Whenever I heard the word magic I instantly have the Take That song, ‘Could it be magic?’ echoing around my head. I really quite liked the song and the actual title. It hints at the possibility that magic exists and that certain elements of what we encounter in our life journey could be, well, magical.
But for me, the place that I really got close to experience true magic is in the classroom when I was teaching.
Could this be magic?
I will probably get negative comments about this, but I want to talk about Christmas! I know its only March, but Christmas was always a time in school when I really felt that the classroom was filled with magic.
I had a very specific view of Christmas in my primary classroom. Simply point, I remember that the children will only have Christmas once in my classroom and they will never have that, at that age ever again. Because of this, I wanted to make it special and magical for them.
Now many people might say, it is the place of the school to teach the children and not to celebrate Christmas but for me, experiencing Christmas is a lesson and something which the children need to experience and learn all about. I’m not referring to the commercialisation of the festival, but more about the underlying skills of sharing, giving, receiving and family.
Christmas always creeps up on you in school. Before you know it the tree is up, carols are being practised and the last day of the term is upon you. Because of this, I was super well prepared. During the month of November, we actually dedicated our art and DT lessons to making the craft items for Christmas. Each year the children made an origami boat, an angel, a decoration for the tree, a calendar and a Christmas card.
I’ve talked about how to create the angels in this blog before. These would appear on a display that was all blue and black. It depicted the nativity with all the components cut out in black paper so that they were silhouettes. Across the top, the angels were placed along with the word ‘Hark! the herald angels sing!’. Incidentally, one of my colleagues would always sneak in and switch the letters around turning angels into angles!
The Christmas tree decorations, usually a cube with a sweet hanging in the middle, were places on a tree made by the children drawing around their hands on green paper and the calendars hung from a string across the classroom. But why was this magical? Well, it was magical because of the transformation!
With everything prepared in advance, the stage was set for the transformation. On the last day of November, the children went home from a normal classroom. As soon as they left my teaching and I burst into action. Like a well-oiled machine only being matched by the productivity of the Christmas elves, we took down all the displays and put up the decorations, tree and tinsel.
We had a doormat that would say ‘hoy hoy hoy, merry Christmas!’ at the door and a train that would go around the base of the tree in the corner of the class. The fairy lights would twinkle and flash and even play Christmas tunes. With the lights dimmed and the elves making a quick escape, the children would arrive the next morning.
The number of times I have seen them stand absolutely amazed and smiling made all the hard work worthwhile. For them, Christmas had arrived and would stay in their classroom for them to enjoy until the last day of term.
I always remember the words of one child who, as they stood in the middle of the classroom, looking around at the transformation just smiled and said – ‘magic!’
One of the best things about being a teacher is that you get to create memories and that, for me, makes the job so worthwhile.
Hope you enjoyed this post – see you tomorrow!