Tis the season – wondering about the Christmas and Holiday time in schools

I am 42 years old. And this Christmas was my first (maybe since I was 4?) that I did not spend as a direct member of a school community – either as a student or a faculty member. Of course, I was a parent for my two boys – in their holiday season at school – but that doesn’t seem quite the same.

For the past five years, at least, I have perceived more and more comments like, “We’re just trying to survive the crazy Christmas season” coming from school people. Maybe because of my recent career move – I still work in education, but not at one particular school – I was more aware of the commentary this year. As I spoke to numerous school-based educators this season, many of them remarked, “Bo, you remember what it’s like this time of year in school. We’re just trying to get through the days to break.”

By no means did everyone make such a comment. Of course not. But the ratio was about four to one, if I had to guess. About four out of five school-based people commented on the hectic nature of the Christmas season in schools.

Just to be clear – I do not mean to be at all critical here. It’s really just an observation. But it has made me think a lot (more) about school change.

If so many amazing school-based educators see the Christmas season in schools as hectic – as something to be “survived” until we get to vacation – then why don’t we do more to resolve and rectify the “craziness?” Why don’t we adjust the schedule, change the tenor, and remedy the stressors?

Someone wise once told me, “Bo, God did not create the school schedule. We created it. So…we can change it. It’s in our power to do so, and I don’t think God would mind. In fact, God might rather appreciate the modifications, especially if they were meant in a spirit of Christmas-full-ness.”

To be fair, a number of school-based people also remarked to me about the wonders and specialness of the Christmas season in schools and asked if I was missing it. Those people were just outnumbered by those talking about the speed and stress of their season.

This time next year, I wonder if any brave school folks will have resolved in the new year to address what they deemed the “craziness of the season,” or if anyone will have adjusted the daily and weekly routines of December in order to instill more balance and joyfulness at a time of year that is meant to be such at its core. Will a few school-based change agents help their communities move from “survival” to “peaceful?”

It could be a great exercise in change and progress. It could be a way to transform observational commentary into purposeful improvement. It’s only just a thought.