Which Came First

20 Feb

I think I may be the Grinch that stole high school. Well, I can’t really be, because I don’t have the authority, but that doesn’t stop me from voicing my opinion, and possibly impeding the world’s grand plans.

I hate extra-curricular. No, wait, I actually think they are brilliant and essential. However the way they are implemented in high schools is retarded and is a detriment to students. First and foremost is the curriculum, then comes the extra-curricular.

I fail to understand why my curriculum is constantly second to G.O, Chessed, Play, Yearbook, Mishmeres, and whatever other program that is supposed to be taken care of after hours. I fail to understand why my period are cut short or taken away, why half my student body is missing, why I can’t assign any homework or tests at certain times and why I have students calling me a night before my midterms requesting to be excuse of so much class time missed it would be impossible to make up all the work.

Look, I get it, extra-curricular are meant to give the girls an outlet, a diversion, a place to shine, be themselves, find deeper meaning, make friends, teach responsibility and all other very important social aspects of life. However, that is not the point and purpose of school. School is for education, and knowledge, development of thought, and character, all these goals can be achieved in the classroom, and lunchtime.

Extra-curricular is called that, because it is in fact –extra, a boost, not essential. It should be available only on extra – time, mainly after school. It should not interfere with the general schooling at all. Yes, I understand it is difficult for students to juggle both; they therefore need to make a choice, do they want to focus on their studies, or is what they’re gaining in extra-curricular worth a lower grade.  And lucky is the girl who can do it all without consequence.

School administration need to realize that they are in fact defeating a lot of their educational goals through the lofty aspirations of what extra-curricular is supposed to achieve.

My students are more whiny and complain when their schedule isn’t perfect,

“but we have to practice for Shabbaton.”

They are more likely to give excuses,

“I’m couldn’t do it, I’m a play head.”

And these things are validated in their minds because the school allows and promotes it.

They don’t learn the value and respect of education, rather just the importance of their own vanity – after all extra-curricular is supposed to make them feel good about themselves.

The school administration hands them their cake on a silver platter, lets them eat it in my class, and leaves me to sweep up the crumbs.


Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Teaching


Tags: , , , , ,

7 responses to “Which Came First

  1. martin short

    February 20, 2012 at 1:23 am

    you sound grumpy and disgruntled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • TooYoungToTeach

      February 21, 2012 at 12:45 am

      Excellent observation Watson.

      Gave my midterm today, I think 4/5th of the class failed, one girl handed it in completely blank. Not one girl complained of the difficulty of the test, just of a million other circumstance that hindered their performance,

      “It’s the last midterm.”
      “It was given with Chumash, which is really hard.”
      “Taking tests in the Lunchroom with the whole school is very distracting”
      “I started the test late, because I finished the other one late.”
      “We got our Seminary answers and I had to talk to people and I didn’t have time to really study.”
      “Well, we got accepted to Seminary, so…”
      “I couldn’t concentrate, I’m too ready for vacation.”
      “I missed a lot of your class…I tried to make up the work”

      and a whole bunch of other excuses, I’ve been approached, or received phone calls from about 1/2 my students explaining themselves away…that doesn’t help me mark a lot of F’s.

  2. Princess Lea

    February 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

    When my BY did concert, I was crabby. I wasn’t really interested in it (despite my superb acting ability) since I was forced to stay up at night to practice, which usually left me with horrible colds.

    “Every girl a chance to shine” (blows raspberry). If by shining one has three options: song, dance, or drama. There are other abilities, you know.

    My mother was certainly furious how they took away from school hours for it, and how kids were coming to class exhausted from practicing till midnight. I decided to join playbill so I wouldn’t have to be stuck with practice.

    My neighbor’s daughter is 8, and she had to go practice until 11 at night! That’s nuts!

    If the school wants to do a concert, then it shouldn’t be done during the school year. They should say, “If you girls finish everything in the curriculum, we can devote the last couple of weeks of school to concert.” I doubt then the kids would be that interested.

    • TooYoungToTeach

      February 21, 2012 at 12:48 am

      Yeah, I love how the only opportunities to “shine” are in theatrics!

      And have you seen the mediocrity of these performances? I told my husband I can’t go to them anymore, it’s not good for my yiddishkeit – I end up talking too much lashon horah.

      • Princess Lea

        February 21, 2012 at 11:00 am

        Ha! Same here! I end up mumbling under my breath how laughable the whole thing is. The mothers clutching balloons really gets to me. My mother never wanted to come to school productions; I was very young when I realized why. I wasn’t insulted.

        And who has to “shine”? Isn’t that not tznius? (Snort).

    • edna88

      March 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      obviously your abilities “shone” or is it shined?- we do have an english teacher who is in charge of this blog- in school. whether it was in teh classroom academically or socially with your friends you didnt feel teh need to express yourself in school. Obviously you felt comfortable walking down teh hallway not caring that your never picked for anything extra in school-whether its to head the shabbaton or be the one to run to the store because the office staff needed something- and your talents were tapped into. What about that shy girl in teh class that no one knew had a good voice until the end of 11th grade. If people would have known about it earlier they would have asked her to be part of more choirs leading to hopefully more opportunites for friends.

      I never acted, sang or danced in a school or camp play voluntarily. i felt uncomfortable when I was on stage prancing about or doing motions to a stupid song that i barely knew teh words to. when i had the chance to be part of technical i grabbed it this way only had to be busy with play the week of and not have to fit practice into my schedule.

      and yet i still believe in it. so many girls do get to shine in this opportunity. in the big scheme of things of which we call life does it make a difference the grade this girl gets on her midterm? or should we focus on the part where she gets to be surrounded by people and hopefully make friends or even just 1?

      why does everything have to be about the curriculum and what they learnt/finished that year?
      there are many more ways of learning and it doesnt need to come from a sefer, textbook or a teacher.

  3. TooYoungToTeach

    March 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I believe in extra-curricular, think its very important and beneficial for children (teenagers). However, when it takes precedence over class, and general education, I just think it gives children very mixed messages on priorities. Extra-curriculars are extra, and should be after school, not instead of school. If a parent wants to develop his/her child’s talent or give them oppurtunities to “shine” and make friends, sign them up for a class after school or on Sundays. It is not the school’s responsibility to make a child popular.


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