Thursday, 15 December 2011

Of slowing down for Christmas...and a special gift

I teach. So end of term in December is incredibly hectic with all kinds of disruption to the timetable: carol services (and endless rehearsals); Christmas lunch, with the preparation for that; Christmas parties; nativity plays to take part in or watch, making all kinds of Christmas crafts...not to mention trying to find time to teach the children the real meaning of Christmas.
I am learning how to do this well.
I am learning to adapt the normal curriculum so we finish in plenty of time.
I am learning to choose fewer but more meaningful activities for the children to do.
I am learning not to stress if something isn't finished.
I am learning how to prepare my heart.
So this end of term was considerably less stressful than normal and so, on Day One of the holidays, I am relaxed enough to complete just one item on my 'to do' list (writing Christmas cards), spending the remaining time on thoughtful reflection.
Reflecting on what happened that first Christmas, and what it might look like today - thought-provoking versions of that story help me place myself in the midst of it.
Considering different aspects of the story: this year, it is that of giving. And gifts.
The end of term often brings Christmas gifts from the children. Some of them - most of them - have been chosen by busy mothers.  Chocolates, candles, sometimes more personal gifts: I run the gardening club at school so often receive garden related presents.  I have also, over the years, received some beautiful jewellery which I have worn over and over again, because it has been just right for me....indicative of a thoughtful parent.  However, the ones that stand out are those which the children have obviously made, or chosen. And yes, I do get quite a few 'thank you for being my teacher' items. This year, two placards each bearing the message: To teach is to touch a life'. One has stayed in my classroom, the other is small enough to join the ornaments on my tree at home.
Teaching brings many special memories, but it is also so consuming that, once a class has left my room, all my energies go into my new class. I find it difficult to remember if I taught a child the previous year or the previous decade.  So the gift I remember best is one I received from one of the children yesterday. Jack loves school - so much so that he was sad on the last day of term. He didn't want to stop coming every day and wrote in his card (lovingly handmade) to me: 'I like school and you might know it!' With the card came a little present: beautifully wrapped, with a delicate wire gift tag, it contained a pretty little bracelet in my favourite turquoise.  He had chosen, wrapped and presented it entirely on his own. He is nine years old. With that gift, I feel he gave me a little of himself. That's too special for words.

1 comment:

  1. Jack's note makes me smile. :-) Teachers really do touch lives. Thank you for being one.