11 Things I Hate About the Canadian School System
Although many of these things may just be specific to School District 43 in British Columbia, I dare say many of them are provincial or national complaints.
Normally June is a great month, it’s typically fantastic weather and Summer begins so why do all the schools stop teaching and fill the days with field trips, sprinkler fun or other end-of-year parties and celebrations. My kids are not short of entertainment and don’t really need to go to school to run through a lawn sprinkler or visit the local water park. Like most Canadians we have two cars, pay through the nose for insurance, but are able to entertain our children outside of school. At school we expect them to learn things, that’s it. It’s school, not a social club or a recreation centre.
2. Pro-D Days
Approximately one day every two months is designated a ‘pro-d’ day which means that school is closed, or all of the schools in the distrct are closed. Why? For the Professional Development of teachers. Why can’t this be done in any of the other 12 weeks of the year when school is not in session. How about over Summer or during Christmas break? Teaching is a tough job and not one I’d do but come on, most of us only get two weeks paid vacation per year not 12, that’s almost 25% of the year off!
3. School Supplies
Why do parents have to provide the school supplies or pay for them every year? I hate stealth taxes and this is what it effectively is. I didn’t have to chip in to build the school and I’m not asked to pay the teacher’s salaries so why do we need to pay more to educate our children? It’s not like I have to pay the gas money when the fire department comes to stop my house from burning down.
4. Summer Break
How many studies exist that show that most kids forget what they’ve learned over the summer break? Plenty. Why do kids need 9 weeks off school? Most kids are also raised in families where both parents work, what are we supposed to do with them for 9 weeks? Daycare is astronomical and sending them to camps is just as bad. Can’t we reduce this break to 4 weeks and spread the other weeks around the year?
5. Stupid Parent Drivers Dropping Kids Off
We live on a hill which makes it treacherous when we get half-an-inch of snow as you can’t get up the hill without four wheel drive, snow tires or chains. However, it doesn’t seem to stop the stupid parents trying. Every Winter time the roads are blocked with stupid drivers over-estimating their skills or the capabilities of their vehicles.
And then when they do get to school, why do parents have to get out of their vehicle to open the door, chat with a friend or exchange pleasantries with a supervising teacher. Stay in your vehicle, get your kid to jump out by themselves and go. You’re holding up the line!
6. Stupid Parent Drivers Picking Kids Up
And when they’re not causing chaos dropping them off, they’re causing chaos at the other end of the day. At my daughter’s school they all try to turn left into the school grounds but when it’s full, they just sit on the main road with their left-hand indicator flashing. This is typically for around 5 minutes until the bell goes and the kids start leaving. So for 10 to 15 minutes these stupid drivers wait to turn left, fold into the queue of vehicles entering from the other direction and all through traffic have to negotiate around 20 cars.
It’s only going to take one emergency vehicle to be held up before all hell breaks loose. What’s wrong with going around the block or going past and turning around and only queueing on one side of the road? Is it really that difficult? Maybe some of these parents need to go back to Elementary School!
7. Impact to Local Roads
My son and daughter go to schools 8 blocks apart. Between these two school zones there’s another school, two playground zones, five stop signs and a marked crosswalk. If you obey the law this means you’re constantly changing from 30kph to 50kph and having to stop and start. Needless to say there’s always an incident in the morning with somebody running a stop sign, making an illegal left turn or stuck up your tailpipe trying to encourage you to hurtle through at 70kph. Sometimes I wonder why the urban planners didn’t stick in a big net so we can play their real-life game of mousetrap properly.
There’s rarely any police around which is a shame because they’d make a pretty good income from all the violations.
I’m no fan of homework as I think it’s an unnecessary burden for kids. If they haven’t mastered the material then making them do it at home without supervision is pointless and I’m not sure why I have to do that when I come home from work. I’d rather my kids stayed at school from 9 to 5 every day and came home with no homework. My son is very sporty and does every extra club at school so rarely finishes on time as there’s always something to do. He then has his official youth sports outside of that and sometimes he spends so much time doing these things that he’s up until Midnight doing his homework even though he’s already grasped the concepts of the work. What’s the point?
At least if you did keep the kids at school until 5pm it would fit into a working life better and mean we wouldn’t have to pay for daycare. Why do teachers get away with working a short day? Isn’t it enough to have 12 weeks off? I know teachers do other things outside of teaching a class but how much does the curriculum change every year? Do you really need to re-plan subjects all the time? Why aren’t teachers using technology more to take the mundane tasks out of their lives.
9. Grades 1 to 3
I don’t think any child needs three years of finger-painting and spelling competitions. Maybe if we started teaching the kids earlier we could actually improve their knowledge and make them more valuable. It seems that teaching only really begins at Grade 4.
10. School Uniforms
Why don’t schools have uniforms? At least this would stop the kids from wearing out their other nice clothes, especially when they all feel the need to wear labels and have nice shoes to match their peers. School uniforms had a great way of equalizing children and giving them less to worry about, way to go Canada.
11. Education Quality
I don’t think anybody can really appreciate the quality of the UK education system unless you come to Canada or the USA. Only when you see what they actually know at 16 compared to the UK can you understand why everybody here needs a degree. At 18 with good ‘A’ levels I knew the same as the average university graduate here. Although I think there’s a large gap between academic life and real life and the skills we’re taught are rarely practical, there is still a need to ease that transition.
In the UK, if you left school at 16 you could get a menial job. At 18 you could expect to be in a middle-class job whereas University would give you a professional job and an upper-middle-class lifestyle. In Canada, a university degree is barely enough to keep you away from McDonalds.