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

Monday, October 18, 2010

If it's a pretend administrator, is it a real observation?

We have the most wonderfullest idea that has been created by our district administration this year, and it has had amusingly unforeseen consequences for Ms. Cornelius.

Here's the deal: the Powers That Be have revived the farcical "Leadership Cadre." What might this be, you ask? Well, remember that our district has an absolutely stellar record of hiring district employees for administration jobs-- and by stellar I imply events so rare as to be separated by light-years.

But wait! Let's get some teachers who have administrative certification-- and frankly, no hope in hell of actually being hired-- fill in when one of our peripatetic assistant principals gets to go jaunting off to a conference in Orlando or Bimini or Noo Yawk. Boom! Voila! "Leadership Cadre!" These chumps members of the Leadership Cadre will then garner administrative experience. Forget that whilst these ersatz nabobs are substitute nabobing, they will not be fulfilling the function for which they were hired and for which a school district exists: namely, teaching students. No; let the students eat substitutes!

Now, there is one particular dewy-eyed dreamer who leapt at this chance-- whom I will call "Bob," since "Sawed-Off Runt" seems far too brutal, if apropos. I can see the attraction of administration for Bob. He only puts eight grades in the gradebook per semester as it is, but if he becomes an AP he has figured out that that number will drop to zero. And that's less, right? (Did I mention Bob teaches math?)

So the other day, there was Bob be-bopping around in his little pressed suit, haunting the hallways for something to do that didn't actually involve confronting the fifteen kids he passed who didn't have passes and weren't in class. How do I know this? Because when I first spotted him I was performing administrative duties myself against my will instead of being able to work with students, which is a story for another day.

So Bob disappeared from my radar screen while I dealt with the crew of Skippies he had so assiduously failed to recognize. Quelle suprise, his absence from my notice didn't last long.

Later on I am standing in front of a class of frolicksome students, discussing the current situation in the Sudan before we got ready for a quiz, when suddenly Bob materializes on my doorstep. 'Pon my honor, he actually opened with the gambit of "Whatcha doin'?"

Let's see: kids, in desks, hands raised, synapses firing. Adult in front of room in comfortable shoes and khakis, pointing at map. What does it look like I'm doing?

And it got worse from there. HE. WOULDN'T. LEAVE. He peered at my learning goals on the board. He hemmed. He hawed. He cleared his throat unctuously. He struggled to come up with some sort of pedagogic nugget of wisdom, but lapsed into straightening his tie for the fourteenth time. He called out the names of kids he knew like a late-night caller to a radio request show. His fidgetty presence halted the momentum of the Ship of Knowledge we had been sailing more thoroughly than a German torpedo fired at the Lusitania. The kids were fascinated by his flitting about the room-- they couldn't help it.

After he finally skedaddled for parts unknown, I resumed doing that strange thing he didn't recognize for the sad remnant of the class period. It wasn't until lunch that I realized the little blister had been attempting to observe me.

And he may beat those odds in terms of getting a full-time gig. He has "administrator" written all over him. All I know is that my students learned less, and he undoubtedly learned nothing.

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At 10/23/10, 8:51 AM, Blogger CGLnyc said...

Our actual administration is about as useless and road-block-to-learningy as that guy sounds.

But you can sure as hell tell a story.

At 10/24/10, 9:13 AM, Blogger Christy said...

I've often wondered... Do your administrators read your blog? You are completely hilarious. You keep it real and keep me in stitches. My favorite educational blog...

At 10/24/10, 7:47 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Oh, christy, they don't even know what a blog is, and mine is a deeeeeepp dark secret.

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