Friday, November 4, 2016

Year 7: Week 10 - Halloween & The Cubs


Halloween was on Monday. It’s kind of cute, but it’s also very difficult to handle as a teacher. Many schools do parade and then a party in the afternoon leading into dismissal. My school does the parade in the morning, followed by a short party and then back to work. My son’s school simply avoids Halloween all together and let’s the parent organization put together a Halloween party after school.

I’m a fan of what my son’s school does. It doesn’t disrupt the day very much and avoids awkwardness that often comes up with costumes and Halloween. Some kids wear store bought costumes, others have parents who help them make interesting and creative costumes, some students don’t have the financial means to buy a costume and other simply don’t celebrate Halloween. There are social problems when groups of students coordinate costumes, and most schools render some costumes pointless by not allowing masks or weapons as part of the costume.

There are a lot of issues going on here with Halloween and school.  It’s important that we really think about what it means to bring Halloween into the school day. Even if the vast majority of the families and students are good with spending a lot of time in the school day celebrating Halloween, that doesn’t mean that it’s right.


In addition the Halloween this week, teachers in the Chicagoland area had to deal with the World Series. Students came in Thursday morning exhausted from staying up to watch the final game of the series and our school, since it was near the parade route, cancelled classes today.

Thursday was awkward because I tried to teach, but many students were really out of it, having only slept a couple hours the night before. Many kids were really excited and bouncing off the walls, and when they asked me about watching the game and my own excitement, I felt it was important that I was honest. I didn’t watch the game, and I don’t care at all about major league baseball, the Cubs, or the World Series. I love how happy my friends are and my students are about this win, and this joy is really great to witness. However, I made the choice that I was not going to pretend to care more than I do, because that would be disingenuous.

Last week during a transition in one of my 3rd grade music classes, one of my students asked a question about the Cubs and clearly had no idea about the playoffs or the series. A group of boys started making fun of him for not knowing what was going on, and laughing in disbelief about his ignorance, meanly questioning, “How do you not know about the World Series?” I interrupted the boys and said, “I don’t know what’s going on either, I don’t watch baseball.” One boy in a Cubs hat looked up to me in disbelief asking, “You’re joking, EVERYONE watches the Cubs.”

I replied, “No, you are wrong. Not everyone is into baseball. It’s great that you enjoy watching sports. But I don’t and that’s okay. There are many things that I’m into that you aren’t but I don’t get to make fun of you about that fact. You don’t get to make people feel bad for not being into what you enjoy.  The best fans, don't make others feel bad for not being fans but rather try to include non-fans by being kind and explaining things.”

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