We all know that those who fail to learn from history are condemned to … well … uhhh … something or other.
But I digress.
Last weekend we went to a school-sponsored Santa Shop. The idea of the Santa Shop is that while the parents eat cookies and sip punch and listen to carols, volunteers help the kids do their Christmas shopping and wrapping so that the parents and siblings won’t know what they’re getting until the big day.
As we dropped our son off, we noticed that a large number of the volunteers seemed to be high-school aged, and shortly after that I ran into a former student who is now a history teacher at a well-regarded high school in the area. During the ensuing conversation, I remarked on the many high-school volunteers helping out, and the history teacher told me that most were students from his class.
It turns out, he explained, that he thought many of his students seemed stressed about their end-of-term history essays. So he decided to give them an option: Either (a) do the paper or (b) volunteer for a day at the Santa Shop.
Hmmm …. I found myself thinking: Equivalent academic credit for writing a history essay and helping kids buy and wrap gifts. (Insert sarcastic remark here.)
And I can’t help but wonder, as I work my way through grading a stack of essays and exams this week, whether part of the teacher’s calculation was to avoid having to read and evaluate those papers. Mutual accommodation reached by teacher and students, and the downward spiral continues.
Rant finished, let me now get back to grading that essay on Aristotle, the great German philosopher.