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Topic: Nathan, who wanted to TEACH.
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Nathan, who wanted to TEACH.
Posted: Mar 12, 2000 3:15 PM
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Note: Our thanks to Paul Agranoff for sharing this with us.

Once there was a man named Nathan. He wanted very much to be a teacher. So
he went to seek the advice of the wisest, most highly respected counselor
in the land. "Wise Counselor," Nathan began, "it has always been my dream
to be a teacher. I want to stimulate the minds of the young people of our
land. I want to lead them down the road of knowledge. Please tell me the
secret of becoming a teacher."

"Your goal is a commendable one, Nathan. However, it is also a very
difficult one to achieve. First you must overcome three major obstacles."

"I am ready to meet the challenge," answered Nathan bravely.

"First, you must swim the Sea of Children," directed the knowing counselor.

Nathan started off to swim the Sea of Children. First he had to learn their
38 names. He had to send the line cutters to the end of the line. He made
the paper throwers stay after school to clean the room. He commanded the
name callers, pushers, and punchers to apologize to their victims. He gave
candy to those who finished assignments and stars to those who were sitting
in their seats quietly. Nathan checked passes to see how many children were
in the bathroom. And he tracked down students who were gone longer than
was necessary. He arranged the desks in alphabetical order, then boy-girl
boy-girl, and finally into small groups of four. He lined his children up
for physical education and music and library and lunch. He read to them,
assessed them, and took them to assemblies. He checked them for head lice,
scabies, looking for broken bones, broken homes, and broken hearts. He gave
them pencils and paper when they had none, he bought supplies with his own
money for his room with no windows. He gave them homework according to
policy, and grades according to percentage. Then he stifled a cry when the
secretary came into the room with number 39.

Tired and shaken but still undefeated, Nathan returned to the counselor for
his second task.

"You are a very determined lad," said the advisor. "However, now you must
climb the Mountain of Paperwork."

Nathan set out at once. He wrote objectives and drew up lesson plans. He
made out mid-term reports, the report cards and graded papers. He filled
out accident forms, attendance reports, recommendations for referrals, and
withdrawal reports. He completed inventories,evaluations surveys, and
request forms. Finally, he made dittos and more dittos. He ran them off
until he was purple in the face. Then he learned to use the new copy
machine, and the one computer for his 39 students, write curriculum,
rewrite curriculum, align curriculum, rewrite aligned curriculum, and
update his teaching credentials at regular intervals while preparing
presentations on organizing paperwork.

But the courageous boy's resolve never dwindled. He went to the wise
counselor for his third task.

"You are indeed very strong, Nathan. But this third task will take all the
courage you can muster. You must now cross the country of Duties and

At first Nathan was hesitant. But his convictions remained steadfast. He
began his long journey across the country of Duties and Committees. Nathan
took lunch duty, bus duty, and recess duty. He was on the social
committee,patrol committee, principal's advisory committee, math
curriculum, science curriculum, social studies curriculum, career ladder
committee, the character education committee,the professional development
committee,and the faculty advisory committee. He was the adult supervisor
of the student government, coached the jv football team, sponsored the
campus bowl, jumped for his heart, wore a red ribbon, and ran the United
Fund and Easter Seal drives. He went to PTA meetings, AEA meetings, SST
meetings, IRA meetings, PDC meetings, School Site meetings,vertical team
meetings, and in-service workshops. He organized bicentennial
programs,talent shows, plays, music programs, family nights, science fairs,
and book drives. Finally, he was elected the building representative of the
union. At last Nathan reached the outskirts of Duties and Committees.

Exhausted but happy, he returned to the knowledgeable counselor.

"I swam the Sea of Children. I climbed the Mountain of Paperwork. I
crossed the country of Duties and Committees," Nathan proclaimed. "Am I not
worthy of the title of Teacher?

"Why, Nathan," began the counselor, "you have been a teacher all along."

Nathan protested, "But I have not stimulated any minds. I have not guided
anyone down the road to knowledge, I have not had any time to teach."

"Oh, you say you want to TEACH! I thought you said you wanted to be a
teacher. That is a completely different story!!"


Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618) 453-4244
Phone: (618) 453-4241 (office)
(618) 457-8903 (home)


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