Some Challenges of Classroom Teaching

Work and learning both require effort. However, they are so different that I devoted the epilogue in my book to the differences between “work” in employment and “work” in learning. The differences are so apparent to me that the only time I use the word “work”—as in “homework”—is in the index.

With this in mind, enjoy the following e-mail I received.

Have you heard about the next planned “Survivor” show? Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for 6 weeks.

Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district’s curriculum and a class of 28 students. Each class will have five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three will have severe behavior problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance with annotations for curriculum objectives, and modify, organize, or create materials accordingly.

They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange and attend parent conferences.

They  also must supervise recess and monitor the hallways.

They must attend workshops (180 hours), faculty meetings, and curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor those students who are behind and strive to get their two non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the standardized tests.

If sick or having a bad day, they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment at all times. The business people will only have access to the golf course on the weekends, but on their new salary they will not be able to afford it anyway. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to 30 minutes. On days when they do not have recess duty, the business people will be permitted to use the staff restroom as long as another survival candidate is supervising their class.

They will be provided with two 40-minute planning periods per week while their students are at special events.

If the copier is operable (varies), they may make copies of necessary materials at this time. They cannot surpass their daily limit. They also must continually advance their education on their own time at their own expense.

The winner will be allowed to return to his or her non-education job.