How Low Can You Go?
I think we might have set the bar so low for professionalism that it may now be more appropriately used for a limbo contest. Seriously.
We are currently demo-ing potential new teachers for the few open positions in our school. To those of you non-teachers out there, demo-ing means that a candidate (whose cover letter isn’t riddled with type-os or dripping with an Upper Middle Class Hero Complex) is invited to teach a lesson in one of our classrooms. The lesson is usually a review lesson and doesn’t necessarily have to teach the kids anything. Really, it’s just a vehicle for one to show off their Potential Teaching Fabulousness, or PTF. Ok, so maybe those aren’t the exact words the hiring committee or The Visionary would use, but we’re not asking them, are we?
Last week I had two demos in my room. I actually like having demos in my room because it gives me the opportunity to throw in my two cents. As I’m sure you’ve recognized by now, I’ve been known to have an opinion or two. And I’m not afraid to share them.
Both girls came in totally prepared and professional. They introduced themselves to me, handed over thorough lesson plans, had all their materials ready to go and were wearing cute outfits. Check, check, check and check.
Several other members of the hiring committee joined me in the back of the room as we prepared ourselves to observe these girls’ PTF. Rating sheets were distributed, pens were poised and we were ready to go. Be brilliant!
As the first girl started her lesson, I was immediately distracted by the behavior of my “colleagues.” The Bacon Hunter was (no joke) eating her breakfast which yes, contained copious amounts of bacon. Another colleague was sipping her tea and looking distractedly around my classroom, indicating that no, she was not listening at all. A third colleague began to take notes, but then felt the need to engage in a texting marathon…because of course she had her cell phone and thought that was appropriate during a demo!
I tried to imagine this scene from our candidate’s perspective. Would I be attracted to a school where this is how the teachers’ behaved while there was supposedly learning going on?
The next day, as the next candidate began her lesson, a different group of characters from the hiring came in to observe (read: embarrass the school with their unprofessional shenanigans). That day, however, our candidate was treated to a rare display of Professionalism, seen only in the select conditions. (And by select conditions, I mean early the next morning after a long night of drinking.) Yes, our candidate was able to observe one of our most senior, tenured teachers put his head down and GO TO SLEEP during her lesson. Awesome! I bet we won her over!
The sad thing is, I’m not even sure I have an informed opinion of either girls’ PTF because I was so distracted by the bullshit going on around me. Way to set the bar, friends, way to set the bar.