Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Meet the Fresh Meat

We had a quick department meeting yesterday. There were no serious issues to address. The department head just wanted to disperse the last scantron shipment of the semester. (Um, it's September). Sadly, she can't leave them in our boxes due to teacher-on-teacher crime. That's right; we get so few scantrons that fellow teachers will steal. Can you believe that? But when a pack of scantrons can go for five dry-erase markers and an accordion file on the street (read: the teachers' lounge), what are ya' gonna' do?

While we waited for the precious cargo, I couldn't help but overhear the new English teacher talking to--well--anyone who would listen.

"According to McLaren, it is impossible to examine education reform in the United States without taking into account continuing forces of globalization and the progressive diversion of capital into financial and speculative channels..."

I don't know if I agreed with her or not. I'm not talking philosophically; I mean, I didn't understand the actual words that were coming out of her mouth. She sounded like an adult from a Peanuts comic strip.

WHa-WHA-wHa Wha-Wha whA.

I take that back. They were familiar--as if from a lingering dream or as evidence that reincarnation exists. After all, those "WHa-wHa"s were terms that I, too, spouted regularly at the birth of my teacher-dom. Yet, they have gone by the wayside as I had to morph from that theory-spouting-newbie instructor to the wily, survival motivated teacher I am today. Hobo Teacher Survival Tip #3847: Forget everything you learned in college. But, you already knew that, right?

Because in the end, we teachers will get the job done. It just won't be done with a teaching textbook. Let's face it, a soldier carries his gun differently on his first tour than he does on his third.

Give it time. She may be going on about stuff like "block scheduling" and "multiple intelligences" now, but soon--soon the only thing she'll be concerned with is how to convert old tissue boxes into marker trays.

That is, if she doesn't shoot herself in the foot before then.

"So what if we run out of scantrons? Do I have to buy my own? If so, who signs off on my 1040 for the tax deduction? Does that go through the department head, the principal, or the school board? I guess I could just give essay tests. That shouldn't take long to grade, right?"

I didn't stick around to hear more. I had to go stash my cut of the scantrons... and see if the laws of supply and demand had yet garnered a heftier price for them.

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