Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Broken

It's spring break here.
Saying that, though, I'm not sure if it has any meaning left.

Let's look at it like this:
You have some "typical" corporate job, and it's a drag, and you have vacation time so you decide to use it. You go to your boss and tell the management asshole that you want to use some of your vacation days to take a week off of work. Your boss gives you that "boss" look and says, "Sure, that's fine. You can skip coming into work next week but, while you're at home, I want you to work on a couple of special projects and bring them back to me complete after your vacation."

"But I wasn't going to stay home..."

"Well, you better just plan to take them with you, then. And make sure you do a good job. Your next raise will depend on it."

What do you do, right? All you want is some time off, a vacation, but you're given even more work to do and there's no real way to get out of it even if it's wrong and, if that kind of thing actually happened to someone, probably illegal.

I don't actually know if that kind of thing happens or not, but I do know that the United States has more unused vacation days than any other country in the world. Why? Fear.
People are scared to use their time off because they worry that taking the time off will reflect poorly on them... in some way or other.
Which is not the point of this post.

It's spring break here.
Spring break is like vacation for kids. Or that's the idea, right? They're kids, and they need a break from school every once in a while. A vacation.
I remember when it was like that. When I was a kid, it was like that. School was out, and there was nothing to worry about for a solid week. Unless you were one of those kids who had put off normal school work and had to use spring break to catch up on that work, but, then, that was on you.

I remember the first time I got a significant assignment over break. It was over summer break between middle school and high school, and I was assigned books to read over summer break. Three or four of them. One of the books assigned was a book I already loved, and I never minded reading assignments; still, I remember feeling like it wasn't okay for them to do that. BUT! I excused it because I was going to be going to a different kind of high school... It was one of the first magnet schools in the country, not that you can turn around anymore without bumping into some kind of magnet or charter school, but, at the time, it was still this kind of experiment, and we didn't know the kinds of changes it would bring... like homework during summer breaks.

And, damn, my daughter is on spring break, and she has a shit-ton of homework. Her English teacher assigned a major project which is due on Monday after break. No, this is not one of those things where my daughter put it off and, now, has to do it over spring break (she never does that); the teacher scheduled a test for the Friday before break, then took 20 minutes of their test-taking time to explain their 200 point spring break assignment. That's just bullshit.

And she has a buttload of chemistry homework. Her teacher assigned them, basically, a homework assignment for each day of break, including the two weekends, as if they were still going to be in school. My daughter already spends two to three hours a night doing chemistry homework, so she's going to be spending that same time on chemistry over her vacation, too.

Not mention that she got homework in history and Spanish, also. Including watching a movie for history class that most of the students will have to pay to rent, another thing I don't find to be okay.

Oh! And she has softball practice and a game during spring break, too.

Excuse me, but what the fuck? Seriously, what the fuck?

My daughter already spends basically all of her time being stressed about school and had been looking forward to a little time off from that; now, she gets to spend all of spring break being even more stressed about school. Why? Because we actually planned (months ago) a small trip during break, the first time we've done that in something like four years (and only the second time we've ever done it), and, now, my daughter has to balance the trip against all of the fucking schoolwork she has to do.

And that's just wrong.
Inherently wrong.

Not that I blame the teachers. Not exactly. They're just part of a system that no longer works, as has become abundantly clear in the news in the last couple of weeks (and, yes, it's all related), and doing the best they can, which includes burying their students in homework and waiting to see who can rise above it all.

Perform monkey! Perform!

No, I don't have any ideas on how to fix it.
Yeah, I'm lying, but what does it matter if I have ideas about what's wrong with the education system in our country? I'm sure you have ideas, too, and those ideas are probably not the same ideas.
Mine are just better. 😏
[Oh, look! My first post emoji!]
So, no, I don't have ideas on how to fix it; I'm just pointing out an issue. Bringing it up. Not that I expect anything to come of bringing it up; sometimes, you just want to put it out there.
Of course, this isn't the first time I've brought up the crushing amount of homework my kids get, and it probably won't be the last time, either.


  1. I hear ya. I don't have kids and I don't have a spring break like the one you are talking about, but work should stay at work. Sometimes I wonder if all I'm meant to do in life is work, pay bills, and then die. It's very sad, but I intend to secure a good retirement. Maybe I'll have ten good years at the end wherein I can frolic and do whatever I want whenever I want before dementia or other such health frailties descend upon me. But yeah...working for another person and having them delegate constant work to you is hell on earth.

    1. Michael: Yes, the system is broken. And always has been.
      Maybe robots will change that.

  2. In my district, spring break is still tied to Easter, so we don't go until late April.

    That is an insane amount of homework. The only teachers who assign a significant amount of homework around here are AP teachers, because the AP test is coming up pretty quickly.

    1. Liz: She has a lot of honors/AP classes this year BUT she has always had this amount of homework even before she had all the honors classes.
      Even in elementary school, they had more homework than what I would consider reasonable.

  3. I remember when I had my wisdom teeth out sophomore year during spring break--actually, the Thursday before. So I had two "extra" days off, but I was going to be spending them getting minor surgery. My English teacher assigned me and anyone else who was leaving early a book to read. And only us. Just because. I even had teachers in middle school who assigned work over SUMMER vacation. God forbid you give a kid a break, right?

    1. Jeanne: Yeah, I don't know. The whole thing is ridiculous. And it's obviously not helping us in our global education standings, so...