How Anna’s Thanksgiving Dinner Surprised My Son

How Anna’s Thanksgiving Dinner Surprised My Son

Op-Ed: A teacher talks turkey dinner. Her 3rd-graders can’t believe what they are hearing.

At the end of last year, I wrote a column entitled “It’s not exactly Thanksgiving.” In that column, I noted that Thanksgiving has evolved over the years as a national holiday and a family celebration. It is not just a time for the food but a time for the traditions that make it so special: the turkeys, the family meals, the baking, the giving, and, of course, the family.

One of the reasons I mention the holiday and the family is that my son, Jacob, was celebrating his 2nd birthday a week after Thanksgiving. As a result, I started thinking about how I want him to celebrate his birthday when he gets older. The result was 3rd grade teacher Anna. Anna said that she wanted her students to have fun with their teachers.

Anna’s students are in 3rd grade at the K.T. Kline Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri. As Anna described it, “I want them to be creative and to be able to take something back to their families and share it with all of us.” In order to accomplish her goal and teach her students, Anna developed her own personal tradition around her students: She taught turkey dinners.

Anna didn’t want to make things easy for herself. She didn’t want to spend time decorating a table full of foods that the students could eat, but would probably not find interesting. She decided to cut corners and tell her students and parents that the food would be a surprise. A few things about Anna’s turkey dinner that were a surprise to my son were:

The ingredients would be a mystery! Yes, Anna promised to have some mysterious “secret ingredients” in the form of turkey legs and a turkey neck. For the rest of the year, I will be looking forward to the mystery ingredient that will, I hope, be revealed in the Thanksgiving

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