Sunday, September 16, 2007

Football weekend lowlights

Dragged a friend to my school's Saturday afternoon football game. Perfect weather: about 65 degrees and sunny. And that was the only perfect thing about it.

Later, over beers, my friend told me just how depressed he was the rest of the day after the game. "See?" I said. "Now maybe you understand what I have to deal with each and every day at work."

Here are some of the highlights from the game:
  • Completed passes by our team: 2
  • Penalties: 10+
  • Injured players: 2
  • Hard hits: Tons
And the lowlights:
  • Number of parents at the game: 3
  • Teachers: 2 (counting me)
  • Alumni: 2
  • Cheerleaders: 0
  • Administrators: 1 (the principal hung out with the team on the sidelines)
My friend now thinks he understands the key to improving city schools: "Parental involvement." Get people to support their children, and you'll get better results, he thinks.

"You don't get it," I said. "That's the problem. It's Saturday, and parents don't come out to the game. And if so few people support their kids on the team, imagine how few support their children academically."

In the end, our team lost, 8-6, but then again, if our team wins or loses, and no one's there to see it, does it really matter?


jenska said...

How about parental support? I agree that parents need to do everything they can to be involved in their child's academic life. you've mentioned, a lot of kids are living with only one parent or other guardians. I think the root problem is that in the U.S. parenthood isn't really valued, and it is especially difficult for single parents to have the time and energy needed to participate. How many of the football players have a parent who is working a shift on Saturday? If a parent has to choose to save up their days off for being home when they or their chilid is sick vs. extracurrricular activities, they don't really have much of a choice.

Sure, there are probably a lot of lazy parents out there, but there's got to be a better reason parents aren't participating...I hope.

Mr. Molitor said...

I was the friend. I guess as an outsider non teacher it's easy for me to comment on the state of chicago schools. What really bothered me the most is that is how the apathy was almost expected from everyone. If this is what the rest of the school life is like, I can truly see how our schools are failing.

appopt said...

It's not the schools that are failing, my friend. Or at least not just the schools. A large segment of society is failing. But the thing is this: As a country, are we hurt by having so many poor, uneducated people? Or do we want (and need) them to fill all the undesirable, low-paying, service-industry jobs that our economy has created? Jobs that require parents to work on weekends so they can't even support their children's extracurricular efforts.

christian said...

Good point about many parents working so hard to make ends meet that they can't support they're kids in school. One the otherhand, if there's a will, there's a way.

middleson said...

in my experience, it matters to the students that you were there. even if they don't play or if they don't win or if they don't do well in your class...they like to ask if you were there and enjoy hearing that their activity was important enough to you, for you to be there.

at least, that's what i tell myself.

The Mom said...

If you keep writing about the poor turnout at our games, it's gonna make me want to become supportive. Please don't let that happen! I can't be everybody's mom....

Anonymous said...

100% agreement with ctristian. If the parents, teachers, and friends are truly supportive they will surely find a way to be there (not at every game perhaps but at as many as they can.) What's important is the group effort- if there's at least a few parents at each game things will change in no time.