December 24, 2014

SANTA in the Classroom

Tonight is Christmas Eve. So a very Merry Christmas to all of you art teachers out there that are celebrating with your families right now.

Although this is a joyful time of year, I have a very SERIOUS thing to discuss with you. The topic of Santa in the classroom. Each year, one kid (usually a first grader who has been nominated by his/her friends) comes to me with squinty eyes and I know what he/she is about to ask.

IS SANTA REAL? 

They came to me because they know I am going to tell them the truth. I am the art teacher and I know about these things. Art is about trying things that seemed impossible, magical in it's own sort of way (think color mixing, clay, murals etc)  cheesy but true, we are a reliable source when it comes to questions like this. 

So I squint right back at him/her, look at the group of eager friends and I say. . . "YES" and nod my head once. Usually the kid will yell before I can even nod again, "I KNEW IT!" and run back to the group to proclaim their victory. One cynical friend will look at me still glaring. That's all. No more discussion is needed because it is a simple yes or no question. Unlike a mom or a dad, a teacher tells you the truth even when you don't want to hear it. That's why they ask us, and that's why it's important to give a straight answer.

Believing in the "seemingly" impossible is what art teachers do everyday. Whether it is teaching 600 kids a week and knowing what sports teams they're on, who their mother is, who their favorite character is (and then learning to draw said character), where they need to sit in our class to learn, when to back off, who their friends are, who their friends should be, when to laugh, when to be serious, when to sing, when to push for a better answer . . . teacher, you do the impossible everyday. This is what we do best, believe in what others would think is impossible. The obvious answer to that question is YES every time. 

I am sure some child will be bold enough to ask you one day IS SANTA REAL? I hope you answer with a nod of reassurance and a YES. There is plenty of time for eye squinting and analytical thinking later or in other classrooms. For now, I hope you decide to tell kids the truth that YES, it's okay to believe in what your friends think is impossible. . . and Santa is real. 

My daughter brought Santa a bell tonight.
He was so surprised to GET a gift. 

Merry Christmas to the coolest teachers South of the North Pole. 

7 comments:

Katie Morris said...

This made me smile. :)

Anonymous said...

When asked, I tell my students "I believe in the spirit of Santa". Of course all they hear is "I believe". Which is the truth!

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Phyl said...

Always was an awkward question for me, the little Jewish art teacher, who grew up completely Santa-less. I remember giving a teacher friend's child (an innocent 6th grade boy, who was also my student at the time) a ride somewhere. It wasn't even Christmas time, so the question was unexpected when it arrived. My answer was "Well Danny, what do YOU think?" And he proceeded to tell me that he specifically recalled, on the previous Christmas Eve, waking up to the sound of bells, so yes, Santa must be real. I taught his older sisters as well, and the thought of sweet and adorable Lydia and Amy, standing outside his bedroom door at midnight, jingling bells to fool him, has always made me smile.

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