As a student many years ago, I always wondered what went on in the teachers lounge. It was off limits to students and that just made the mystery more enticing to me. Hormonally overloaded at the time, I envisioned a place of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. I dearly wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.
I read in the Indy that the school district hired 10 new teachers. The hiring had a common core. All 10 were hired from other districts or from out of state. Home team morale hit a new low since the hiring spree. What lessons can we learn from this situation before the next pop quiz requires naming the next 10 hires and the states they’ll come from?
I hate pop quizzes. I plan to study hard and figure out why the newcomers were not homegrown. At first glance it makes no sense. If residents prefer local organic produce over frozen food shipped from faraway places, then doesn’t it stand to reason that the school district should not bring in green beans, who may be genetically modified organisms that are not mature enough to meet the nutritional standard of our common core? Rumor has it that one of the new hires is from Monsanto and eats paste. Is this the leadership example we want for our children? I think not. Pass me the paste, please.
The school district has forgotten all about the Socratic method. The Greek philosopher, Socrates, lived in the 5th BC, or the fifth time the broke country had to be bailed out by tight-wadded Huns from the north. The Greeks, a spirited people, drank ouzo and asked, “Why should we pay taxes, when we can borrow tomorrow?” Socrates dedicated his life to teaching his method that consisted of searching for commonly held truths that shape beliefs and then scrutinize them through repeated questioning to determine their consistency with other beliefs. Socrates’ mentor was his aunt Sallie Mae, who asked the first Socratic question, “Who’s paying you, Socrates, for these knowledge lessons?” Socrates, who was academically brilliant, but had no street smarts answered, “I don’t know where the tuition will come from.” Aunt Sallie Mae’s eyes twinkled a wisdom that comes with age and said, “Don’t worry Socrates. Keep asking the big questions about life. I’ll handle the paperwork. We’ll give students low interest loans, repackage the student debt and sell the bonds to the Huns. Have another ouzo, Socrates.”
So the first Socratic question we must pose to the school district is, “How much more is this hiring spree going to cost us Huns?” And should the answer not be forthcoming then we will rely on the teachings of another great philosopher and teacher, Plato. He was the first to use the term elements in reference to air, fire, earth and water. To scientifically demonstrate the elements, he carved a piece of wood that had a flat end with holes in it and a tapering handle at the other end. Recalcitrant administrators, who refused to answer questions, felt fast moving air that produced fire on the buttocks and in turn produced watery tears that fell to earth. And if that didn’t work, Plato introduced the fifth element, ether. Ether is not made of matter like the first four elements. It is not from the material world, as found in the scientific demonstration. It’s described as a sensory experience, as in, “You’re fired for not hiring within. Current teachers do matter in Laguna’s material world. So, don’t pass over homegrown talent ever again. Now, please pass me the paste.”
Mark splits his time between California and Michigan, but is always in the state of confusion and befuddlement. His wife told us so.