What can Halloween offer teachers?

Ira Cross Jr

I am an elementary educator working in Columbus, Ohio in the US. I have a passion for innovation in education and also for collaboration with teachers, parents, and most importantly students. Working together is the best way to achieve anything, especially in education

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Website: innoedus.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1 Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Originally published on 31st October 2014. Originally published on 31st October 2014.

Until writing this article, I had assumed that Halloween in America and in the UK were very similar. However, it has been brought to my attention by Mr. Cain, the editor of Innovate My School, that “Americans make British Halloweens look massively understated”. This fills me with a bit of pride. It is my hope to shed light on American Halloween in education by using bits of my own experiences as a student from College down to grade school, and also from my first year of teaching. This being my second year of teaching, and Halloween being upon us, I can only hope that it will be as much fun for the students.

College - teaching me to embrace the chaos

Halloween in college is a crazy time. Many things happen, and for teachers it’s best to simply go with the flow and have fun. Fighting chaos is an almost impossible task, even when one has the most experienced chaos handlers. I have found that teaching is the same. I do not ever want to fight chaos in my classroom. For me as a teacher, chaos is a fantastic thing, and Halloween is no different. Chaos has the potential to bring out the best in people if they let it. Some of the teachers that I have learned the most from have learned how to work within chaos, and not fight it.

High School - enjoy the goofy moments

In high school, Halloween was a time to just have fun. I honestly do not remember a goofier or more fun day in high school than Halloween. With that in my heart, I am reminded as an educator to enjoy moments of fun when they arise. There are times as a teacher when a fun moment comes up in the classroom, and it is almost instinct to stop the fun so that we can continue our rigorous lessons. However, what students remember the most are the individual experiences, not the rigorousness of the lessons.

Grade School - all about the candy

With grade school, I can only remember how much awesome candy that I got. Yes, I am taking a quick break from my teacher-mindset and going straight to the candy. As a grade school kid, candy is like money. When I was in the 4th grade, ten-year-old Ira was all about that candy. I had one teacher that gave out Warhead candy to anyone in the class brave enough to take on this challenge of pure sour. This sourness was rivaled only by the vinegar, lemon, and sauerkraut mixture. Yes, it was that intense.

Teaching from the fun

With this awesome time of fun and excitement comes some controversy. In America, there are those that feel that Halloween is a Holiday celebrating things that go against the very foundation of America. But for me, Halloween offers real opportunities. Many schools have Halloween celebrations with costumes, candy, and games but with a different theme. One possible theme is giving students the opportunity to dress as their favourite characters from literature. This to me is fantastic. It gives students the chance to show their passion in reading, creativity in art, and a chance to have some fun that does not seem like learning!

Another fantastic Halloween alternative is dressing as a character from history. This gives students the opportunity to dress as a historical figure whom they find interesting. In Math, kids can dress as various math concepts. Why not dress as your favourite number? If you want to get crazy, dress as your favorite equation! The sky's the limit. I could go on and on with each subject.

The one thing that I want my students, as well as other teachers, to take from this time of year is that school can be fun. School is not always about the rigour. There are days and times where experiences and memories are forged to last a lifetime for students and for educators. I am in this industry for smiles. What better way to get some than to allow kids to show their passions and creativity in the Halloween spirit?

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