A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From the Acme Teacher Innovation Co.

After the last week, here are some things that I wish had been invented or that I possessed:

1. Wood stain with natural repellent to dogs with no sense who like to chew wood-- the more expensive the wood, the more delicious, apparently. Bitter Apple washes off, and that's a problem.
1a. Carpet that would naturally repel dogs from piddling on it.

2. A handheld scanner so that when a kid is in violation, I could simply scan their ID --or their fingertip, since kids seem to never have their ID on-- and the referral would write itself and send itself to the appropriate principal. This scanner would also translate slang words immediately into my ear so that I wouldn't have to wait until I could get to a computer and go to urbandictionary.com for enlightenment.

3. Pencils that would magically teleport themselves back to my room when kids cadge them.

4. Paid vacation time for teachers. It wouldn't take much, just maybe three days, but most people are not aware that we're one of the few professions that get no paid vacation. News flash: our summers "off," as you so charmingly put it, are UNPAID. I would use my vacation to go and supervise my children's school activities. I find a strange disconnect between the school wanting parents involved and giving us no ethical way to get involved if we are teachers. Obviously, calling in sick would be an easily discoverable fraud. And you would think they'd be glad to make it possible for trained professionals to come along and help supervise. But perhaps that makes too much sense.

5. As a prom special, I would like to invent a car that samples the air when people get in it, and locks the ignition if ANYONE in the car tests over the limit for alcohol or tests positive for the aroma of certain smoked substances that make people act stupid and drive recklessly. Of course, this could have other applications as well. But I'd like my model to lock people IN the car while parents or police are called.

6. Some sort of current or forcefield that would prevent grackles from eating the good bugs in my garden and dumping huge caterpillar sized turds in the garden fountain. This forcefield could also be used to prevent my neighbor from parking his vomit-colored 1959 Buick Skylark station wagon directly behind my driveway. This piece of crap leaves a little bread-crumb trail of rusted-off pieces every time he moves it.

7. A jet-propelled giant cork that could be shot from my yard to my neighbor's mouth when he is cursing loudly at his kid.

8. Special x-ray glasses that would allow besotted girls and guys to see their significant others as they really are BEFORE they've spent six hundred bucks getting ready for prom.

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At 4/29/08, 8:30 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Heh. Two more, Ms. Cornelius, and you could be an official Ten Things Tuesday diva.

The bit about the neighbor's car made me laugh. I apologize for that - I know it's not funny to YOU - but the image of little bits of vomit-colored rust all over town just did me in...

At 4/29/08, 9:45 PM, Blogger Clair Dickson said...

My invention would be a device that blocks all cell phone signals in a specific area... like my classroom. This would include text messaging. I have much better things to do than make sure kids aren't texting under there desk. =P

At 4/29/08, 10:32 PM, Blogger TeacherDee said...

Clair, we're seeing cell phones in the second grade! Now would you send something that expensive to school with a seven year old? My invention would be a mute button for the "arguer" in my class. It would kick in automatically the minute he utters the word "But..."

At 4/29/08, 11:08 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

OOOH, those are GOOD! How about an electromagnetic device that seals shut the lips of kids who have always manipulated their parents by wheedling and keep trying to see if we'll cave under the strain too?


And they're sixteen years old! GAAAH!

At 4/30/08, 9:04 AM, Blogger Clair Dickson said...

I usually tell them that I love them, but not that much. Go do your work. =)

At 4/30/08, 11:03 AM, Anonymous Karla said...

How's about a big "Whoop whoop" alarm that goes off when a student steals something from another student?

Of course, sometimes these situations turn out okay in the end:


Scroll down to read about how a blogging teacher's readers helped him replace a needy student's stolen laptop (which he had won for being such a good student). It's inspiring.

At 4/30/08, 8:51 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I wonder how many people have no idea what Horshack means.

Nice to see you're still at it...I just returned from an extended vacation.

At 4/30/08, 9:58 PM, Anonymous Katy said...

Oh I loooove number 4. See, this is something that so many people don't understand. As for personal days, how many other professions are asked what they are doing on their day off? And if you took a personal day to go on a field trip with your child- I don't think that would go over very well in my district.

On that note- I wanted to let you know I am working on a book called Why Great Teachers Quit about this issue (and a whole boatload of others-) that endlessly frustrate teachers.

So here is my shameless plug. I need to hear from teachers from all over the country about why they are leaving, or thinking of leaving, or even just about their deepest frustrations with teaching today. I've got some publisher interest, and now I need more comments from teachers.

I've set up a blog for this purpose at Why Great Teachers Quit. Teachers can either leave their thoughts as comments or email them to me at whygreatteachersquit@comcast.net. You can learn more about the project there, too.

My super invention? Everyone who opens their mouth to spout endless criticisms of teachers is instantly in front of a class of unruly students for a week, in school with little support and fewer materials. Then we'll see what they have to say.

At 5/1/08, 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, you could create a room where the mobile phones wouldn't work. Just set it up as a giant Faraday Cage, with all the walls, floor and ceiling lined in metal screening. Alas, that would be expensive.


At 5/1/08, 6:41 PM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

I love the scanner that writes the referrals. That rocks. Also the pencil teleporter. And the electronic device that blocks cell phone signals. Wonderful ideas!

At 4/30/18, 4:18 AM, Anonymous Cara Membuat Pupuk Organik Cair said...

you post great write as always, thanks for sharing


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