07 October 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days: #52

#52: Apathy

Today I hosted a fashion show for our Afterschool Program. Originally planned for the high school, it ended up being mostly attended by the middle and some elementary students. In a way it was a success. The high school band played. The models enjoyed themselves and so did the attendees but there were some snafus and a lot of it comes down to apathy.

always ask me is California different than NY and I want to smack them for two reasons, because: 1) of course it's different and 2) any way, besides the obvious, that it's different is hard to put into words. But when talking about children or students, it's really easy for me to pinpoint the differences.

First and foremost, West Coast kids have been taught that they do not have to give respect to adults. They've been taught that people have to earn their respect whereas on the East Coast for the most part you're told that adults have the respect until they lose it. Now if a child was being willful or openly disrespectful and I was in NY, I'd think "that child has no home-training", here I think "that child was probably told that by their parents".

Secondly, children here are far more entitled. Even though I think there's been a general uptick in entitlement over the past decade, here it's an epidemic. The things I've had students basically demand without any sort of recognition or effort on their part is astounding. It boggles the mind. But it's hard to tell a child that hard work matters when they get brand-new iPods for "D" grades.

But the most annoying thing is the apathy. One of the characteristics that I enjoy about California schools is the idea that we want to give kids a voice and empower them to make decisions. What frustrates me is that when "opinion" and "entitlement" collide you get "apathy". Basically, everything I do is "wrong" but when you look for solutions or ideas, it's still "wrong". Everyone wants to tell you what they
don't want to do, but no one knows what they do want to do. And it's not every student. Those who did get involved today had a great time but right now, I've hit my level of apathy. I'm done.

If you have any suggestions let me know, because I'm just about through.

No comments: