What if a teacher does NOT celebrate holidays/birthdays?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by essasiak, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. essasiak

    essasiak New Member

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    Jan 26, 2013

    The only problem I have in becoming a teacher is that I do not celebrate holidays or birthdays, and I would not celebrate with my class. The way I would approach this with the parents is that I would explain my reasoning and then invite them to feel free and organize any parties and whatnot amongst each other [the parents]. I mean I'd still like to have a themed class party, just not celebrating a holiday.
    [and by the way I'm talking about kindergarten/first grade]
    Is that a good way to handle it?
     
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  3. juli233

    juli233 Companion

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    Jan 26, 2013

    in a first grade class I had last year we had an unbirthday party. One party, a couple of games and snacks and re gift exchange. that's it then all the birthdays are celebrated at once!
     
  4. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I think that's fine. My co-teacher doesn't celebrate holidays and birthdays. She doesn't if other people do, but she doesn't participate.

    You could have a "winter" class party around Christmas, and a "fall" class party around Halloween. Your Valentine's party could just be a party celebrating positivity, good deeds and the classroom community. If a parent is really going to be stubborn about it, then that child can go to a different classroom for a real "holiday" party. I don't think you'll come up against any opposition, though.
     
  5. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    If you are teaching in a school with multiple classes for a grade level and all other classes celebrate it could be a problem. You could do a fall party on Halloween (don't know how you will deal with the parade if the school has one). A winter party for the Christmas/Hannukah a spring is coming for Valentine's Day. I tend to just have the parents come in and set up the parties and not worry about it. You also might have a special hour of choice time and be done with it. Birthdays, I think you will be stuck with if you work at a school with lots of parent support in the early grades-moms will just show up cupcakes in hand. It would be a headache and a half to send mom home without the children getting to celebrate or at least eat the treats. If you are the only class for that grade level it will be easier to set the limits. I am not a celebrator of much; however at my school I would not even consider not allowing the children and families to engage in celebrating the different days, it would stand out quite clearly.

    I would not try and encourage the parents to throw the party between themselves because you might have little delight who no one wants to invite and little no show whose parents won't let them go which could cause strife and hurt feelings. The result then can be blamed on you.
     
  6. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jan 26, 2013

    We celebrate 2 holidays at my school: Thanksgiving which is a whole school We Give Thanks Lunch & most classrooms celebrate Valentine's Day. No candy either.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    So what would you do if a parent wanted to send in cupcakes for his/her child's bday snack?
     
  8. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I've sent the cupcakes home before. We do not allow cupcakes, chips, or candy. This is a school policy.

    Last year we had parents of twins, in 2 different classrooms make 72 cupcakes for 50 students we didn't allow her to serve them. At recess the parents did face painting. I remember juice too, so she may have brought in other food as well.

    I just reminded them of the school policy, they weren't happy about wasting the money, but if they would have said something before the big day, we would have reminded her of the school policy.

    I do fruit, veggies, yogurt, muffins for special snacks. The parents have a harder time with it then the kids do!
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 26, 2013

    My school allows bday treats. What would the op do in such a situation?
     
  10. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 26, 2013

    Birthdays and holidays are a VERY big deal to most children. I have a student who reminds me daily that it's almost her birthday. Her birthday is in April. Most children enjoy bringing in a birthday treat. Also, my school requires classrooms to have 3 celebrations each year: fall, winter, and Valentine's Day. All grade levels participate in a classroom party. Children who do not celebrate go to the library. Perhaps you could have a staff member cover your classroom for celebration times, while you supervise other children that share your beliefs.

    Birthday and holiday celebrations at school are some of my fondest childhood memories from my elementary days. Call me mean, but I would be an unhappy parent if my child's teacher told me that these things were not happening in the classroom because of the teacher's personal beliefs. If the majority of the class did not believe in celebrations, that would be one thing, but that usually isn't the case. I guess I just don't think it's fair for them to miss out. If you don't want to plan the activities, you could recruit a parent volunteer.
     
  11. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    "I've sent the cupcakes home before. We do not allow cupcakes, chips, or candy. This is a school policy."

    If it is a school policy it is a very different question than one teacher out of 24 sending home the cupcakes or treats.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I don't do holiday-related celebrations in my class (not because of any belief of mine, but because students often don't share the same beliefs). Technically, according to school policy, we are only allowed 2 "parties" every year-one in December and one for the end-of-the-year.

