Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I'm not exactly sure how to explain academic administration to second graders.
“Well, I go to a lot of meetings, and I try to get grownups to play nicely and share their toys.”
Somehow, I don't see that one capturing the room.
“I make sure we follow the rules.” Yawn. “I try to get teachers to behave.” Not bad, but I could see the discussion veering badly off-course. “I keep the college on an even keel despite years of public disinvestment.” Yeah, second graders are big on 'disinvestment.'
“I drink a lot of coffee, and read and writes lots of emails.” Pretty accurate, but it just doesn't fire the imagination.
I bet rodeo clowns don't have this problem...
Walk in, and secretly signal TB to start blowing enthusiastically on a kazoo. Have the kids divide up randomly into groups and pass out crayons, but make sure that some groups get enough for everyone, some groups have to share, and one group only gets Q-Tips. Then, pass out a simple coloring assignment with instructions written in Portuguese.
After a few minutes of utter confusion, you provide the English translation and extra crayons, and ask TB to stop with the kazoo.
Point being: what you do is make it possible for people to learn. You provide tools, structure a good learning environment, and remove impediments to student success.
DD: I hunt.
TBT: Hunt? For a living?
TBT: What on Earth do you hunt that you could make a living at it?
Son: My Dad is a Dean at the Community College.
Teach: Maybe you should explain what a Dean does for those hear who don't know that is.
Son: He fires people.
Teach: That's it? I think there must be more to the job than that.
Son: No, I don't think so.
That was the prelude to asking me to come in to talk about my job.
You should just tell the kids that you are a Principal for adults.
I have a hard enough time explaining academic administration to adults, much less second graders. Good luck.
You could tell them that you manage a group of second graders, only the ones you work with are quite a bit older and have the title "Professor".
Or you could simply say you put out fires every day. Same difference.
- it's factual
- it ties in the life lessons that they're learning now with life lessons that they'll need in the future. And they might not remember your presentation when they're a electrician, professor, rodeo clown or sales clerk, but maybe that lesson will have sunk in a little.
Share your toys, and don't call people names. It's good advice.
You can not compete with the fire truck.
Everything you do is cool - until the students hit fourth grade. After that, well, like, uh, whatever.
All of the children's behaviors you will see are things you have already seen reflected in community college students.
If there is actually another presenter on the schedule called "Bam! Kung Fu", you will not be able to go see it for yourself.
Some teachers will perform classroom management while your in the room, others will not care whether or not you do it for them.
Bring visual aids. That can not be over emphasized. Bring visual aids.
(My mom is a lawyer. I didn't know what that was either, but I was delighted when George Jetson hired one. Except, I remember saying, I didn't know *boys* could be lawyers.)