*********************************************** 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 Committees."
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) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org