    One thought I did have though is what would you do in the case that a child brought a holiday gift for you-especially if you are planning on teaching the young ones.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I dont celebrate Hanukkah, or Diwali, or lunar new year or a whole lot of other things my students celebrate, believe in, and enjoy as part of their family religions, culture and traditions. Personally, I love learning about and celebrating with others. If celebrations are in conflict with your personal beliefs, you will need to find a way to respect the traditions of others (perhaps having another teacher cover your class celebrations as described above) while balancing school culture and personal beliefs. Good luck to you.
     
  14. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    My question to the OP would be, can the students still bring in treats? Can you step out of the room for a few minutes while the class sings happy birthday & then come back in? This may mean having someone cover the class for those few minutes.

    I think that would have to be a situation with full principal support.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jan 26, 2013

    Here's something I don't like: My district has no policy regarding parents bringing in treats for birthdays. Therefore, if a parent wants to bring in a treat, they need to call the office, one of the secretaries emails the teacher to see if they approve/disapprove of the parent sending in a treat, and then the secretary calls the parent back. So it's teacher discretion.

    Unfortunately, we have one teacher who says "yes" or "no" based on whether or not she likes that particular student! Can you believe that? :dizzy:

    I tell the secretaries that there's no need to call/email me to get a yes or no. The answer is always yes. All I ask is that they let me know what time the parents plans to arrive so I can make sure I'm not in the middle of a lesson.
     
  16. FutureTeacher_1

    FutureTeacher_1 Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I'm of a different religious faith than some of my students but I don't have a specific belief that would prevent me from having classroom celebrations.
    I don't personally celebrate for example, Christmas but many of my close friends do so I do make an effort to get them a gift etc and they always do the same for Muslim holidays etc. I guess even if there were holidays that I wouldn't celebrate myself due to personal beliefs, I wouldn't let that influence my teaching or whether or not kids have parties etc.

    At my school some teachers have opted for a healthy birthday treat policy. My policy is, you only turn 6 once so whatever, bring in cupcakes and have fun for the last 15 minutes of the day.
     
  17. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I think that it would be very difficult to not celebrate birthdays at all with Kindergarten and 1st graders. I have had 1st graders come up and tell me that it is only 5 months to their birthday, and I only see them on the playground as I am not a 1st grade teacher. Birthdays are so important to children at that age.

    I am not saying it is impossible, but if it is so important to you to not celebrate birthdays or holidays, it might be easier to switch to an older grade such as 4th or 5th.
     
  18. dannyboy

    dannyboy Companion

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    Jan 27, 2013

    Come up with a few great lessons that you could teach in other classrooms, and then tell other teachers you will take their classes if they will run your parties. Don't take the fun out of their lives.
     
  19. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Wow! A discriminating teacher?!?
    She better get her act together! There is no room in education for such nonsense. Can you imagine what else she can do to children that she CHOOSES to DISLIKE behind closed doors? She can do a lot of mental damage to these children.
    Someone needs to make her see the light!:hugs:
    Rebel1
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Unfortunately, I can believe it.
     
  21. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I believe birthday celebrations should stay at home. I think school Valentines parties are strange. I really dislike when teachers require students to bring in a boy or girl gift worth a certain dollar amount for gift-giving at Christmas.

    I've never been in a school that would require you to host a certain number of parties per year.

    Certainly don't let this stop you from becoming a teacher.
     
  22. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    Jan 27, 2013

    In my school, we have Halloween, holiday/Christmas, and Valentine's Day parties. It would not be an option to not have those parties. I guess you could use your personal days on those afternoons if you really had to, but it would be a problem in my building otherwise.
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Is this requirement written in the contract? I have a hard time believing it just wouldn't be an option to not have these parties. And if this is accurate, I think that could become a problem for the district. Even standards addressing customs and such can be taught without celebrating.
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    By parent organized parties among themselves, do you mean outside or inside school? In school, kids need to be supervised by a staff member. Parents are free to do whatever they want outside of school without your permission.
     
  25. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    If this is your only problem, consider yourself lucky.
    As a parent, I would not be happy if your personal beliefs interfered with the whole class enjoying an exciting part of being a child. If I were you, I'd run it past the principal before I decided how to handle this.
     
