Teacher told daughter she hated X-mas

velmaDecember 10, 2001

My 8 year old daughter came home and told me her teacher told the class that she hated Christmas and does not believe in celebrating it at all. She even mocked the decorations some of the kids were putting up. I have called the principal of the school and was wondering how I should explain this to her. Shes pretty upset and cant understand why someone would hate Christmas. So far the teachers been OK, kind of strict with homework, but I dont know why this is happening now.

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Even though I know your daughter believes her teacher hates Christmas, and she even said she said that. Maybe what she said was either taken out of context or just misquoted. I don't mean that your daughter is not telling the truth, but sometimes things are not properly understood.

Could be your daughter's teacher was upset about something that had happened to her at home or- some other place or something that was said with another techer, principal?? and she just made an off hand remark "Oh I just hate Christmas" and perhaps she said "It is too too busy of a time of the year" or "It was so upsetting this year" and perhaps she saw a child putting up Christmas decoration and she was in a bad mood and just didn't want to see it at the time and ask the child to take it down. Or perhaps the Christmas decoration was decoration not to her liking for Christmas in design or color- maybe it looked really bad, I don't know :-) Just some thoughts of my own there-having raised two children, and understanding how sometimes things aren't exactly said the way they come home to the parent.

At any rate, see if your daughter doesn't come home in a few days and say something about decoration or a school Christmas party-if they are allowed parties. Also, could the teacher of some other religion? and that be the reason she was not fond of Christmas. What is the school's policy on Christmas parties and decorations?

I was just wanting to give the teacher the benefit of a doubt-that things may have not been said quite the way they appeared to you upon hearing your childn't remarks.

If things do not please you -then yes I would inquire about her statement.
First though -talk to some other parents of children in your childn's room, if you know them, and see what they say about the matter.

I hope that the teacher did not actually just blurt out she hated Christmas to the children and that it was either a statement taken out of context or all a big misunderstanding.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2001 at 10:45PM
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Sometimes people just feel grouchy about different things. It's ok not to like _everything_ afterall, people do get to have preferences. Your daughter probably has some preferences, days of the week for example is a good one for this analogy (like getting back into a 'school' frame of mind after an especially fun weekend might not be enjoyable). Adults, even teachers have their own lives too. And they can be filled with 'fun' things, and 'duty' things, and some things that are liked and some things that are not and so on.

Christmas can sometimes feel pressured to adults. Adults have 'issues' that children just don't and it's a good thing too. One easy example would be about how people tend to run around trying to buy gifts to impress people, or other reasons than the simple joy of giving. That increased volume of adult shoppers means long lines, awful parking problems, and a lot of those adults get irritable and can act out at other adults.

She probably 'hates' things about the Christmas season, rather than Christmas itself. And, people are allowed to have their own preferences.

I don't know what the 'mocking' of the children's work (if they made the decorations, and were to put them up) would be about. That might be worth extending an ear more than speaking to the teacher in question. It would take an adult probably to decipher body language, inflections, and what was actually said or done. There are lots of normal life experiences that can lead people to that kind of attitude (death, illness, war, that kind of thing affecting the self, loved ones, and so on).

people are allowed to 'love' or 'hate' different things like holidays, foods, days of the week and such; and that is something that humans have to learn to accept as human difference and if we respect people's human dignity that includes things of this sort (upset is one thing, but not being able to tolerate when other people hold very different views is a sign of a problem... if your daughter seems to have a real problem, it might be helpful to talk to her pediatrician about it adult to adult for advice)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2001 at 11:31PM
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Many teachers find it difficult to get kids to focus in December. There is so many exciting things happening that the Christmas season isn't a good school learning season. It is hard to get kids to focus on math and spelling when all they can think about is Christmas this and Christmas that. In a purely conventional educational setting, Chrismas time is non-productive.

