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Yonder Lies a Star

Christmas is nearly here! Miranda shares her love of this time of year in schools. 

Rejoice, rejoice oh choirs of little angels (so long as you’re all rehearsing somewhere in a soundproofed hall, far, far away from where I have been instructed to hang the paper lanterns).  It’s great to hear that some things never change. Schools are a lovely place to be at in the run up to Christmas, and the nearer it gets,  the more aglow one can feel – let’s face it, it’s the only time of year when there’s any slack to cut. Even a supply teacher can be forgiven for nipping into the staff room to steal one of the purple Quality Streets, or is that wishful thinking?

Now don’t be thinking that I’m some sort of Christmas head with flashing reindeer on my roof and a ‘Welcome Santa’ doormat.  But I cannot help but go all aglow with childhood Christmas memories when working in primary school. So much is unchanged since my time; it’s really quite heart-warming in a world where the media would lead us to believe that all children are fat backlit automatons who might combust on contact with a little fresh December air. 

Shamelessly, here’s a seasonal list of my favourite unchanging aspects of Christmas in primary school:

  • ‘Believers and non-believers’ Year 3s trying to persuade the infants that it’s your Mum in a red cloak. The odd Year 6, who maintains   complex and ever more baroque explanations in response to diminishing evidence – magic keys that can open any door; retina scanning equipment to check for pretend sleeping; complex dark net surveillance to ensure that Santa knows exactly which parent/grandparent you will be staying with when the big day arrives. 
  • School fetes are still great. Who is it that knits all those woolly dolls and Santas and full wool baby doll outfits?  Is it just one oligarch grandma in an attic with a billion pound franchise operation, making all its dollar in just one week of the year?  I hate to boast, but I have a lucky pincer grip when it comes to a tombola. I usually win and normally win booze or chocolate. First ever win -  Year 3. A quart of Wild Turkey. As a supply teacher, I intend to visit the Christmas fete for every school I teach at. This should see me right until well into the new year.
  • Singing practice that starts in mid-October. The maddening nature of children of all abilities who can’t seem to remember the notes, words or actions to a song they have practiced at least 48 times since half term. The teachers and TAs with hands in their hair, mainlining those quality street really is the only sensible option.
  • The festive worksheet. Stick a bit of holly in the corner, put the prime numbers into a snowy font, add baubles to the level 3 spellings lists and hey presto, the children won’t even know they are learning! Does any child actually buy this?
  • Treats in the staff room. As a child, when you knocked on the staff room door, it would open a tiny crack and you might catch a glimpse of a table positively heaving with sweetmeats and Christmassy delicacies. There would also invariably be a devilish oozing of smoke from under the door too, but of course those days are gone.

So teachers, seize the glitter and enjoy the festive feeling…before the government decides to cut them.    

We hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Tags: Miranda, Manchester, NQT, supply

Category: Australian Teachers


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