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As I was speaking to students this week about next week’s plans, and how we’ll be finishing up before spring break, several students informed me that they would not be in school next week.   The reasons varied: volleyball tournaments, trips to Florida for spring training, going to Mexico, and of course, Disneyworld.  When I asked them if they realized how much work they would be missing, I mostly got shrugs and a generic chorus of  implied “who cares.”  But one response in particular really made an impression.  One of the traveling students came up to me after class to apologize for his upcoming absence, but told me his parents didn’t think missing a couple of days of school would matter.   Now, as a teacher who works hard every day to design lessons, to try to teach in innovative and meaningful ways, and to find assessments that truly gauge a student’s learning, I was offended by this comment.  What exactly do parents think is happening in school each day?  Is learning less important at the grade school level?  And is there an assumption that students can learn this material without guidance or direct instruction?  Is it also assumed that upon their return, they can possibly make up what they’ve missed?  Unfortunately, a student’s vacation results in extra work for teachers: additional instruction time, the reteaching of lessons, notes and handouts, and redesign of  make-up assessments. I had to shake my head in disbelief as I realized what is valued: anything but education or educators.  And that is a sad realization.

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