Advent and Schools
"...I invite you to consider these five simple ideas/accommodations for Advent and Christmas that may assist teachers and students in celebrating these seasons in way that is more authentic without being too onerous..."
Advent is a tricky business for local Catholic schools. Here in Queensland we have a wonderful tradition of 'Catholic Week'. For the uninitiated, this means breaking in the first week of December for summer holidays. This is exactly one week before state schools break and long before the southern schools let their kids out. It is also a week before the hotels and airlines roll-out their Christmas price lists! It is a much-loved tradition. The issue for Catholic teachers is that Advent begins in the week before break-up and it is very difficult to celebrate the season authentically.
The reality is teachers are very, very tired at this time of year. Sometimes, Advent and Christmas are rolled into one homogeneous season, with Christmas craft activities becoming much-needed stress-relievers for worn out kids and teachers.
Teachers may skip Advent altogether in order to get to the important teaching content around the nativity. Not only is this much more interesting for kids (it is in all the shopping centers and splashed across television) but teachers also fear that this is the only opportunity for some kids to explore the spiritual dimension of the Christmas season. Many children will not have an opportunity to attend liturgy after school finishes.
While this is not best practice, in my experience teachers do their very best in often challenging circumstances. It is very, very important that we carry no judgement. If this is what needs to happen, wonderful! We say, 'thank you for celebrating this important season with your students!'
I invite you to consider these five simple ideas/accommodations for Advent and Christmas that may assist teachers and students in celebrating these seasons in way that is more authentic without being too onerous:
James Robinson is the Education Officer for Liturgy Brisbane.