A short little piece inspired by the tenth student in fifteen minutes to inquire about a test.
1. Have you graded our tests yet?
No. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a Scantron machine. Good thing, too, because to my knowledge, Scantron machines cannot grade short answer or essay questions which make up the bulk of your test. And while I do consider myself a reasonably intelligent human being I have not yet perfected my reading skills to complete ninety, four-page tests in one hour (which is exactly how long it has been since you walked out of my classroom) even if I weren’t teaching the rest of the day or preparing your classes for tomorrow. I reassure you that the second the tests are graded, the grades will be posted online because (also contrary to popular belief) I have better things to do than get my kicks by keeping already-graded-but-still-unentered exams around my house for added decor or extra toilet paper. Even though I’m paid peanuts, even I can afford toilet paper. So scoot your butt out of here and let me start digging through this pile o’ trees I just killed in the interest of furthering your education.
2. Must be nice to have all that vacation:
Yes, yes it is.
It’s also nice to have twenty six minutes to eat your lunch, lovely to share a bathroom with 500 teenagers, and a delight to climb to the second floor every time I need access to a printer that works.
Oh wait…no it’s not.
Nor is it a party to work twelve hours a day when everybody pretends it’s just seven, never have enough money to buy supplies I need for my classroom (like the newest name-brand technology…or just staples. Really would be happy with staples) or watch my profession get reamed in the news for not doing our job, while those doing the reaming cut the resources we’re actually given to do our job, then lay off a wad of us, increasing the job load for the three teachers left standing.
But yeah, the vacation’s pretty nice.
3. I know you’re really busy, but…
Don’t. Just don’t.
4. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.
Hey, listen. I need to run to the office for a second. Can you keep a handle on this room of 30 teenagers for about 15 minutes? I’m sure you’ll be fine. Oh, and if you could make sure they learn some Calculus, that’d be great, too. Don’t forget that Jodi’s allergic to peanuts, (I’m sure you know how to use an Epipen). Eric and Bobby can’t be within a three-foot radius of one another. Leena’s diabetic supplies are in the top right-hand corner of the desk, and the lesson always has to be differentiated for…never mind…of course you already know how to handle this, because you’re one of those gosh durn smart “doers.”
5. But I need an A!
No, you don’t.
You need air, water, food, sleep and probably the occasional bowel movement. You want an A. But how you plan on going about getting it is entirely up to you. I’ll just be over here in my little corner hangin’ out in case you decide to turn in some homework or ask for help on a concept or something. You know, hypothetically speaking.
6. Ugh. How do you deal with teenagers all day?
You get year-end bonuses. Or maybe quarterly bonuses. Oooh…and raises. And non-frozen salaries…
I change lives.
And I get year-end Christmas cookies. And daily high fives….and pant-peeing laughter. And non-conforming creativity…
So shove it and let me get back to work.