Jay Cronley: Schools need a real-world lesson plan
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Sunday, August 19, 2012
8/19/12 at 4:01 AM
All right, people, listen up.
It's your principal speaking.
Welcome to the annual fall semester teacher's meeting and wishful thinking seminar.
Let's join together to welcome the new faculty members. We couldn't afford name tags. But the new teachers stand out like cheerleaders, all perky and smiling and upright.
Grab a lifejacket and a bailing bucket, and welcome aboard.
Reality check: We're going to try something a little different this season.
Instead of leading off with the yearly cut-back announcements, security updates and hollow pep talks, let's look inward this term and spend some time improving the lot of the most important hard workers in this country.
What's a teacher's average salary around here, thirty-seven, thirty-eight grand? Not even thirty to start?
Most of the birdbrains out there think we're stealing.
Work nine months a year.
Travel Europe the rest.
Tell the students to turn on the computer and look up some dates; see you tomorrow.
We're asked to take a student from workaholic parents who have rotten text-head grammar, or to take a student from an abusive situation, or to take a student from the depths of ill-preparedness, and transform the rascal into a safe and balanced member of society.
We're asked to police, to entertain, to interest, to counsel, to understand, to forgive, to tolerate and to improve, against significant odds.
They want us to present the equivalent of five original lesson-plan speeches per day for what turns out to be less than they would pay a baby-sitter.
Keep on rocking: All right, people, here's the plan.
First, we watch a feature presentation of the brilliant film, "The Blackboard Jungle," starring Glenn Ford as a teacher at an inner-city school full of maniacs and untapped genius.
Vic Morrow is the king of the student punks.
Sidney Poitier has untapped potential.
The faculty lounge resembled a Red Cross emergency center.
It was louder inside the average classroom than it was outside on the street.
This was the first motion picture to use rock 'n' roll music - Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" - as a soundtrack. The opening scene set to that music is pure art.
After watching this show, then we stand together and hold out for more money - see how they'd like having their little angels home some more.
Original Print Headline: Needed: Lesson plan for real world