Should apathy be part of the curriculum?

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I am tentative about wading into the topic of the on-going Ontario Teacher’s Action in response to Bill 115, but sometimes it’s hard not to say something.

I had some really great elementary and secondary teachers. My kids have also had some fantastic teachers. I respect them and I support them, but there comes a time when my patience begins to wear thin.

It’s kind of like when your neighbour’s kid comes to the door to ask you to help finance the 11th hockey tournament he is attending this season. [Side note: if you choose to put your child in a sport – then YOU should pay for it, otherwise I’m going to start sending my son over to ask for money to help pay for his next BMX bike.]

I want to support the teachers, but I also want them to resume that extra they did. I’m selfish that way.

We have had many a discussion about this at home. It gets pretty interesting with the mix of my vocal pro-union husband, my somewhat apathetic kids, and my HR “now let’s see it from all sides” view.

School is a place to learn and the teachers are doing what they need to ensure that this is happening. What is not happening are the extracurriculars: sports, clubs, field trips, lunch-time help, basically any activity that does not occur in the classroom. So what the kids are not getting is the full experience – they are punching in and punching out. No frills, no fuss. Just a lesson in apathy.

In the short-term, this action may seem like its inconvenient and unfortunate for the students, but I wonder about the long-term effects.

My highschool experience with extra-curricular school activities was pretty pathetic (by choice). I did well in my classes, but I also worked a 15-20 hours/week at part-time job, so my focus was more on this. And hanging out with my friends.

In fact my son couldn’t believe that I wasn’t on any kind of team or anything (because I’m really sporty, riiiiight). However, I did get to correct him on this. When I was a junior, I was part of the volleyball team. The senior boy’s volleyball team. As the manager. Oh yeah, I may not have been sporty, but I wasn’t stupid. Good times, good times.

Whether I played on a school team (I did not), liked the cheesy lunch-time activities (not) or the dances (yes) is irrelevant. They were part of the school experience and also a great place to learn and interact with the teachers in an informal setting. It frustrates me that this is what my kids are missing out on.

And honestly, any action that takes away my daughter’s opportunity to sit on the bench with a bunch of cute sweaty guys. Well, that just can’t be right.

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