I am supposed to teach four classes on a Monday but twoo weeks ago I got a notice from the school administration informing me that my sophomore classes would be canceled today due to a double period of health education. My students were scheduled to be warned about he dangers of drinking and driving. This notice infuriated me as it meant I wouldn’t be able to go ahead with the project we’re working on at the moment. I could not help wondering why they could not use the numerous free periods these students have rather than teaching periods, unless they feared the kids would not turn up!
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that health education is essential and that young people take insane risks every weekend when they go out and drive back in a state of stupor due to the various products they have drunk or inhaled.
However I have my doubts about these lectures. I can’t help thinking that my students know about the risks involved; they probably know much more about drugs and alcohol than I did when I was a teenager. Information per se does not seem to be the problem, the problem is to get keep them from putting their lives in jeopardy whenever they are with their peers.
Still this is not the reason why I started this post in the first place. The point is that, when I arrived this afternoon, there was a short message on a board informing us that the health education lectures had been canceled. As could be expected, neither the students nor myself had our textbooks so picking up the lesson where we had left it was out of the question. It really angered me that nobody had deemed it important to phone me so as to let me know I would have to teach my classes while month ago they had called me about a graffiti.
It makes me wonder what the administration think our job consists in. Do they want us to supervise aimless teenagers until they go to college, drop out of school or look for a job (as the case may be) or do they want us to teach those kids? Do they realise that lessons cannot just be improvised, that you don’t devise a lesson out of the blue?
Education in my country, but apparently elsewhere too, seems so unimportant that it is maddening. We are supposed to prepare the young of today to be responsible adults but who really cares?