids?

    The action bothers me less than the intent behind it.
     
  36. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    It's not the teachers job to do that- it's the parents.
     
  37. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    My boyfriend sent me the same link the other day! But there is no reason for a teacher to be telling them that.
     
  38. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    It could be meanness. But I don't think that's necessarily so. I think it's also likely to have been a matter of insensitivity to other people's culture.

    Until I started student teaching, I seriously had NO IDEA that there are kids who really believe in Santa and don't know it's their parents. I just stayed quiet about the whole thing and let the teacher handle it. If I had been the teacher, I could have made the same mistake. I had never realized it was a serious faith issue; I thought it was something obvious and if a kid didn't get it by a certain age they were just being extremely naive and need a reality check.

    Now that I realize it's a serious part of some people's holiday, I respect that and would never say anything against it. Maybe what this teacher needed was some multicultural sensitivity training.
     
  39. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    While I agree wholeheartedly with your handling of it, Christmas is not an inherently religious holiday. In the US, it's legally a secular holiday, and many families celebrate it as a secular holiday. In some other countries, it's purely a secular holiday.

    I tend to agree with you that interpreting intent based on news articles is very dangerous. News articles are designed to sell newspapers, not give an objective view (unfortuately).

    If it were done out of cruelty, I'd agree that would be more of a reason to get rid of her.
     
  40. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't have children, but I have said on this forum before that if I did have children, Santa would not be a part of our Christmas tradition.

    I don't think it was the best call on the substitute's part, but one can just as easily argue that lying to a child who asks whether he is real is just a bad. Several goods points have been mentioned, mainly about various cultures and belief systems. I don't think it is any more acceptable to tell a classroom of children that yes, in fact, Santa is real. And don't bother with the "his spirit is real" spin, because that is manipulative. :)
     
  41. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    As far as I know (and I could be wrong because I have never celebrated Christmas) Christmas is religious because it celebrates the birth of a religious figure. The only thing secular about it is that it is a legal day off, but Santa, trees, etc come from the religion. It is also a religious issue in that other religions vehemently disagree with it. Therefore, even if the celebration of Christmas itself would not be religious, teaching about the associated beliefs in public schools would be a violation of church and state separation.
     

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