Wednesday, May 13, 2015


This school year, I think I have hit my absolute peak of productivity to date. I've been busier than I've ever been in my life... to begin with, I took on the job of beginning a high school choir, and I feel that these ten intrepid souls who dared to leap into the unknown have progressed far beyond my expectations. I still had my high school art classes, although they removed the 8th-grade art classes from my schedule -- which freed me up considerably. I miss having the junior high kids, though, because I really enjoyed having a peek at the upcoming high school kids... but on the flip side, the eighth-grade art classes were compulsory, which meant I had humongous class loads and quite a few kids who had absolutely no interest in the subject. So while I regret not getting to know the upcoming freshman class, I can really attest to the need for me to concentrate on high school alone.

All the while, I still have complete editorial control over the entire school district's yearbook, and responsibility over all district-wide photography issues. This year is my eighth year to do the yearbook, and I hope I continue to be granted that privilege -- some folks hate doing the yearbook, but I'm one of those perverse individuals who absolutely LOVE it and WANT to do it. That being said, the part I'm NOT fond of is the bookkeeping aspect of it. But I've adapted, since I love yearbook so much. External motivation works.

The last two weeks of regular school are upon me, which means every single thing about the yearbook that hasn't been done had BETTER GET DONE. So I'm scrambling.

And I also juggled requests from outside groups for artwork... but I feel confident that my art classes have been able to produce what was needed. Once graduation hits and I've submitted the completed yearbook, remind me to make a list of all the stuff I've managed to complete. [sigh]

Next Tuesday evening is the district's athletic banquet, where all the kids in sports get awards. Sports here are KING, QUEEN and PRIME MINISTER of EVERYTHING. Academics don't get much attention, regardless of the teachers' attempts to make inroads. No, if a kid ain't into sports, they don't get regarded with any sort of seriousness.

I attempted to make sure my son got at least a modicum of recognition in this department by trying to get him interested in the cross-country running team. Even if he was slow, at least he could still DO it. And yet during his eighth grade year he was diagnosed with asthma and the doctor recommended he not play sports. Since he really didn't enjoy any sort of sport at all anyway, it wasn't a hard choice. But my heart died just a little bit, because I know full well that kids who don't do sports, even a little bit, are completely disregarded by the majority of the district.

As an aside, I don't understand this approach. Not a single one of those parents, board members or booster club members are involved in professional sports. So why the HELL are they so consumed by them? I guess as a high school pianist and IQ nerd, I'm just not meant to understand the attraction.

Anyway, I'm certainly not the first fine-arts or academic teacher to complain about the inordinate dominance of high school sports, and I'm sure I won't be the last. But I'll be perfectly candid here: if there were NO athletics or phys-ed involved in public school, it would not disappoint me.

And I guess if I were being completely candid, I do not think that public education is the best way to go... which I KNOW won't make me any friends among my colleagues.

I tend toward the truly libertarian view that education is a commodity that should be subject to the free market. If you value education, you'll pay for it, and your kids will appreciate it. If you do not value education, your children will go uneducated, and they will suffer the consequences. And if your children are motivated to GET an education, they will seek it out and pay for it.

But that's unpopular, I know.

Whatevs. It ain't happening, so never fear.

Still, the undue emphasis on sports spending is obscene and insane. Share that amount with the fine arts department, why don't you? Professional actors make at least as much as professional athletes, and they're just as rare.

No comments: