I’m a big fan of getting to know your co-workers outside of the office. I know some people like to keep to themselves, but I spend more hours with these folks – sadly – than I spend with my family on a daily basis. I think it can really help make work a more enjoyable place. You don’t have to make these people your drinking buddies (of course, you can), but it is nice getting to know if someone is has kids, eats vegan, or is scared of poodles. Most importantly, it helps us remember that we don’t work with teachers, guidance counselors, or secretaries; we work with people.
That being said, holiday parties can be great fun. Sadly, over the last decade, I’ve been to a lot of dud parties. The parties at the graduate level, and while teaching at colleges and universities consisted mostly of small hors d’oeuvres plates, jackets with elbow patches, smooth jazz, and inflating the importance of your latest publication. At the Baptist college where I taught, the strongest drink was sweet tea.
Let me be clear: nobody can party like teachers. One of the things that I love most about rejoining public education field is the sense of community. We work hard, we give it all for our kids, and when we play, we go whole-hog. And since I keep the name of my school on the DL (the way, WAY down-low), the names will be changed to protect the innocent. So, here’s what I learned at this year’s holiday party ~ or at least what I can remember.
- I have the ability to befriend pretty much everyone. One of the more difficult teachers came up to me and announced “I know I can be a bitch at work, but I’m really a nice person.” Um, sure…ok. And really, she was pretty nice, and so was her husband. And no, I don’t think she’s a bitch at work — a perfectionist with strong obsessive-compulsive tendencies, maybe.
- A good husband will accompany you to your faculty party and do his best to make meaningful conversations with co-workers and their spouses. A great husband will sing a karaoke duet with your principal.
- Mr. B, the science teacher, and I can do a kick-ass version of Paul Revere by the Beastie Boys. Rapper’s Delight, not so much. (and yes, there is video).
- I am not too old to do a tequila shot. However, I am possibly too old to 5….or was it 6….as evidenced by my inability to put together a coherent sentence this morning, and the slight smell of vomit in my hair. There were lots of group toasts, and someone’s husband was pouring these lovely pink shots for everyone. It would have been rude to say no.
- What happens at the holiday party, stays at the holiday party. Well, unless it’s cool to blog about.
I really had a great time, especially on a tough day such as yesterday. Teachers don’t get paid enough, have enough support, time, or money to do their job. But they treat everyone as family, especially to celebrate.