Do you remember celebrating Valentine's Day as a kid? Today was my sisters' class party at school, and it got me thinking about the way Valentine's celebrations differ now from when I was in elementary school.
Go back to the cards themselves for a minute though. I remember the thrill of sitting down with my class list and picking the perfect valentine for each person. My best friends got the cutest cards, and the boys got whatever what leftover because, well, they were boys after all. I always picked a special valentine for my teachers and I filled out each valentine as neatly as I could with someone's name in the "To" section of the card and my own name in the "From" spot. Fast forward to today now, and that "To" section doesn't even get filled out half of the time! Some teachers still do it the old way, but I've found that most simply tell the children to fill in who the card is from and that's it. The kids just pass out whatever card they pick up first to the classmate next in line, and there's absolutely nothing special about it.
Now, I completely understand that teachers try to save time where they can. I have so much respect and admiration for many teachers with whom I've worked over the years, and they could never lose that respect (even if they rush through valentines). Still, I can't help but find myself becoming frustrated as special traditions become cut in the classroom. Actually, thinking about it makes me realize that teachers probably don't have as much time for the fun stuff anymore because they're forced to teach to tests, so it's really not their fault I guess. Without the recipients' names on the valentines, it's much quicker to pass them out. Anyway, my point is that all of the joy is taken out of these fun elementary school traditions.
My little sisters had a "party" today at school to celebrate Valentine's Day, but I don't really think it was much of a party. There was some kind of movie playing for the kids, but the twins didn't tell me about anything else that was special about today, and they're in full day kindergarten so they should have plenty of time for fun and games. Their valentines were passed out with no thought as to which children were being given which card, because they were told not to write classmates' names on them. I mean, if anything, writing out the names of classmates always gave the younger kids practice with spelling, handwriting, and time management (when your parents would rush you along so the table could be cleared for dinner... or your older sister because sometimes they - and I mean me - get impatient with the process). But it was a right of passage for kids to fill out valentines and it was just one of those parts of parenthood that you don't necessarily look forward to, but should have to experience in life.
So much has changed from the time I was in kindergarten up until now when I see what my littlest sisters go through. No more time for parties, games, field trips... everything is taught from worksheets and teachers don't have the freedom to teach in creative and fun ways anymore. And Pluto isn't even a planet anymore! I'm still not over that one... But overall, I hope that all of my siblings are able to enjoy school as much as I did when I was younger. Alright, I don't think any of them are quite as nerdy and have as much of a love for school as me, but you get the point.
I hope all of my teacher friends enjoyed their Valentine's parties, no matter how quickly you had to celebrate with your students! Maybe one day we'll make it back to the good old days when we had plenty of time for fun and children were able to more thoroughly enjoy their childhood. Here's to a great Valentine's Day weekend!
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