In addition, many people do not celebrate Christmas. In schools there is often lip service paid to other religions and other traditions, but that often feels quite forced. Of course there are also those who celebrate Christmas, but as a religious holiday only, and the great amounts of secular parts detract from their celebration.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 8:40AM
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Try to view this from the position of someone with no religion, or a sincere believer of another faith, or a passionate Christian who abhores all the secular and mercantile elements that have been attached to a simple holiday of thanksgiving. Then think of the depression attached to individuals who are no longer able to gather with family due to death or divorce: this is the one holiday that results in a large increase in the suicide rate. Then, think of all the people for whom Christmas has become the most expensive holiday of the year and spend thousands beyond their means in order to compete and keep up with others. None of this justifies a teacher saying she hates Christmas to a classroom full of 8 year olds, but it might give you a look into the teacher's head.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 9:19AM
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I imagine she took the teacher's remark out of context. I have made the statement "hate the commercial aspect" of Christmas, but this does not mean I hate Christmas.

Also, recently a friend of mine mentioned she hated to see decorations up in stores even before Halloween was over. There are a lot of things about this season that many people dislike.

I believe I would talk to the teacher, find out what really happened as 8 year old children can get things confused on occasion.

Teachers ae usually nice people, love children, work hard and have tremendous influence on the young people, so think of her stress level in trying to get the kids to focus on education, hearing nothing except what they are getting or wanting for Christmas, yet being expected to keep up with all the lesson plans while a big interruption (Christmas)continues to interfer.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 10:13AM
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I think the remark was taken out of context or misunderstood.

The teachers I know don't HATE Christmas, but they HATE the hype & strung out kids that come back to school after Thanksgiving. Many schools finish the first sememster right before Christmas break. Getting those kids settled down to learn for 3 or 4 weeks with all the Christmas activities & hoopla surrounding it is enough to try the patience of most people.

Talk with the teacher or school & find out the context in which the comment was made.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 12:16PM
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Although the teacher shouldnt have been nasty she could have simply said she doesnt celebrate Christmas and the reason why is noones business, nor does she have to make it part of her classroom but there is no need to upset the kids the way she did.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 12:43PM
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I thought I was the only one that thought the teacher was out of line until your post Bugs. If she doesn't celebrate it that's fine and she could have told them that, but to say she hates Christmas and to mock the decorations is not. Maybe your Dd is taking it out of context or maybe not. The teacher said enough for her to relay to you she hates Christmas and mocked the decorations. Even if she hated the commercialism of Christmas, she could have left it at that. Working with kids, she knows the importance of this holiday to them whether they celebrate the religious or Santa aspect of it.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 1:21PM
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In Kindergarten my teacher told the class that there was no such thing as Santa Claus. This happened years ago, but I never forgot it. I still have no idea why she felt she needed to clue us in that it was our parents who were buying the gifts. I suppose there will always be Grinches out there who want to spoil the holiday for everyone else.

It could be that your DD misinterpreted what the teacher said, or she might have a teacher who doesn't realize the impact her words have on her students.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 1:49PM
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I think you should have discussed it with the teacher before calling the principal. If you still felt that it was appropriate then you could have called. It's not as serious as "there's no Santa". Now that's horrible!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 3:02PM
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I don't see any way of changing someone who truly 'hates' a particular thing (assuming that the teacher said that and in the way your gal interpreted it).

Take advantage of the situation and use it as a life lesson. Your daughter is old enough to understand that sometimes people celebrate other holidays--and perhaps if that's the case, seeing Christmas decorations and crowds everytime they turn around is a real bummer. You might explain to her that sometimes people have a bad experience one holiday that they remember everytime that day rolls around again and it makes them sad. Maybe she was just having a bad day and was thinking about all the shopping, cooking and cleaning she had to do at home. At any rate, you can teach your daughter that this is obviously a case where the teacher must need a little compassion and caring--because if she was happy herself, she wouldn't have said the things she did. Re-read the Grinch and talk about why he was so unhappy. Maybe gently suggest that your daughter be extra nice to the teacher.

