Oh, bartender: Whyte Ridge student’s career choice left out of 4th grade dissertation book



A Winnipeg mother and her Grade 4 student are questioning an elementary school’s refusal to print yearbooks stating the 10-year-old wants to be a bartender when he grows up.

As the school year draws to a close, a teacher at Whyte Ridge School — a K-4 building in the southwest corner of town — is compiling a “memory book” for the class of 2022.


MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Jen Anderson and her son, Zack.”/>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Jen Anderson and her son, Zack.

The students were recently asked about their career aspirations, so the mementos can include photos of each student and a sentence about their youthful ambitions.

In response, Jen Anderson’s son said he wanted to find work as a bartender “because he could socialize.”

Anderson, who has three school-age children, including twins in 4th grade, said she was not at all surprised when Zack’s teacher alerted her to the choice to ensure the family was comfortable with its wording.

“I was like, ‘Well, that’s cool,’ because we talked about that and all kinds of occupations at home. I don’t want to push my kids into traditional jobs. I want to leave them explore,” she said. .

“In this case, we felt that posting that Zack wants to be a bartender (even though he agrees with his parents and for the right reasons) can be reframed in a way that doesn’t lend itself to questioning and arguing. interpretation within our community.” – Principal Mike Weekes

The job title arose because Anderson’s brother and stepmother work in the service industry and Anderson, a family doctor, paid for his undergraduate education and medical school by being a bartender.

Zack admires the fact that his uncle, who lives in British Columbia, can snowboard by day and serve as a bar by night for a living, she said.

Although she informed Whyte Ridge staff that she supports the vocation, the school suggested using an alternate job title.

“In this case, we felt that posting that Zack wants to be a bartender (even though he agrees with his parents and for the right reasons) can be reframed in a way that doesn’t lend itself to questioning and arguing. interpretation within our community,” the director said. Mike Weekes wrote in an email Thursday.

Weekes suggested the school could publish “bartender” in editions that will be printed for his sons, while the rest of the class will receive copies with a more generic title indicating that his son wants to work in the hospitality industry. . Alternatively, all students could receive the latter, he said.

Senior management supports the decision “to do what is best for our entire 4th grade community,” added the director.

“I was like, ‘Well, that’s cool,’ because we talked about that and all kinds of occupations at home. I don’t want to push my kids into traditional jobs. I want to leave them explore.” –Jen Anderson

Anderson was “devastated” by the insinuation of the bartender – a profession which she says taught her valuable communication and empathy skills that now help her provide health care services to patients – is inappropriate and should be censored.

Zack said there was “no real reason” to change the directories. “It’s a well-paying job… It’s also a way to get creative,” said the 10-year-old, who couldn’t go to school on Friday because he was upset with the situation.

It’s not uncommon for the family to experiment with mocktails — whether they combine Sprite and syrup or add frozen berries to a drink, according to Anderson, who noted that Zack’s favorite drink is a Shirley Temple.

“Everyone thinks a bar has something to do with alcohol. A bar is a counter about four or five feet high on which you can serve anything,” said Avery Ross, owner of Mixmasters Bar Services, a bartending school in Winnipeg.

The longtime bartender said he understands the school was likely concerned about the work’s potential connection to alcohol, but saw it as an educational opportunity to talk about safe drinking rather than shy away from it altogether. topic.

Beginning in Grade 3, Manitoba students learn about substance use in the provincial health curriculum. Before entering Grade 4, students should be able to describe the potential dangers associated with alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs in the community.

“Everyone thinks a bar has something to do with alcohol. A bar is a counter about four or five feet high on which you can serve anything.” –Avery Ross

As far as Ross is concerned, every teenager should take a bartending course and work in a bar for six months before they turn 18, in order to understand what responsible service looks like.

Bartending is a great calling that allows people to work anywhere in the world and earn a full-time salary while only working three days a week, he added.

The principal at Whyte Ridge assured Anderson there was ‘no judgement’ of the bartender at the Winnipeg South School via email, but the mother said the yearbook’s decision told his son that the career he wanted was not acceptable.

Anderson said she’s worried the situation suggests it’s okay to be biased against certain professions. Zack’s ambitions should be honored like those of all other students, she added.

The Pembina Trails School Division declined to comment on the matter.

In a prepared statement, Superintendent Ted Fransen said the division “will not engage the media in any discussion of an early childhood child’s schoolwork.”

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Twitter: @macintoshmaggie

Maggie Macintosh

Maggie Macintosh
Journalist

Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press educational journalist comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.

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