Your “A” Game

Let’s pretend that you have just been paid a ridiculous sum of money to give an explanatory presentation about something that you’ve spent months developing. I understand that for some of the SASS this is not a hypothetical and I want to remind those members that you promised to buy me lunch. Now of course being the consummate professional that you are, you are going to come prepared to give yet another dazzling display of knowledge, wit, and charm. In other words, you are going to bring your “A” game. If I may be so bold, if you also knew that you were presenting to teachers (people who’ve devoted their professional careers to conveying new information in new and memorable ways) you might even give a little extra in order to bring in that little extra wow factor.

In fact, I would be willing to go out on a limb and suggest that even if you were out late last night at your local bar and were rather the worse for wear the next morning, you would still find it within yourself to chug some water, plaster a grin on your face, and give it your very best attempt.

You can understand my confusion yesterday afternoon when a lobbyist from the NCAE slouched into the auditorium, fumbled around with some PowerPoint slides and proceeded to plunge every last teacher present into a catatonic state so deep some were still sitting there drooling on themselves today.

For those of you fortunate enough to miss this amazing display of ineptitude, the speaker (I can’t tell you her name because in order to preserve my sanity I’ve burned all her handouts) was purportedly there to discuss the new teacher appraisal instrument being enacted next year. Normally such a presentation would have every teacher’s undivided attention because this is, after all, how we decide which of us can be smug and condescending.

This lobbyist managed not only to suck the very life out of the room, but she also managed to convince every last teacher in the room that her total inability to communicate effectively with other human beings was a major reason why public education can’t get any funding or support from the state government. Not even the surreptitious arrival of the Newly Minted Asst. Superintendent of Fearless Leaders was enough of a goad to force us to wake up and pretend to pay attention.

In my always humble opinion, just as one doesn’t attempt to do stand up comedy to a bar full of comedians with a crib sheet of knock-knock jokes, one also does not attempt to educate a room full of teachers with a broken series of nonsensical PowerPoint slides, and the personality of a damp tea towel.

A more important question perhaps is, “Who was the sorry sack who saw this person speak and decided that she would be a perfect fit for this seminar?” What utterly benighted soul actually witnessed this lobbyist’s total lack of perspicacity and personality and thought to themselves, “I would LOVE to subject dozens of my colleagues to this aural version of waterboarding!” ?

I think that it is only fair that whomever it was who chose that lobbyist should be locked in a room with her while hundreds of World Cup fans blow their vuvuzela while the lobbyist attempts to explain how the horns work and might suffice as artifacts for their next performance appraisal.


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