A Modest Opinion – The Art of Getting By
By Nathaniel Moher
I’m sure most of you have heard about the madman Lynden Dorval, an Edmonton schoolteacher who thought it was okay to give students a zero on assignments they failed to turn in. Don’t bother checking your eyes, you read that right! These poor students received a zero out of 100 on assignments for the simple act of not doing the assignment.
Now, I’m sure you’re all extremely mad about this fact (I’m furious . . . and drunk). Where does this guy get off, giving kids a zero? Well, you’re not the only people who feel this way; the Edmonton school board was so pissed off that they took action right away and suspended Mr. Dorval. And not only that, they’re probably about to fire him.
Now, some of you may be thinking, why would they fire a teacher for giving students zeros on assignments they didn’t do; they didn’t do them, they deserve a zero. But those of you thinking this way obviously believe that, if you don’t do something, you don’t reap the benefits of doing it. And therefore you’ve spent your entire life doing things.
Ha ha ha. Suckers.
See, I live in the real world (I also live in a fake world, where I’m paladin knight elf, and I fight dragons), and as such I know exactly what the Edmonton school board also knows — you don’t need to do things to get the benefits of doing those things. That would be crazy. In fact, I’m surprised that the members of the Edmonton school board were even around to vote on whether or not to suspend Dorval — I mean, don’t they know that they’ll still get paid even if they don’t show up for work? They should have been out enjoying Edmonton’s world-renowned . . . well, it’s Edmonton, but they should have at least been drinking a tall glass of Jim Beam, and not working. They should know this better than anyone, because it’s the lesson they want to teach their students.
In fact, I think the best lesson the Edmonton school board can teach their students is that, if you do your job well, or at all, you’re going to be fired; you know, like Mr. Dorval was. Teaching them anything else is going to set up unrealistic expectations for them once they’re out in the real world. Once you make them think that they need to work hard to get good grades, next thing you know they’re going to think that they need to get good grades to get into a good university. And then they’re going to think that because they had to work hard in high school to get into this good university, that they’re going to actually need to work hard in university to graduate, so they can get a good job, that they’ll have to actually do work at to get their paycheque, so they can pay for things and be alive.
Mr. Dorval, is this really the lesson you want to teach our children — that working hard leads to rewards and benefits? Do you think this is the way the world works? If so, then I do not want to live in your world, because you’ll probably want me to pay rent to live in my house . . . or actually buy my food.
And to me, that sounds like a crappy world to live in.
In closing, I’m not even sure why I turned in this article. I mean, I just wasted half an hour writing it (while doing shots of Jim Bean, obviously), when I could have just not written it, and my editor would have still paid me for it. Because, as the Edmonton school board knows, that’s how the world works.
Nathaniel Moher is a television writer living in Vancouver. This column first appeared in The Flying Shingle.