  26. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I am surprised with wellness regulations that so many schools still have kids bring in treats for every birthday. I haven't been in a school that's allowed it. For school parties, I might suggest that you volunteer to be the person who watches children who have not earned the party through poor behavior. For our christmas party we had a specials teacher do this and it was great because it was an extra incentive for the kids to behave before break. In your case, you could always have the specials teacher supervise the party and you could supervise the "detention."

    As for birthdays, if your school allows them, can't you just sort of "supervise" without really "celebrating?" I would think at most a birthday celebration would be a student passing out treats and the class singing happy birthday. You could always have the parent or a student volunteer lead the birthday song, and again have a volunteer pass out the treats. You can just be there without really participating.
     
  27. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I think this is a super idea! I'm sure her colleagues would love it, too!
     
  28. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Why don't you wait and see what the policies are at the school you are eventually hired at. You may find yourself teaching in a grade / school or a specialist subject where this is not even an issue. Focus on your studies and do well in your practicums. All the best!
     
  29. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I don't understand why just because the teacher doesn't observe/celebrate birthdays, that he/she can't simply be in the room when kids are having a cupcake to celebrate the day they were born. Most often it is just that simple, and some of the times the class sings happy birthday. That doesn't mean that the teacher has to join in. Just supervise. That is not really any different than seeing people at a restaurant celebrate a birthday and the waitors have people there start singing for them. It doesn't mean you are celebrating.
     
  30. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    My P could be VERY angry if I took a party away from a child :eek:
     
  31. essasiak

    essasiak New Member

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    Feb 13, 2013

    Its not that I have to leave the room I mean I can stay in the room thats no biggie i was just wondering if I would have to lead it like sing and pass out the goodies, but after thinking and reading other replies, I guess I would just have the student or parent pass them out.
     
  32. essasiak

    essasiak New Member

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    Yes I was thinking about doing it that way. Its not like I'm trying to be the party pooper and not have ANY parties just not holidays/birthdays.
     
  33. essasiak

    essasiak New Member

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    I didn't mean anything harshly like "Oh, no parties in the classroom" just not like holidays and birthdays...I mean I would still stay in the classroom it's not like I need to hide my eyes and ears from six year olds, thats not the problem. And by all means, if a parent wants to come in and celebrate, just notify me and go ahead! And I'm not trying to be a party pooper I mean I would still want to have like seasonal fall/winter/spring sort parties....
     
  34. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Feb 14, 2013

    That is what the majority of us do. I do not celebrate Christmas the only two holidays I do celebrate are Halloween and Valentine's Day. Both are ones if they are celebrated at the school it is very hard to get around celebrating them. Halloween would be easier to turn to fall (at least if there is not school parade) than Valentine's Day turned to spring.
     
  35. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    This seems strange to me. So you would be in the room, but not participating? You'd be working at your desk while a parent ran the classroom?? It doesn't do much for building classroom community.
     
  36. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) that the OP has a religious conflict with the celebration of holidays. I would think it's unfair to look down on her and say she "isn't building classroom community" because of her choice of beliefs. It's not an elementary school standard to have holiday parties.
     
  37. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 14, 2013

    It is a social studies curriculum standard in some districts to recognize holidays and traditions.
     
  38. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Ok, recognize is different than celebrate. You can recognize a holiday or tradition through an informative lesson plan, you don't need to celebrate it to cover the standard.
     
  39. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I am very familiar with religions that do not celebrate the holidays and how to handle being a teacher who does not celebrate.
    You are hired as a teacher and part of your job is going to involve families who believe differently as you. You could compare it to working as a sales clerk in a store during the holidays. The holiday music is playing and people are there shopping, the holiday is all around you. You wait on people and sell them holiday items or perhaps stock the shelves with Santas or boxes of Valentines, yet you are not participating. You are doing your job.
    That is the way to look at your job as a teacher. It's your job to ensure the kids have a birthday treat(they bring,) or whatever the case may be. You are not doing the celebrating. You are allowing the children, who are entrusted in your care to do the things their parents and your school desires. It is your "job."
     
  40. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 14, 2013

    :thumb:
     
  41. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    With all due respect, I very much disagree. It is not my job to recognize a child's birthday or ensure they have special holiday treats. It's not my job to do the things parents desire. I am to educate children based on recognized standards. This is based on my job description, contract, and interview. (And holiday standards certainly don't show up at all grade levels and in all subjects).
     

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