Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Shocking Story in Daily Mail Shock

In yesterday's Mail there is the appalling story of a teacher who was sacked for...telling children there was no Father Christmas.

"Last Monday [it is claimed] the teacher told the class: 'All of you are old enough to know there is no Father Christmas or fairies. If you ask your parents to tell you they will say there is no such thing."

And the class - "some as young as nine" - were said to be deeply upset.

A tough issue, but my take is: what a miserable cow. You can never underestimate the extent to which children believe in Father C. I personally don't remember thinking he was real but doubtless I did at some point. But in a class you teach, you just can't take these things for granted. And you may wish to spread truth, righteousness and secular values but on the other hand when parents tell you how their children have reacted to being told "the news", some rather older than 9, you really just have to think: ah well. My take on it is that when a child comes to me and says "Father Christmas is bringing me x" I always engage in conversation around the central issue: "Oh. Are you sure you wouldn't prefer y?" or "Have you been a good boy/girl/other all year?" or something like that. For a teacher, it's not really about belief as such, but about letting parents decide for themselves what they want their children to know. For some, I gather, it comes as a milestone on the road to adulthood. For others it's a rotten betrayal.

Well I'll be off shopping for Winterval then, in a minute. I hate shopping at the best of times but at least not working full time means I have no excuse but to do it before the 24th this year. I quite like giving presents though, as I give so few things during the year it kind of makes me feel good for a bit. And then the dismal northern European winter bites me on the arse with its dull teeth and I spend until April in a state of either morbid depression or just listening to Joy Division.


Matt M said...

I agree. It's not the job of a teacher to break such news, nor do I really see why they would feel the need to do so.

not working full time means I have no excuse but to do it before the 24th this year

I have no excuses either. But you just can't beat that feeling of last minute panic to get you through Christmas shopping. :)

james higham said...

Taking away a child's fantasies is tantamount to taking away his or her innocence, in my book. He really was out of order. That's what the film Never Ending Story was all about.