Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Students' Birthday Parties and Growing Up Too Fast

This past week was our daughter’s 12th birthday.  At first, I thought this had nothing to do with teaching, but after the party I thought that it had everything to do with teaching. 

What kind of role models are we as teachers being for our students?  Is what we are teaching them through what we say and do communicating godliness or ungodliness to them?   

Who says girls have to grow up so quickly?  Do they really need cell phones, lip gloss, and going out to the mall with their friends to feel like ladies?  What is wrong with playing with dolls and practicing to be good moms?  

As is probably normal, the little girls would invite their closest friends to their parties, and these girls would talk about the upcoming party at school in front of the girls who were not invited.  We asked all the students (and their parents) at the beginning of the year to either invite all the girls (or boys if it was a boy’s birthday party) in the class, or to be polite and at least not discuss it in front of the other students.  It has worked pretty well.  We decided just to invite all the girls in the class.  

Our daughter wanted a dolly-tea party, so that is what we did.  First they played with their dolls while I got the tea party ready.  I heard them singing “Jesus Loves Me” to their dolls while I worked :-).  

Then we had the tea party part- dainty little sandwiches, carrots and cucumbers with dip, chips, grapes, cheese cubes, chicken nuggets and pink punch, of course.  I was impressed that they even brought their babies to tea.  This baby was fed a cheese puff by its “mom”.  

The one on the right is a real baby.  One of them got invited too.  Imagine getting invited to your first party at age 6 months.
Then we played “Find the String”.  The night before our family had cut up and hidden different lengths of string all over the downstairs.  After most of it was found we measured it all.  They were commenting on how three feet equals one yard.  Math. . . at a tea party! 
Next we decorated our cupcakes.  The decorations included pink frosting, Red Hots, orange slices, M&Ms, colored sprinkles, and I’m not sure what else.  (Anyone want to diagram that sentence?)
Next we played "Pass the Parcel".  I wrapped one of the little gifts (reindeer socks) in twenty-six layers of wrapping paper.
After ice cream and cup cakes we played my favorite game, the suitcase relay.  One end of the room had a variety of hats and robes, vests, etc.  They had to run down, put on a hat and piece of apparel, then run back.  The combinations were interesting. 
From left to right: a prairie girl (actually matches), a hospital patient with a Chinese hat, a Hawaiian shirt with a sombrero, a Medieval robe with a sombrero, a Mexican dress with a Robin Hood hat, a graduation robe with a safari hat, and a Peruvian vest with a Medieval hat.  

One of the best parts of the party for me was listening to their comments on the way home.  

“I want to be a mom when I grow up.”  

“I want to be a teacher.”  

“I want my students to enjoy learning.”  

That beats cell phones, lip gloss, and going to the mall any day.