12.25.2012

Christmas at School

Group picture after the last serbare, with my 6-year-olds, their teacher, and Santa.
I've officially survived my first semester of teaching, and with that also my first Christmas as a teacher! In Romania each class presents a program ("serbare") at Christmas with poems, songs, skits, etc. As the English teacher, that means I also had to prepare a short segment in English for each one of my classes and then attend each one of their performances. You can imagine that made for a pretty busy last couple of weeks at school! I wore out my voice from so much singing and giving orders to stir-crazy kids, but in the end everything came out great. I taught them some easy English Christmas songs -- "O Come Let Us Adore Him," "Jingle Bells," "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth," and a personal favorite, "If All The Snowflakes Were Candy Bars And Milkshakes." To bring it all back around to Jesus (and work in a little classic English literature), I also had some of my older kids recite these lines by Christina Rossetti:
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.
Being a teacher at Christmas also means I recieved lots of chocolate, flowers, trinkets, and hugs from "my kids!" Here is a picture of me with a lovely bouquet from a 5-year-old gentleman who asked me in his most proper Romanian, "Young lady, would you like some flowers?"


In the midst of all our celebration also came the news of the elementary school tragedy in Connecticut, reminding me of just how precious the innocence of childhood is. Working with children can be exhausting, but the role you play in their development is both a blessing and a huge responsibility. Their attitude toward learning, their ideas of right and wrong, the way they relate to one another and to authority figures -- all of these are influenced by those first years at school and teachers who guide those experiences. In addition, as a Christian teacher, I also keep in mind that their awareness of spiritual things is in the very beginning stages. If their time at school is the only exposure they have to the things of God, as is the case with many, what kind of God am I portraying Him to be? With this in mind, I pray that each one of my students is beginning even now to see through the rehearsals and Santa appearances to what the birth of Jesus is really all about -- God our creator making Himself known to us, His creation. 

Teaching and reviewing vocabulary by reading the Nativity story. They were understandably distracted by the camera.

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