How Will You Spend Thanksgiving?

If you are teaching in an International School there’s a high probability your school observes the Thanksgiving holiday. In the United States, Thanksgiving falls on the 4th Thursday of November and many International/American Schools around the world are closed both Thursday and Friday, affording students and teachers time with loved ones.

The giving of  thanks for a bountiful harvest is not unique to the U.S. Canadians celebrate on the second Monday in October — this earlier date is due to the fact Canada is North of the U.S. where harvest season ends earlier. China’s Autumn Moon Festival takes place late September or October and also celebrates the end of the harvest season. Korea’s Chuseok, Liberian Thanksgiving, Ghana’s Homowo Festival and The Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles are also celebrations emphasizing thankfulness.

ISR would like to know how YOU will celebrate the theme of Thanksgiving in your part of the world. Please complete our short Survey. Then fill us in on the details using the Comments section that follows.

23 Responses to How Will You Spend Thanksgiving?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Our school gives us a half day on Wednesday, and both Thursday and Friday off. We headed off to a tropical island and had lobster instead of turkey.


  2. Bemused says:

    “If you are teaching in an International School there’s a high probability your school observes the Thanksgiving holiday”

    Big cultural call there. No international school I worked in ever celebrated Thanksgiving. I did however get to celebrate a wide range of local celebrations.


  3. Kathleen says:

    My school does not give us the day off. So unfortunately it is just another day for us. We do have a Social committee that has arranged Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant for us on Saturday evening. This is a chance for all staff members to join together for a Thanksgiving meal. Last year we had a large turn out in the school cafeteria for two large turkeys that were donated to us by the school’s owner. Many of the local staff had never had turkey before this. So it was a great opportunity for all to come together and celebrate the holiday. The key thing is that the local and the foreign communities join together. What fun will be had!


  4. JMS says:

    We are an American school that celebrates all sorts of holidays from different cultures, even if we don’t always have the day off. On Thanksgiving, our elementary students helped prepare the meal (shucking corn, snapping beans, peeling potatoes, etc.) and everyone ate at the tables set up on the soccer field, while the PE class showed off their American football skills. On Sunday, our whole staff will gather at the director’s house for a turkey dinner prepared by the overseas teachers (American, Canadian, French, Singaporean, Syrian). We teach our students that it is a holiday to acknowledge what we are grateful for in our lives, and that many cultures around the world celebrate days of thanksgiving, too. It is sad to see that some are offended or even angered by the idea of American teachers sharing something as peaceful as a special meal from their own culture with their host country colleagues and international students. Wishing everyone a wonderful day of giving thanks!


  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ll celebrate with friends from school. My school is not one to do anything for the staff.


  6. Anonymous says:

    In Shanghai, 1/2 day for students, wonderful Thanksgiving assembly, curriculum work for staff until 3:30. Some staff off to travel; large number gathered for school subsidized turkey dinner, byob of wine, wonderful evening.


  7. Andrew42 says:

    We have a 4-day weekend here in Israel and I am going to rest, catch up on some schoolwork, read, cook chicken noodle soup, and maybe watch “Black Sails” before attending a basketball game at our school. Sounds boring but our school sponsored a teacher dinner last Saturday (about 50 attended) and then our stuco sponsored a high school pot-luck on Tuesday in the gym (about 200 attended) so we had turkey twice thanks to the planning of others. I understand the comments about recognizing other holidays but I would say lighten up, be thankful for the break to recharge your batteries whether it is a local, American, religious, or some other holiday. Keep the Faith!


  8. panderson64 says:

    Nothing, because we are an International School that treats all national festivals with respect and does not let one culture dominate or be seen as more significant than another. ISR didn’t ask us what we were doing for Divali so why Thanksgiving? One could argue Thanksgiving was last month so again, it sounds rather nation specific.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Nothing, as nothing is available and it’s certainly not celebrated here


  10. CMag says:

    It’s a normal teaching day here. My friends are from Zimbabwe, Australia, and England, so there won’t be much celebrating. I like to use the day to reflect on my life and give thanks for the things I have. After living in many developing countries over the years, my list is growing.


  11. Julie says:

    Flying to Sharm El Sheikh to help Egyptian tourism.


  12. Cedric Thompson says:

    Really. It infuriates me to see the word international juxtaposed with Thanksgiving. Great little introduction about harvest festivals but is that what schools celebrate with Thanksgiving? When this celebration incorporates a local tradition then I am ready. As a Canadian workibg abroad for the past several years I feel this pain every year. I have never wanted my local school to celebrate the CanAsian Thanksgiving but very year I have had to put up with the hype of American Thanksgiving forced upon faculty. Grrrrrr


    • Gobbler says:

      LOL. Good on you. You obviously have no real problems in your life if something this trivial infuriates you. Congrats!


  13. Richard Nottingham says:

    We had a traditional Thanksgiving last week as part of our professional development days and then on the weekend some friends gathered for more turkey and a movie. Today is an ordinary school day with nothing special happening except I am taking a couple of turkey feathers to class to share with the students.


  14. Me says:

    I will be having a delicious Thanksgiving meal at a local hotel with my lovely girlfriend. I have many things to give thanks for again this year!


  15. nachuur says:

    My school is open throughout the Thanksgiving period, but some friends from the American school in town are hosting a huge Thanksgiving feast that I will attend.


  16. Anonymous says:

    My school in Malaysia is open. My colleagues who are American will have small gatherings over the weekend.


  17. Tom says:

    I was interviewed on NPR in 2002 while serving as Superintendent of the Lahore American School. They wanted to know what we were doing for Thanksgiving and did we have turkeys. We did and we had a great day “saying thanks” with expat and local teachers!!


  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m actually back in the States on family business so I’ll be going over to my daughters house for Turkey Day.


  19. Anonymous says:

    I am working all day at school and attending a dinner at a local restaurant with my colleagues.


  20. catlady says:

    Grade 1 teacher from Jamaica is hosting a Thanksgiving party at school for her students (all local kids) with a turkey cooked by the Canadian High School teacher. No Americans were involved in the process.


  21. Anonymous says:

    A family had invited us to come over but did not follow through with the invitation. We will be doing nothing. The school does not acknowledge it.


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