If only it could be Halloween every day

Image of person dressed as a ghost with a witches had on head and holding a pumpkin basket. Photo by Daisy Anderson from Pexels
Listen here or read below
For all my international friends, a history of Halloween-its Irish origins

So, any of you following my stories know I’ve had a Halloween month here in Boston. Pumpkin carving, Salem witches, haunted houses and of course the day itself. The day when all the ghosts, monsters, ghouls, superheroes, fairy princesses, pirates, and everything else in between come out to mingle together in perfect harmony to get their treats. And here there’s no judgement, just praise for the ‘cool’ or ‘scary’ costume. There’s no shying away from someone who’s different. In fact, difference is encouraged, welcomed, and celebrated. Uniqueness is an asset to the melting pot. And here, in my area anyway, the adults came out to their porches, gardens, and steps to invite the children to trick or treat. There was no need for the child to go knocking at the door. I wasn’t looking for a hidden meaning or reflection from my US Halloween but this experience of course led to one.

I wondered ‘what if it was Halloween every day in the classroom?’. Not literally, but the spirit of Halloween. What, if like our Halloween costumes, the celebration of the different, the unique, and what that adds to our community was just something that happened in our classroom. What if we welcomed that variability? And furthermore, what if we acknowledged and embraced the changing costumes of individuality? Contextualised it based on the day -or time of day-, subject, prior knowledge, and experiences and used this to our and our students’ advantage, to work with them to create positive and inclusive learning experiences. I think back to my own days in school. I was a monster first class every morning regardless of subject, I was a sprite for English and History, and the invisible person for Maths. If I know that about myself then I should be aware that it will be the same for my students and build choices, strategies, and if needs be exits (just little ones) into my learning and teaching experiences.

And what of the adults who left the warm and cosy comfort of their homes to wait outside, greeting the children and welcoming them into their space. How often is the ‘door’ the first barrier for our students? How do we know if they feel welcome, ok, happy. or the reverse when coming to our classrooms? How can we step outside and welcome them in? Yes, there is the literal standing at then door and saying ‘hello’, ‘how are you?’ and so on. But there’s more to it than that. What can the students expect when they walk past you at the door? Will they see representations of them selves on the classroom walls, in the texts, in the content? Will they see their variability, their uniqueness as something bad, a weakness? Or will they know that it and they are valued and add strength to their learning community?

It all started with children dressed up in costumes, but it really got me thinking….

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