A Teacher’s Christmas Letter to Santa

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By Andrew Pillow

Dear Santa,

Will I still receive gifts even though I kind of stopped believing in you a while ago? If I write a list of things I want, will it somehow find it’s way to the north pole? Will said things somehow find their way under my tree?

Well, it’s worth a shot.

I’m 28, so I have moved beyond toys. I pretty much buy myself all the tangible objects that I want, but there are still some things I would like if you are still taking requests.

1.       A longer prep period

I’m a spoiled brat when it comes to prep time. Last year, I had close to four hours of prep time and I want it back. Yes, I know that isn’t realistic. I know the 50 minutes I get now is still more than they get in some other schools. Prep time actually isn’t just for me. It helps everyone in the school. I’m less irritable with my students. I’m better able to complete the paperwork assigned by admin. I’m less likely to want to quit and teach somewhere easier. It's win-win for everyone involved. This isn't even really a gift for me when you think about it.

2.       More voice in school systems

Most decisions in the school are made above my pay grade. Which makes sense. You can’t get feedback from every teacher on every school procedure or norm nor should you. But wouldn’t it be cool if someone asked me every once in a while? No, I don’t mean in one of those quarterly surveys. I mean an honest conversation where an admin sits down and actually asks my opinion before the decision is made, a conversation where I can still affect the outcome. Not one of those “Hey, we are asking for your input on this thing, but we are going to do it anyway” conversations.

3.       More money

Did you really think that a Christmas list made by a teacher wouldn’t include something about pay?

4.       More reliable technology

The daily battle between me and the school copier is sometimes more than I can bear. Do you want to know what fear is? Fear is clicking print to make 120 copies of your classwork for the day at 7:50 and wondering whether  the printer jammed or ran out of ink on the 5-minute walk down to the office.

5.       A class pet

Whatever happened to class pets? When I was coming up we had them in every grade. Whether it was a rat, snake, or rabbit, there was always some animal around in one of my classes. I found it therapeutic then. I’m sure I would now. I want a class pet. I don’t care if I teach social studies…okay teaching social studies is a legit reason not to have a class pet. But we have science classrooms too and in those rooms, there should be some type of fuzzy animal to play with...for the children of course.

Now, hopefully you’ll listen to me more as an adult than you listened to me as a kid. You never did get around to bringing me that hot wheels track when I was 11, but if you can come through on number three on this list, I’ll call it even.

Yours truly,

Andrew Pillow

PS: Let me know if you are going to get me the class pet. I kind of need to make arrangements to feed it and what not.

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Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.