Some say teachers have it easy. They get to have fun with children all day. They get long summer vacations and so on. I challenge any corporate person with this attitude to compare the first fifteen minutes of any schoolteacher’s day with theirs before cementing his or her notions too firmly.
Mrs. Johnson’s Room
(Bell rings. Parent says thank you for meeting about her child and exits the pod. Students rush in.)
MRS. JOHNSON (to exiting parent): No, thank you for helping me understand what is going on with D.J.
SALLY: Mrs. Johnson, my tooth came out and it’s bleeding!
MRS. JOHNSON: Here. Put your tooth is this baggie. Go to the bathroom and rinse your mouth. Then put the baggie in your backpack.
Class, your morning work is on your desk. You are to color, cut and glue the pictures under M for the /m/ sound or T for the /t/ sound. Remember color, cut, then glue.
(Phone rings. Student forgot lunch at home and his Mom has brought it to the office.)
OK, who are my class helpers? Abby and Rickie, please take Dillon to the office to get his lunch. Remember to walk down the hallway. Thank you.
(Mrs. Johnson takes attendance electronically during all these interruptions).
MARCO: Mrs. Johnson, I don’t feel good. I feel like I’m gonna throw (and he does throw up all over the floor and poor Mrs. Johnson’s shoes.)
(Some students come in tardy. Mrs. Johnson goes to correct her attendance; then sends it out as final.)
In 15 minutes, Mrs. Johnson has concluded a parent conference, received her students, taken and corrected attendance, managed a loose tooth, put her students to work, sent a child to the office for his lunch and taken care of someone who got sick. I count at least seven things accomplished.
Jeff comes to work and immediately turns on his computer. He waits a few minutes for it to boot up while sipping his coffee. Jeff then starts to check his emails. A call comes in requiring action. Jeff schedules time for problem resolution in the corporate calendar program and proceeds to finish checking his email. Some are informative, some irrelevant and others require a written or physical response. Jeff attaches the informative emails to his calendar, deletes the irrelevant ones, sends out email responses and makes calls to arrange problem resolutions where necessary.
I see Jeff has accomplished nearly as many items as Mrs. Johnson, but what of the variety? And the pace? And how many places did Jeff have to be to get his day started? For those of you that think teaching is a cushy job, know that the first fifteen minutes continues for the rest of the day and teachers still have to take work home most every night.