Bridges, not Barriers

Recently I attended an event with both current and retired teachers. At my table the conversation came around to storm days and the impact on education. At one point the youngest participant spoke.

What get’s me, is parents who take their child out of school to go on a family trip.” He obviously wasn’t impressed when parents would do this.

What surprised me was the fact that this was a teacher early on in his career. A comment like this I tended to associate with the old guard.

I didn’t say anything but I recalled the conversation I had with a student a few years before I retired.

Mr Caines, my parents are travelling to X and they want me to come along. I’ll be missing a week of school.”

Wow, this sounds like fun. You should stop by someday at noon and I’ll go over what you’ll probably be missing.”

Should I take my chemistry text on this trip.”

Absolutely not.”


Look, if you take school work and you don’t do, you’ll feel guilty. Go, enjoy the trip. Learn something new each day. When you come back we’ll get together and I’ll help you get caught up.”

That week in the staff-room I overheard a colleague referring to the same student. “His parents are taking him out for the week. I told him that he would be on his own getting caught up when he returns. Family trip during school time. I’m not giving him 1 minute of my time.”

Really folks? Really? Let’s not take ourselves too seriously. We (teachers) don’t have a monopoly on education. We’re all on this planet together. Let’s find ways to help each other along. Education is about bridges, not barriers.

Don’t let school get in the way of your education

                                                                                                                                                  M Twain

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2 thoughts on “Bridges, not Barriers

  1. I absolutely agree, Gary! I used to have parents come to me in fear and trepidation about taking kids out for a trip-I told them that the trip would teach more to that child in a week than I ever could. I kind of wish those who planned hockey tournaments might plan fewer-not none at all , but fewer- during school time though.


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