Thursday, December 17, 2009

A winter concert, bored kids and a (not so) surprise ending

Honestly, it felt a little sad.

These yawning, slightly bored children paraded up in front of their families to sing these silly songs. Even though the whole Bryan Adams effect was rather muted, 8 of the 12 songs were Christmas songs. In fairness though, the whole demeanour of the auditorium was rather tasteful. Lots of winter decorations, some big square newsprint presents with fancy coloured bow-ties, lots of snowmen, kids wearing winter clothes, big evergreens coloured with snow. Of course, on the stage there was a big green tree with a bright yellow star of david on top. Mostly tasteful and certainly within the realm of forgivable. 

But I sat through the concert feeling somewhat serene. I didn't feel angry but just feeling like the whole thing was a little unfortunate. The kids weren't having fun, there was no particular glee or joy or excitement. It seemed to me that the teacher's were very invested and had focussed so much into the event and it felt . . . a little empty. As though the school itself couldn't articulate a particular reason for doing what it had done and somehow, the kids understood this. Everyday for the last several weeks they had been pushed to try and perfect an essentially hollow objective.

My son is glad that it is over, "now they won't keep making us practice those songs and we can get back to learning." 

Appended are the closing remarks made by the principal. The intent, had been for me to write an initial statement that we would collaboratively edit. Of course, I had sent my version of the statement over a week ago and was finally sent the principal's remarks as a fait a accompli at 11:55 AM today, about an hour before the start of the concert. 

The statement itself is okay. But, it just so obviously fails to actually say anything. And that, seems to be the point of what I can glean from my foray into the heart of the school's ideology - beyond the passion of the Bryan Adams inspired nostalgic yearning, there exists vagaries, incoherent truths and self-satisfied expressions of inclusion. 

I suppose I shouldn't expect to find a transcendental experience in the public school system.

******* Winter Concert 2009

Closing Remarks–by K**** *’******** –
What a wonderful performance!
At Dickens, we try to ensure that all students feel a sense of belonging and feel connected to our school and their own heritage. We would like to acknowledge and recognize that our performance today included many songs about Christmas, and that there are many other holidays celebrated and faiths represented within our school community.  It is not only this performance but the many day to day activities that each child experiences at school that helps them feel - they are important. We believe in inclusion, which means that we make space to include all voices and all faiths of our community members.

I would like to thank all the students, the teachers, the parents and families for their hard work during the months of November and December – preparing for this wonderful performance, sharing their family traditions that they value with us and acknowledging that this season is one of giving, caring and instilling a sense of hope among all of us.

On behalf of the staff, our wish for you all - is to have a safe, healthy and happy winter holiday. Enjoy all your special traditions with those you love and include. We look forward to seeing you in January and continuing to work together to ensure the best learning environment for your children.


  1. "now they won't keep making us practice those songs and we can get back to learning."

    That is a superstar kid!

  2. It seemed to me that the teacher's were very invested and had focussed so much into the event and it felt . . . a little empty.

    That's exactly my definition of Christmas.
    Well, empty is the word to remember here.

    The whole thing is hilarious!

    Thanks for sharing amigo!