Yesterday was a big day for some and uneventful for others. Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day. Depending on your current situation, you might have repeated those words differently than others may have. Your tone may have been filled with excitement, discontent, sadness, or fondness. Whatever your feelings are now, most people smile when they reflect on their childhood Valentine’s Day.
Remember when you were a kid in school. Valentine’s Day was one of the favorites. The room mother would contact all of the parents and organize a party with a lot of sweet treats. You would probably spend all day making crafts with red, pink, and white construction paper. One of those papers was probably folded in half and stapled on two sides, leaving an opening at the top. The homemade envelope would also have your name written boldy on the front; or maybe it was an old tissue or shoebox that you decorated. Whatever you used, by the end of the day, it would be full of store bought valentine cards with your classmate’s name written on them.
The “To” section was always personalized, so you knew that it was meant just for you! Let’s me honest though, filling out the cards could be a stressful task. There were always those cards with “special messages” that were reserved for your friends or the person that you liked. And then there were the generic cards that said Happy Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, there never seemed to be enough of those. So, you had to prioritize, by giving the generic cards to those lowest on your totem pole. I’d like to think that it was only the girls that had this problem, but I specifically remember a Valentine’s Day when my son spent a little extra time filling out his own cards one year. So, I am going to predict that everyone had the same dilemma. I do know that almost every girl I knew (including me) would later go home and look at the cards again. She wanted to see if someone’s card message was code for how much someone liked her. Come to think of it, adult women still do things like that. Females love to break a code!
Nowadays, however, classroom parties are either not permitted, or extremely limited. Every school may not be like that, but the ones that my colleagues or I are familiar with are. So, I will speak from my experience. Room mother? What’s that? Treats? Did you check all of the students’ food allergies? Are they homemade? We probably can’t accept them because we don’t know how you cooked or prepared them. Crafts all day? When will you teach? The next big assessment (to collect more data) is in two weeks. Sweets all day? The kids will be too hyper.
Don’t be too discouraged though. There are still some teachers, including myself, that manage to cut out about an hour for the annual Valentine Exchange. It may not be long, but to many of the students, this is the only amount of time that they know. It’s the adults that seem to make a bigger issue out it.
No matter the time allowed, It is still fun for me to see my students get excited when they give and receive their cards or candy. I must say that the candy valentines sure do take away the stress of who gets which message. Most of the time, the “To” section isn’t even filled out. It doesn’t matter to them though. A break from schoolwork is celebration enough. Over the years, I have also learned that a printed pink Homework Pass from the teacher is far more welcome than any card or candy that I would give them.
So, whatever kind of day you had this year, take a moment to reflect on your best school Valentine’s Day memory. Hopefully, it put a smile on your face.