Apathy, it’s an Epidemic
One of the biggest problems in our school is the hallway. The hallway isn’t just a long corridor that runs from one end of the building to the other with classrooms stemming from each side. The hallway represents something much larger. It is a pathway to a positive outcome, an education. If a student makes it down the hallway and enters the classroom, they have made the right choice that day. The hallway concept might not mean anything to you if you haven’t taught at a school where many students don’t reach the classroom door and enter on a regular basis. Considering those many students who don’t make the decision to attend class, what about them? What prevents them from doing so?
Many of the teachers and administrators want to make excuses as to why these students can’t come to class. They enable the students’ behavior by labeling the student as at-risk because of their neighborhood, socio-economic status, gang affiliation, criminal record, birth order or even the weather. Someone actually told me not to expect students to attend on rainy days. Every excuse they can muster up to put a band aid on the real big problem that know one wants to recognize, apathy.
Apathy is what prevents these students from walking down the hallway to attend their class. If someone really wants something, they’ll make sure that they get there and are accounted for. For example, income tax refunds. As soon as they are available you’ll see a whole block of people lined up around the building waiting to get their refunds. Nothing prevented them from getting there. Or, do I say without being called every name imaginable, the welfare line. No one would dream of not showing up to get government assistance. Standing in those lines can be an all day event filled with frustration, but people do what they need to do to survive.
It seems that it comes down to a value system. Money and food stamps are valuable, yet education is not. If it were valuable then people would show up to get it just like they do on the first of the month.