This week I took out a couple of boxes of Christmas related materials. Now, they weren’t originally mine. They were given to me by a friend when I moved from teaching middle school to teaching elementary school. Needless to say, most of the emphasis is on Christmas. No surprise, my friend was raised in a Christian household, as was I. You teach and follow the things you know.
However, there are worksheets on OTHER religions in the box. Yesterday we completed on on Hanukkah. I had more that one student tell me they weren’t Jewish so they didn’t need to know about Hanukkah. I had to laugh, and then make them do it. Here they are telling me they are Christian, yet this story, WHICH IS IN THE BIBLE, is one they don’t know? Hmmmm. They were more incensed when I popped out a writing assignment that had the word Christmas on it and explained how to made changes to it in order to have it match “YOUR” life. More stunned silence. They were surprised to know that MAYBE, just MAYBE other people at the school didn’t celebrate Christmas. They couldn’t even fathom that Jehovah’s Witnesses would believe in Christ but not celebrate. Yep, tolerance… We needs to teach it! 😛
The most interesting part was when they went on about Christmas being Christ’s birthday. I told them, no… It wasn’t the date of his birth, it IS the date we celebrate his birth. You’d think I had just sprung that Santa didn’t exist on them (yet another painful event for teachers of my kind)! When I questioned them about Christmas versus Easter, they were AMAZED at the idea that Easter is more important because of it signals that Jesus had arisen to take their sins. They had never thought of it like that. I’m beginning to think for all their “faith” and “religion” and “Christianity” that they don’t go to church.
The most interesting part, however, was when one of them told me that I spoke beautifully about God and resurrection and Jesus, yet I didn’t believe. She was just stunned that I could understand religion, yet not take part. I explained that I went to church, bible school, vacation bible school, took a couple religion classes in college (requirements), and have some working knowledge of the Bible. I explained that education was about knowing and being able to discuss even if you didn’t agree. It’s also about respect. I respect my family and friends who believe. Why would I tear apart their beliefs? She was more stunned. It had never occurred to her to look at life that way.
I can see that I’m teaching them things that aren’t even in the curriculum.