As is my wont during the last week of the month, I spent part of my planning period stealing food from the students’ lunch trays. Some of you no doubt feel that I am taking advantage of students when I do this, but consider the danger to the students of having me deprived of food for my afternoon class. Normally I would of course bring my own lunch into work, but Mrs. RW only allows me $20 a month and I’m afraid that I spent it all on the Sagaform Oak Cheese Grater.
After I had scared enough students into giving me a soy burger, fruit cup, plastic cheese pizza, and half a dozen freedom fries, I left the cafeteria and conducted my daily perambulation of the teacher workroom on the off-chance that there was something I was supposed to care about in my mailbox.
In my mailbox was a sheaf of papers for National Teacher Appreciation Week (NTAW). Does anyone else find the timing of this week suspicious? Just when teachers across the nation are beginning to drink (more heavily than usual) and contemplate taking their cousin up on their offer of selling aluminum siding full-time, along comes a great outpouring of free food, student gratitude, and perfunctory speeches from Fearless Leaders. Altogether it is just enough positive feedback for most teachers to decide they can make it to the end of the school year. The jaundiced and cynical part of my brain (the front part) is starting to think that the timing of this “celebration” is not accidental.
Anyway, the papers in my mailbox concerning NTAW were voting forms for the students. They are being asked to choose teachers that challenge and inspire students while being friendly and listening to them even as they are involved in the community. In short, “Which teachers do you think are cool?” We all know that it doesn’t much matter what the questionnaire asks because students are only prepared to field the “cool” question.
Needless to say, I seriously doubt that I’ll be chosen to be appreciated by the students. Certainly I’ve earned cool points this week by saving students from having to eat their school lunches, but I seriously doubt that it’ll be enough to put me over the top. My goal for this coming week is much more modest. For the first time ever, I’d like to be acknowledged for my outstanding work as the Voice of Reasonableness here at the Epicenter of Epiphany.
It is not easy to constantly be the person advocating the rational and moderate point of view. Don’t you think that I’d like to fly off the handle and rant uncontrollably from time to time? Of course I would, but that would hardly be productive, now would it? Sure, those teachers with extreme points of view and little tolerance for the foibles of students might be exciting to watch and I can see how associating with them might seem exciting and glamorous for students, but are they really good role models? Why isn’t a mild-mannered and soft-spoken intellectual like myself ever chosen as a paragon of virtue? Shouldn’t deep thinkers be idolized and revered as well?
I suppose that in these tough economic times the very best I can hope for next week is the Ultra Sincere Sticky Note: