I’d like to report to you something fascinating, devoted readers. My attendance for April 24, 2008. My first class, I had 19 out of 34 students show up. My second class, I had 11 out of 28 students show up, and in my final class of the day, I had 9 out of 26 students show up. When I had so many absences in my first class, I just thought it was an aberration, by my second class, I thought it was some kind of nefarious ditch day I wasn’t aware of. By my final class, I was convinced it was a nefarious ditch day, and come to find out, it was. Just a state sanctioned one.
What I’m talking about, is “Take Your Child to Work Day.”
At my previous school, I didn’t even give heed to the memos that went out, because so few students opted to go to work. Maybe there was a slight bump in absences, but nothing quite like the epidemic that I just experienced today. I want you to think about how hard it is when 3-4 students miss class and then need to be caught up. Now, think about my two classes, where over HALF of my class didn’t show. Can I ask you a question? That was redundant, because I’m going to anyway. Do you really think that all of those kids went with their parents to work? And do you think I’m going to call all of those homes to find out whether they did or not on my own personal time? (hint: the answer to both is no)
I’m sure that this semi-official holiday is well intentioned enough. “Let’s get our future workers/leaders excited about getting into the workplace!” But aside from the 5-10 percent of the youth that I actually trust my future with, do you know what these kids are thinking?
“Hellz yeah! No school!”
I fought a good fight to keep my first class on task, but after I picked my jaw off the floor upon seeing my numbers for my next classes, I was relegated to the dreaded “Make-up day” that teachers loathe (or is that just me?).
Might I suggest, to anyone in a position of influence, that we move this state sanctioned ditch day to a more appropriate date. How about some time between the months of June and August? Of course, this would rob many teachers of the opportunity to take their kids to work, but with the teacher retention crisis that we are facing in America, maybe it would be a good idea for us to avoid scaring our kids away from a career in education that early in their lives anyway.