Activities and the Things That Irritate Me About Them

MMIsoapboxAs we approach the end of the program year — as in, when all the programs also offered to school children end — I’ve been thinking about the activities that went well in general and those that we will most likely not repeat due to their ranking on the scale of irritation.

It’s a scale I pretty much invented that starts at zero, with the slight buzzing of a fly somewhere in the room, and ends at ten, with a cacophony of nails against a chalkboard punctuating bees swarming around the dentist’s chair in which I sit whilst having every tooth drilled and soaking my feet in a bucket of poison ivy.

Here we go…

Things that irritate me:

In the 9 to 10 range, we have this special treat: Teachers of paid classes who talk on the phone during class (barring emergencies).  We once had a teacher who scheduled his massages during the basketball class he taught.  That class cost $10.00 per student per meeting time.  His phone calls usually lasted between 5 and 10 minutes out of an hour long class.  Therefore, he wasted between .83 and 1.63 per student per class.  That adds up over time.  Plus, its just plain rude and inconsiderate.  Dolt!!

In that same range, between 9 and 10, I offer this one: Paying a ridiculous amount of money for dance classes, then paying for costumes, then having to pony up another $110.00 for tickets for just my immediate family to go see my daughter dance in two dances.  Uh–huh.  I wish it were like the credit card commercials and I could list all the prices, followed by “seeing my daughter light up the stage: Priceless.”  She’s going to be on that stage with her whole class, though.  I’ll be lucky if we can even tell who she is in the video (the one we have to buy because doing our own recording is not allowed).  Somebody is making a heck of a lot of money on my what my daughter wanted to do “for fun” this year.  Next year she’ll be dancing “for fun” in our living room with the Flashdance CD.

Between 7 and 9: Organizations that charge an inordinate amount of money and then still require loads of volunteer hours from the parents.  Choose one or the other, people; one or the other.

Close to the 7 to 9 range would have to be this little gem: Charging money for a child to participate and then asking the child to go out and fundraise.  Again, my friends, might we choose one or the other here?  I am happy to do fundraising for free and inexpensive activities.  I am not thrilled about it when I have already shelled out a large chunk of money just to enroll my child in the activity in the first place.

In the 6 to 8 range, we have the following: requirements for hair that do not take all children into account.  A child with extremely curly hair will never ever be able to smooth all that hair “straight back and flat” no matter how hard they try.  A child with short twists will never be able to put their hair in a bun.  A child with long locks or braided extensions cannot use bobby pins.  Nor can they wear any hats that might catch on their hair (unless a very patient, kind, gentle someone with oodles of time will be helping them remove said hat).  A child with a paper-thin head of hair in a bob cannot keep fly-aways tame.  And, here’s the thing, not one single parent attending that performance cares that all the children’s hair looks the same.  In fact, it freaks some of us out.  It is the reason my daughter does not do Irish Dancing.  Have you seen those freaky identical wigs?  It’s not natural for everyone’s hair to bounce at the same time.

Hovering somewhere between 5 and 7 is one that occurs far too often: Parents sending their child to an activity that the child clearly does not what to do and, therefore, takes it out on the entire class by sucking up every bit of attention the teacher or facilitator has to offer.  Sweet parents, if Little Boo wants to write poetry instead of playing baseball or what have you, please buy him a notebook, a good stock of pens, and a timeshare under a tree.  Don’t make him join the baseball team.  Just don’t.

In the middle range is this one: Parents who bring their children to an activity late when the activity is dependent upon collective participation.  If the event cannot start until everyone is there, then the lost time is a waste of money, and it is frustrating for the students whose parents worked hard to get them there on time.

Finally, for the pista de resistance, climbing back high in the 9 to 10 range, we have my favorite activity irritation: Teachers who assume that their activity is the one and only activity in which every member of the class is enrolled and so give them enough work to do outside of the activity to cover five or six activities (Lord, please send me another word for activity!!).

Whew.  I got that one off my chest.

I can’t be the only one.  What are some things that irritate other parents out there with children enrolled in a variety of activities enterprises programs activities?

P.S.  One of the things that irritates me about bloggers is when they write snarky posts while PMSing.  What’s that all about anyway?  Damn it!  Where’s my chocolate???

Addendum, added later:  After spending four hours doing that which I most hate — shopping — and spending way too much, I must add a final irritation of 7 proportions:  Requiring a certain COLOR of pants or top for a performance.  I get that it’s nice for everyone to look like they haven’t been rolling around in the mud.  I think it’s perfectly acceptable to request that people look polished, even that they wear monochromatic outfits.  But, if you are going to ask kids to wear a specific color, then you need to provide them with a costume.  Since they are kids, though, perhaps suggesting non-holy, monochromatic pants and providing them with a t-shirt should be sufficient.  Yes?  No?