Zombies, witches, vampires, nurses, cats, ghosts and pumpkins, just to name a few; the most vital part of Halloween is definitely dressing up. Some people make more effort with their costumes than others, while some just want to get through the season having spent the least amount of money possible.
Before I get into the saga that is Halloween 2013, let me do a quick recap of last year’s scary season.
I had been employed by ECC for less than a month when Halloween week began (all holidays last a week at ECC, to ensure that all the kiddies get to enjoy the themed lessons, which have perks such as free candy and an opportunity to look extra adorable), and was in fact just out of training when everything turned orange. I had been forewarned of course. I knew that if I were to be teaching kids classes during that week (as a sub I had no way of knowing what was in store each day) that I would be expected to dress up. Unfortunately, knowing and being prepared are two very different things; so I haphazardly pieced together an outfit that I thought maybe vaguely resembled a doll, or something equally abstract and unspecific. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to embrace the spirit of Halloween; it was just that I didn’t know where to begin to look for a costume, let alone have the money to afford something decent. So, with some apprehension and donning my blue wig (that I had bought on a whim without a costume idea in mind), I set off to teach my very first kids classes, as well as my first Halloween lessons.
It could have gone better.
It could definitely have gone worse, to be sure. Although at the time I wasn’t really thinking about that; more about the absolute panic I felt that this was not the right job for me and did I even like kids? Thankfully after a few more weeks experience, and leaving the hell that was Halloween week behind me, things started looking up, and I found that I did in fact love my job, and most of the kids that I taught. So what exactly happened, you might ask? Well, to put it briefly, one word in fact can succinctly sum up my situation: TIME! I just didn’t have enough of it, or as much as I thought I would, or too much to put into what I had of it. The main issue, and enjoyment, of these event lessons is the craft. And for some unbeknown reason whoever it was that designed these lessons just did not allow enough time. They also hugely overestimated the manual dexterity of small children. No, four year olds cannot cut straight; they can barely hold scissors without cutting themselves! No, two minutes is not enough time for five year olds to colour something the size of an A4 sheet, and wait, you want them to do two? No, six year olds do not understand the difference between solid and dotted lines, or what will happen to the finished product if they cut the wrong part. Also, no kids of any age will stop doing whatever they are doing simply because you ask them nicely (or even when you yell at them; after all, you’re not their normal teacher, why should they listen?)
So they were some of the many problems facing me, a brand new teacher, during my first week on the job. Yes, I probably could have prepared a little more; but I got through it, and it made me even more determined to thoroughly enjoy Halloween this year! So let’s get into it, shall we?
My first Halloween lesson of the season was an event lesson, ie not a lesson for regular students but a kind of model lesson for potential new students. I had oodles of advanced warning and time to prepare, and everything went swimmingly. The event lessons don’t involve anything more difficult than colouring, so it went just as well as I had expected. The next Halloween lessons I taught were on a Saturday. If you didn’t already know, Saturday is our busiest day; I have three kids classes every week, one after the other, first thing in the morning. Given the disastrous time I had last year, I knew exactly what I should and shouldn’t do to make things run as smoothly possible. This included doing mock-ups of the crafts the day before; consulting with other teachers on anything I hadn’t previously attempted; and getting into work as soon as the doors opened so I had maximum time to organise materials and pre-cut EVERYTHING! Now you might think that this sounds all very good in theory, but how well did it actually work? And I’ll tell you: it went EXACTLY LIKE THAT!! It was amazing. The staff were all super helpful and supportive; the materials were all able to be located; even the kids were fairly well-behaved! So I was able to relax and just enjoy the festive atmosphere while ‘awww’-ing over the adorableness of the little ones. I was also able to take a million photos, which while I won’t be putting them all up here, will be amazing to look back on in years to come as I (hopefully) watch some of these kids grow and change and become excellent little English speakers.
My favourite craft would have to be the balloon ghosts, which were done using white balloons, white plastic bags, ribbon, and various colourful origami paper, cut and glued on to make the faces. While some kids obviously had a bit more creative ability than others, (and some were so unequivocally lazy that I wondered what exactly was going on between their ears) at the end of each lesson every kid was able to happily wave around their ghost-like creation before collecting their candy and posing for photos.
Throughout the week I taught quite a few more Halloween lessons, including one more event lesson, and I had no major problems. Now that I think back, I don’t think I had all that many minor ones either! I just remember it as being a happy time where I was able to wear insanely comfortable clothes every day to work, have my make-up as crazy as I liked, and reflect on how much has changed in just 12 months.
Halloween really lasted all through October, with different events and school parties, as well as all the Halloween lessons. I could try and cram it all into one post, or I could spread it out a bit, and do a more in-depth look at my costumes (yes there was more than one) as well as some of my friends, at a later date. Yes, I think I’ll do that. Good night, and Happy November!