Monday, October 7, 2013

my siblings are teachers and so i am wrong.

I have four siblings. Four intelligent, highly educated siblings whom are extraordinarily opinionated. I am the least educated of all of them but it doesn't seem to affect my opinionation. Which is not a word and I am educated enough to know that, however, on this here blog I tend to make up words that I think should already be words and I also think that it's stupid they are not.

But that's just my opinionation talking.

But what do I know? I don't have a doctorate, or a masters in education or a law degree. Or any degree, for that matter. They like to remind me when I whine about being the dummy in the family that I have a diploma. Or as I like to call it, the "participation award for two years of working my bum off in a field I would never ever work in again".

Thanks for coming out.

Whatever, I am getting a degree now and that has got to mean something to someone somewhere sometime.

Anyway, I'm sure it's just me being oversensitive because I am not the fancy pants my sibs are with their hoity toity degrees and such but when we get together and debate things such as religion or parenting I often leave feeling frustrated and way under appreciated for my thoughts and opinions. I'm sure they do too.

Actually, I am sure of no such thing. 

To witness a debate amongst my siblings and /or spouses is fun, so says the man. But, to be a part of it can either leave you feeling exhilarated, like you just took part in something intellectual after you consumed too much food and pop, which is truly an astronomical feat. Or it can leave you feeling beaten and unheard and, well......just not very smart. Like when we talk about the infamous Calgary Board of Education.

Ooooooh, the heat is on. And this is why.

I have a brother who is an Assistant Principal for a school in the the CBE. I have a sister who also taught for the CBE for many many years. So to argue with them about the CBE is like arguing with them about whether it's okay or not to live. They say live this way. And you say I want to live, just not like that and maybe I would like something a little bit different. And they say too bad, you have to live this way or you're not living right.

They are both of the opinion that they are right. So, if they are right and you don't agree, then you must be wrong.

See how that works?

Yep, that's how it is in my family. We either agree or we don't and if we don't then someone is wrong, because heaven forbid someone should just be different, and if you're wrong then there is no ending to the letting you know that you are the one wearing the wrong shirt. 

Which is neon. 
And blinks.
And honks. 

WRONG WRONG WRONG. Honk honk honk.

Yesterday, at a fun filled family lunch we got into it over the fact that I refused to pay $40 last week for one field trip for my son who is in grade 9. He also never brought home the form so I am basing this off what he told me. And I said, in my head, I just paid $55 for two other ridiculously over priced field trips this week and because I feel like being a jerk I'm not paying for this one too. 

So he didn't go.

And now I am a bad parent, an unsupportive parent, and apparently a giant pain in the ass to every single CBE teacher that has ever taught in the history of the CBE school system.

Whatever, I don't buy it.

"You don't realize how hard teachers work to provide these super amazing teaching opportunities for your kids" So, because I didn't pay for one field trip I have no realization about what teachers do? Ummmm....

"You have 6 kids, it's your fault your life is so expensive." Right. So, I guess I missed the part in child birth classes where they tell you to start saving up for field trips. Again, my fault.

"I don't know what your problem is, you have no issues dropping $25 to see a movie whenever you want." Okay, so since I can afford the field trips I should be happy to pay for a $40 walk in the woods? No see, that's not how I operate. Just because the funds are in my bank account doesn't mean I have to be happy about the cost of field trips. It's the principle of the matter. It's too expensive. I didn't say it's too expensive for me, just that's it too expensive. 

I get that as teachers, they have a level of empathy and understanding for teachers and the crap they put up with I will never have. This is fair enough. They are both amazing educators so there is no question as to how hard they work to provide a quality education for their students and also their own kids.

Neither one of these siblings has a child over 8.

So, this is where I say I am entitled to my disdain for the over priced field trip by reminding myself that I have been doing this for twice as long as them. And that when my kids were their kids ages I was paying $6.50 for a field trip. I can remember when $12 was a really high end field trip.


Well, you might knowwhatimean, but my brother and sister sure as heck don't. And they never will, because they are teachers. And parents who will have $40 field trips be their norm. It is not my norm and I don't like it and because I don't like it I am going to say it out loud every now and then and that does not make me wrong. It doesn't mean that I am never going to send my kids on field trips, because I am, and I do, but that also doesn't mean that I have to like it every single time. Also, not wrong. And while I applaud teachers and all they do and one hundred percent recognize I could never be one, I also am painfully aware of my siblings inability to understand the mentality of the sweepingly generalized "ignorant parent".

People like me. Unless I am the only one. In which case I am a total jerk. I accept that. 

I refuse to believe, much to their anguish and dismay, that if they weren't teachers, they'd be totally okay with the price of these trips. I also refuse to believe either one has spent as much as I have on any one of their kids trips this year thus far. They'll argue me to my death on that, because that's what they do, but it doesn't change the fact that I still don't believe it. And another thing I don't believe is that I am the only parent who cringes when their kids hand over field trip notices. 


And also, when my siblings, or their spouses, accuse me of doing things I don't do my britches light aflame like no other. But I'll save that for another day.

For what it's worth, since I have written this post, I have happily paid another $48 for two field trips. That's a total of $145 in the past 11 school days for 5 field trips for 4 children. According to my teacher siblings I should be rejoicing in this glorious opportunity to spend money on an education I already spent money on, but apparently I didn't?, when I wrote those gigantic cheques not even 7 weeks ago.

Yesterday, at lunch, at my teacher brother's house, his wife shut this debate down with a well practiced evil eye and a pointer finger before I was even remotely near done and so I dedicate this post to her. And her wicked looks. And that wicked pointer finger. And her punctured uterus....which isn't supposed to be punctured......but is....because doctors are jerks and maybe this can be the topic of our next family debate.

