Did you know that if you accidentally title a blog post with a Barenaked Ladies song title, hundreds of people will visit your site? Who knew that they were so popular? Everyone knows that they are SOO 1990’s!
Anyway, today’s post comes to you from inside the Inner Sanctum. Here I sit in the Temple of Teachers eagerly awaiting the start of today’s training session. Teachers from all over the county are converging in my auditorium to politely stare at a large screen and pretend to care about the “new” teaching assessment tool. Try to imagine, if you can, hundreds of highly trained and intelligent people gathering together in one place after a summer of isolation and boredom. As you might expect, there is a rather loud hum of excitement as friends are reunited, enemies loudly talk smack, and most everyone attempts to pretend that I’m not here.
Today’s blog format will consist of a timeline. Instead of giving people a play-by-play of the training itself (it will be mind-numbingly dull the first time around) I will instead write down the comments that I would ordinarily whisper to the people around me, which I’ve been told is a little distracting to the 3 people actually paying attention.
8:30 am – Our Fearless Leader in Chief opens the shebang with some rather odd comments on the state of his soul as it relates to special tools, which leads me to conclude either that he’s taken up the Dark Arts over the summer, or that he forgot his notes and decided to ad lib about the first things that popped into his head.
8:40 am – Having finally been allowed to speak, the trainer has now decided to give us the 20 minute version of her life including her personal accomplishments, humorous anecdotes, and of course her updated resume. Why do speakers all feel the need to do this? Does knowing about your preference in eye wear impact the “new” teacher assessment tool in any significant way? Then why bring it up? If you’re being paid by the word, then learn the Who’s on First skit… at least that’s funny.
9:00 am – We are still not talking about the teacher assessment. Instead we are now publicly acknowledging that life is different for our students than it was for us. Apparently there is something called the “internet” now which allows us to access a ridiculous amount of information in seconds. The hypothesis is that asking students to memorize facts that are readily available to every phone in the nation is a waste of time. To demonstrate this, we are to watch a slide show of random crap from the last 60 years. Apparently “irony” wasn’t one of the words she had to memorize the definition of in elementary school. The only thing sadder than being shown this slide show during a teacher training seminar is that a large majority of the teachers present seem to enjoy it. “Ha ha.. a picture of Flipper! OMG that’s hilarious!”
9:20 am – We have now introduced the “Rainbow of the Future.” The Rainbow of the Future is to be our road map for improving education. Like all such road maps for the social sciences, it is simply filled with amazing sounding phrases that are really about as useful for finding your way through your curriculum as “head west for a bit” is when looking for Tennessee.
9:24 am – We have now started talking about the assessment tool. It only took us an hour, but we’ve finally gotten there! Woo!
9:30 am – When you have to invite your audience to wake up to pay attention to this important part, it automatically makes me think two things; 1. You are implying that everything you said before now was unimportant and you are completely aware that you’ve been wasting our time, and 2. You are also totally aware that a large number of your audience is uninterested in what you’re saying and that your lecture skills are definitely in the “developing” stage.
9:44 am – The speaker has just made a fatal error; she has just asked if there are any other questions. Here’s a safety tip: When you are facing a horde of “I love school so much I now attend it professionally” teachers, DO NOT EVER ask them if they have questions! These are the students who liked to show off how cute they were by asking questions they knew the answers to so that the teacher would like them more.
9:45 am – Break. I am now going to publish this post, but I’ll keep editing it and reporting on the inner workings of the Temple of Teachers throughout the morning.
10:05 am – The break is now over, and the revelations continue. Apparently, this “new” assessment tool is designed to reflect the new educational goals of analysis and synthesis… you know, those higher-order thinking skills. To demonstrate how this all works, we’re receiving an old school 8 hour lecture. Perhaps “cognitive dissonance” is another term she failed to internalize in school.
10:16 am – The speaker has stopped talking about the assessment tool again to provide us with some more of her timeless wisdom. “If you are unhappy about anything at all concerning your chosen profession, it is best for everyone if you STFU and take it.” Apparently in order to earn the highest marks on the new assessment tool, one must never complain, offer criticism, or in any way denigrate this most holy of callings.
10:35 am – We have now entered the anecdotal phase of the seminar. I’m sure that you all know what I’m talking about. This is where the speaker, in an effort to make their brand of nonsense sound inspirational and totally relate-able, tells random and barely coherent stories in a last-ditch effort to connect with the audience. I understand that this can be done effectively, but due to budget cuts we couldn’t afford that speaker.
11:00 am – My updates are getting further apart for 2 reasons. The first is that most of what the speaker is talking about right now is teacher-jargon and not worth repeating here. The second is that basically all that is being communicated is that teachers should at all times act like caring professionals. This second point is a totally new concept to everyone in this room and I can tell that it is going to totally revolutionize our classrooms.
11:10 am – Ok, boys and girls. If you have read this long then you must’ve had an even more exciting day than I have and I feel badly for you. Right this very second, the speaker has said that she is going to ramble on nonsensically for 5 more minutes before letting us out for lunch, so that’s my cue to start inching for the door. This afternoon promises to be more of the same, so unless the world begs it of me, I’ll conclude my review of the inner world of teacher training seminars now.