The Teacher Applicant

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by Amers, May 9, 2007.

  1. Amers

    Amers Cohort

    May 4, 2007
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    May 9, 2007

    I received this e-mail awhile back and really liked it. Thought I'd share. :)


    After being interviewed by the school administration, the eager teaching prospect said:

    "Let me see if I've got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids, and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning, and I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and even censor their T-shirt messages and dress habits. You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons of mass destruction, and raise their self esteem. You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook, and how to apply for a job. I am to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, make sure all students pass the state exams, even those who don't come to school regularly or complete any of their assignments.

    Plus, I am to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or
    physical handicap. I am to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card.

    All of this I am to do with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a
    few books, a bulletin board, a big smile AND on a starting salary that
    qualifies my family for food stamps! You want me to do all of this and then you tell me...

    "I CAN'T PRAY?"
  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Aug 8, 2005
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    May 9, 2007

    Love it!
  4. Pixiewannabe

    Pixiewannabe Comrade

    Apr 17, 2006
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    May 9, 2007

    Wonderful, thanks for sharing
  5. txteach2b

    txteach2b Comrade

    Jul 2, 2006
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    May 11, 2007

    Ha Ha!! I had gotten a copy of this earlier this year from the teacher across the hall when I was doing a LTS. I couldn't stop laughing!!!
  6. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

    Mar 10, 2006
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    May 11, 2007

    It's so true! LOL
  7. Music Doc

    Music Doc Habitué

    Jun 2, 2006
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    May 12, 2007

    I'm sure many have seen this, but it's so good, it bears a re-run well:

    "If I ran my business the way you people operate your schools, I wouldn't be in business very long!"

    I stood before an auditorium filled with outraged teachers who were becoming angrier by the minute. My speech had entirely consumed their precious 90 minutes of inservice. Their initial icy glares had turned to restless agitation. You could cut the hostility with a knife.

    I represented a group of business people dedicated to improving public schools. I was an executive at an ice cream company that became famous in the middle1980s when People Magazine chose our blueberry as the "Best Ice Cream in America."

    I was convinced of two things. First, public schools needed to change; they were archaic selecting and sorting mechanisms designed for the industrial age and out of step with the needs of our emerging "knowledge society". Second, educators were a major part of the problem: they resisted change, hunkered down in their feathered nests, protected by tenure and shielded by a bureaucratic monopoly. They needed to look to business. We knew how to produce quality. Zero defects! TQM! Continuous improvement!

    In retrospect, the speech was perfectly balanced - equal parts ignorance and arrogance. As soon as I finished, a woman's hand shot up. She appeared polite, pleasant. She was, in fact, a razor-edged, veteran, high school English teacher who had been waiting to unload.

    She began quietly. "We are told, sir, that you manage a company that makes good ice cream."

    I smugly replied, "Best ice cream in America, Ma'am."

    "How nice," she said. "Is it rich and smooth?"

    "Sixteen percent butterfat," I crowed.

    "Premium ingredients?" she inquired.

    "Super-premium! Nothing but Triple A." I was on a roll. I never saw the next line coming.

    "Mr. Vollmer," she said, leaning forward with a wicked eyebrow raised to the sky, "when you are standing on your receiving dock and you see an inferior shipment of blueberries arrive, what do you do?"

    In the silence of that room, I could hear the trap snap. I knew I was dead meat, but I wasn't going to lie.

    "I send them back."

    "That's right!" she barked, "and we can never send back our blueberries. We take them big, small, rich, poor, gifted, exceptional, abused, frightened, confident, homeless, rude, and brilliant. We take them with ADHD, junior rheumatoid arthritis, and English as their second language. We take them all! Every one! And that, Mr. Vollmer, is why it's not a business. It's school!"

    In an explosion, all 290 teachers, principals, bus drivers, aides, custodians and secretaries jumped to their feet and yelled, "Yeah! Blueberries! Blueberries!"

    And so began my long transformation.

    Since then, I have visited hundreds of schools. I have learned that a school is not a business. Schools are unable to control the quality of their raw material, they are dependent upon the vagaries of politics for a reliable revenue stream, and they are constantly mauled by a howling horde of disparate, competing customer groups that would send the best CEO screaming into the night.

    None of this negates the need for change. We must change what, when, and how we teach to give all children maximum opportunity to thrive in a post-industrial society. But educators cannot do this alone; these changes can occur only with the understanding, trust, permission and active support of the surrounding community. I know this because the most important thing I have learned is that schools reflect the attitudes, beliefs and health of the communities they serve, and, therefore, to improve public education means more than changing our schools, it means changing America.

    Copyright 2002, by Jamie Robert Vollmer

    Jamie Robert Vollmer, a former business executive and attorney, now works as a motivational speaker and consultant to increase community support for public schools. He can be reached at jamie @

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