The end.


  1. Wow. What are families who don't have the extra money or are on a limited income supposed to do? Sure, it really sucks for the child to be left out but I cannot imagine this is an issue for only your family. That is a ton of money. While I can appreciate that it is probably an amazing learning opportunity, I think that teachers need to be sensitive to the fact that they are putting parents in an extremely crappy position which leaves them to be the bad guy. I'm with you on this one.

  2. Uggh, families! I hear you! In my family we argue a lot also. (debate?) haha. I also do not have any fancy initials to accompany my name and my siblings and parents do. We disagree on a lot of things and, like in your family, if you don't agree with them then you are WRONG! I have given up caring and refuse to fuel their close-minded arguments anymore. Opinions are like nipples, everybody has one. Some have firm points, others are barely discernible through layers, and some are displayed at every opportunity regardless of whether the audience has stated "I am interested in your nipples" or not.

  3. I'd have to say I'm with you on this topic as well. Don't even get me started on all our issues on the way schools are taught. And for the record, Cam feels the same way as me and look at all the fancy education he has! He's been at the University for 20 years and has numerous degrees.... So, would that make Cam more right because he's well educated?

  4. I'm not sure who you're talking about, but your siblings sound awesome!

  5. Every family their issues. My family was full of lawyers, legal secretaries and a cop, so I totally know how overwhelming this can feel. True, they likely have more expertise than you when it comes to pedagogy, but that doesn't mean your opinion is wrong. I would think they would welcome diverse comments. I know I appreciate it when others reveal how they don't agree with my opinion, but not everyone is that open. As for paying for field trips. Don't get me started. I thought I was the only one who couldn't stand this practice.

  6. I completely agree with everything you've said here. A $45 field trip had better be something special, but methinks it is not anything better than paying for two adults fares into the Telus Spark Centre. Just because you have 6 kids, does not mean that should be ready to pony up your hard earned dollars. I only have two kids and I'd be wincing at these absorbent costs too.
    I wonder... WHY the Teacher finds this field trip worthy and could they themselves AGREE that the cost is worth it? Education is not designed to be exclusionary --- ESPECIALLY IN PUBLIC school, but organizing a field trip at this high cost becomes an event that some might have to go without.

    We are in Rockyview and while I have paid out of pocket for a few field trips, it often only covers the cost of the bus or perhaps something special that they will bring home with them (like a pumpkin from the corn maze). I'd be keeping my kids home too or applying for subsidies, because really, if no one applies for the aide that exists, they'll assume no one needs it. So get out your pen and start applying -- show them and tell them THIS IS TOO MUCH !!

  7. Too bad siblings aren't like diapers. When they're full of... poop you change them.

  8. $145 in 11 days! that is a lot. I grew up in a small town so we went on field trips once a year at most. Typically it was one big one in grades 6, 8 and 10 I think. We went to Drumheller for camping and the museum, Calgary for the Zoo and to see a "show" (aka Stagewest) and Edmonton for the legislature. While field trips are important and can add to education we must also think about how they affect the school as a whole.
    I find all educated people (and I am one) have a hard time understanding that all opinions count and consideration of them can come up with some very creative solutions. But teachers (my mom is one) will always maintain they have the most important job and "you could never do it" and engineers will argue till the death that "engineering is the hardest program in university!"
    My husband once said "You need to learn to agree with me!" um nope sorry not how it works. As long as you are respectful debate on my friend

  9. I too am degree-less and there were many a time when the, "well you don't have a degree" or "you don't have a career, my husband is a teacher, that's a career!" conversations happened. What happens to people when they get those letters behind their names? Do they lose perspective? What makes them think that my 25 years of real experience is any less value that 4 years of school? Stand up to them and let them know that you are every bit as intelligent, if not more, than they are and that their bullying is not acceptable.

    I have to agree with you. My sister and her husband are both teachers and lord help you if you have any opinion on the hallowed grounds of a school teacher. My mom, and grandparents were all teachers. So the depth of the defence system runs deep. It's ironic that my grandparents never argued about how amazing and important teachers are. They taught because it made a difference. My grandfather was a principle and loved guarding over his young learners. Lots of pride.

    The school fees are getting out of control and field trips are often of little educational value. Thank goodness field trips seem to have ended in High School. Field trips shouldn't be offered if there is a risk of alienating any student who may not be able to financially attend.

  10. I'm with you on this one - although, hey, I'm degree-less too, so who knows if it "matters". Schools can charge crazy amounts sometimes. My school just had a nice reasonable one at least - $1.50 for busing to the city hall :) But this same school started a Bring Your Own Device thing this year "encouraging" all kids to bring in a chromebook or other laptop. Not exactly in everyone's budget, whether valuable or not in the education system.

  11. Degree or no, that is way WAY too much to be paying for field trips. That's insane!

  12. I would encourage you to a) speak to your children's teachers in person and politely let them know that you would prefer not to participate in field trips that have an associated cost and b) get firm details about the learning outcomes addressed on the field trip and how your child will still have the opportunity to master those outcomes while he/she is at school that day.

  13. It's going to be so great when your siblings kids get older and they have to pay that money with a smile on their face and they're all aw crap i'm a teacher and I don't have money in the the bank, my sister was right. I can say that cause my husband is a school teacher and I know this to be true! I will add that my husband is a great teacher who loves his job and therefore volunteers way too much of his time and has never written a letter of either of his degrees after his name.

    1. My siblings are great teachers too. No question. They are supportive of the system and I could to stand to learn a bit from their example. However, I'm the rebel in the family. And also stubborn.