I will say that my daughter's 1st grade teacher was of another religion and refused to have any kind of Christmas decorations, or card-sharing in her room. She did have a Hannukah party in class. I suppose some would have been offended by the one-sidedness of that situation, but I thought it was nice that my daughter learned early on that Christmas isn't as universal as the stores would have us believe. It was a nice time to explain to her how we should always thing about other's feelings.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 7:00PM
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Sorry this teacher did this to your child. My oldest daughter had a teacher that didn't like the idea of her students celebrating Halloween. She told my daughter that it was witchcraft. This teacher did numerous other things concerning my daughter and other students. I went to the school and had a meeting with the principal and let them know that I felt this teacher should be fired for numerous reasons. It was close to the end of the year and the principal let me know he had other complaints about this teacher and she would not be back the following year. Before school ended she quit.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 1:28AM
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I would be very offended that a teacher told my child she hated Christmas, one of the most holy days to Christians. Maybe the teacher meant that she hated the commerical aspects of it. If that's what she meant then that would be different. You stated in your post that the teacher said she didn't believe in celebrating it. Well, you know what? I don't celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanakkuh or Ramadhan, but I have respect for those who do. Maybe you should clarify with the teacher exactly what was said. Something like this might affect your relationship with her, so maybe talking about it with her would clear the air. She may need to be reminded that there are many diverse children in her classroom and her remarks can be seen as intolerance.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 11:04AM
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You know what I think? I think if it upset your daughter, the teacher was plain wrong to make those comments! It doesn't matter if what she said was taken out of context. It doesn't matter how much stress she's under. It doesn't matter if she was in a bad mood or having a bad day. It doesn't matter if she just hates Christmas or why. Teachers have a responsibility not to let those things interfere in the classroom. I would definitely confront the teacher about it. You know what else? People who work in retail hate Christmas too, but if they let that get in the way of their job, they'd be fired.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 11:46AM
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Christmas is not one of the most holy days to Christians. Its the most holy day to the secular world. Dec 25 is not the actual date of Jesus birth.

In my opinion Easter would be considered a more holy day if I were going to label "holy days".

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 2:01PM
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Hello Peaches: I am a Christian, and most Christians would consider Chistmas ONE of the most holy days (as I said in my previous post). And yes, you are correct that Christ was probably born in the summer and not on December 25th. However, that is the date that is celebrated as the birth of Christ. And the point of post is?????

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 7:41PM
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I don't think we live in a society where we are guarnateed to be free from others upsetting us. That's called life. Childrend are sometimes oversheilded to the point of not knowing how the real world operates. Take this as a teaching opportunity for your daughter. If you run to the principal about "everything" that upsets your daughter she will never be able to process information for herself. She will rely on you to do her fighting for her. Why not arm your daughter with knowledge that yes some people do "hate" christmas. And tell her the millions of reasons why some people do hate christmas.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 8:23PM
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I think it would be easy for an 8 year old to misinterpret the teacher's comments so I wouldn't hold it against her (the teacher). Give her the benefit of the doubt. You can also explain to your 8 year old that maybe the teacher meant that she didn't like the materialtic aspect of christmas or the stress of the holiday or something else. It will also teach your child to accept other people and to better understand their opinions and statements. We all say things we wish we could re-state from time to time. I think this is a much better lesson for your child than to call the principal about this right away.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 8:25PM
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If you still feel doubting, just go visit the class and talk to the teacher unsuspiciously, like "Is she going to celebrate christmas, and if she likes it". Don't tell her that your daughter told you that she (teacher)hated Christmas. And you will know who is right. I don't think your daughter made that comment just for the fun of it. She is a teacher of a multicultural class, and therefor needs to teach the different cultures and celebrations where we leave in. In my child school, he learns about all the celebration and why it is celebrate. Even if it is the "Commercial content" that she hates, if should have been avoided. The teacher must have hurted the feelings of children that believes, dreams and love Christmas. My suggestion visit the classroom and talk indirectly to the teacher about Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 3:07PM
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Velma, What happened????? Its been a week since you posted, and I was hoping you'd follow up.

Just my two cents, albeit a little late. I would talk to the teacher first. No need to be confrontational about it, but explain that you need to clarify because your daughter was upset and you need to know what was said so that you can handle it properly. As an elementary teacher, she's well aware that things said in the classroom are sometimes taken out of context. Your desire to discuss it is within bounds, especially since the comments were upsetting to your child.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 9:37PM
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i made an appointment to talk with the teacher
i ended up asking her right out and she suddenly became uncomfortable and said she didnt mean what my daughter thought she said
she was saying she hated xmas, the commercial aspect
the mocking the ornaments was made up
it seems like theres a bunch of kids who dont like this teacher because she replaced the other one in midterm

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 10:49PM
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I'm glad you went & talked to her!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2001 at 1:27AM
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