Friday, November 12, 2010

The Title

I literally sat staring at my computer screen trying to come up with a title for this article. I thought to myself, "If I am having this much trouble coming up with a title, how am I going to actually write anything?" It has been a strange couple of weeks. I believe I had mentioned that my main line of work is in the environmental management field and the company I work for has been contracted by a school board to do some health and safety/risk management assessments.

That being said, we did the first part of the work a few months ago. This consisted of the health and safety assessments. Now I am back at each of the schools to do a chemical inventory and to rearrange their chemical inventory so they are properly (safely) stored. Needless to say that when we did the H&S assessments, we found that most of the high school chemistry, biology labs we visited were anything but healthy and safe. Heck in one of the biology labs, I witnessed the class doing fetal pig dissections and none of the kids were wearing gloves, let alone eye protection. When the bell rang for lunch all of the kids left the class without so much as washing their hands.

So now the inventories. My work has led me to believe that in order to be a high school teacher you need the following:

1) No actual teaching skills

2) No actual understanding of the topics you are to instruct on

To demonstrate this I will give several examples.

No Actual Teaching Skills

The first school I was at had me situated in the chemistry prep room. There was access to the teachers office area through one door and to a couple of classrooms through two other doors.

In one classroom the class was rather boisterous. I think I counted the instructor yelling (yes yelling), "Shut Up!" 58 times in the one hour that he had the class in session. How is he getting anything done? I am not hearing any lecture materials being taught, only the constant drone of, "shut up!".

In the other classroom the instructor was discussing the principles of pH. The class was dead silent "taking" it all in. I was curious, how was she doing it. I positioned myself so I could catch a reflection into the classroom from the glass in the door. I chuckled to myself. Here she was, sitting on her desk with her legs slighty apart wearing a mini skirt. Ah the, "Basic Instincts" method of teaching.

In both these methods, I am not sure how much information is actually being retained . I do know that the "Shut Up!" teacher needs a sabatical and potentially a life review to see if this is the job for him.

No Actual Understanding of the Topics

This may require a bit more set up. At a different high school, we went to do the health and safety/risk management assessment back in May. At that time we quickly reviewed some of the chemicals and I was asking some questions of the staff member that was left with us. To my chemical questions he replied, "I am just the gym teacher, I don't know anything about chemicals." I asked what he did in the department, to which he replied, "I teach grade 12 chemistry to fill up my schedule. The rest of the time I teach Phys-Ed."

Fast forward to this past week. I am back at this school to do the chemical inventory and the safe rearranging of how the chemicals are stored. I dreaded this school so I never bothered to look up the contacts name (The contact was female back in May and she was a "joy" to work with - can you see that statement dripping with sarcasm.). When I arrived at the school I took out the email I had printed of the contact names, looked up the school and moved my finger across to the contact column. It was the name of the gym teacher. "What?", I asked myself.

I go into the school's office and ask for my contact. He comes down, greets me and tells me how happy he is to see me again. I ask him where my other contact is.

He states, "She did what all new female teachers do. They teach their first couple years and then get knocked up so they can get the next couple off on maternity leave (you see the teachers union is king in the province I live in)."

"Wonderful", I exclaim, "and what do you do at the school now."

He responds, "I am the new Science Department Head. When she left they posted the job and I applied for it and got it."

In my head I am screaming - "BUT YOU ARE THE GYM TEACHER!!!" On the outside I say, "So how is your teaching schedule."

"Grade 12 Chemistry in the morning and the rest of the day is Phys-Ed.", his answer.

With more prodding I basically realize he still knows nothing about chemistry. He leaves me to inventory the chemicals.

Some time passes and another chemistry teacher comes into the room carrying a cup of chemicals I guess. I watch him as he goes over to the "waste containers". These containers are labeled: flammable wastes eg organics, caustic wastes eg hydroxides and finally acidic wastes eg inorganic acids.

He ponders each of the labels and finally asks me, "What does caustic mean?"

"Basic", I answer.

He shakes his head and stares at the flammable waste container, he shakes his head as well. Finally he mentions to himself, "acidic, that's it", and he pours what I now know as waste into the acidic waste container. He then goes over to the sink to rinse out his cup.

I notice that his cup is leaking, the bottom then falls off and I state, "There's a hole in your bucket." (I try to put a plug in for Newfies as often as possible.)

"Yes there is.", he replied, "I don't understand why, this is a new cup, I just got it. I will have to call the manufacturer to complain."

I said, "Before you do that, you do know that the acid you had in your 'metal' cup probably had something to do with it." He's puzzled, I continue to explain that acids are corrosive to metals and that the acids probably weakened the cup to the point the bottom fell off.

He drops the useless cup into the garbage can and states, "You learn something new everyday." and leaves the room.

I literally collapsed onto a stool and began rocking back and forth. Apparently you don't have to know anything about the topic to be put in front of a class to teach "said" topic.

Teacher's Union Rules - did I mention that. So when a kid dies, the Teachers Union will be the first to bash the government over it.

How does this relate to WOW?

I did promise to get back to a WOW oriented blog. Well RL (real life - for my non-gaming followers) is way more funny. But, I can relate it to WOW. When you play WOW you have your toons. Those of us with alts, I think for the most part try very hard to learn, know our characters so we can play them to the best of our ability. We learn our rotations, study our different spells and abilities and watch the videos in some cases on the 'Net' to be able to play our toons better and not be called a "Noob". We want to be able to play these "alts" as if they were our main toons. Just the other day, I was playing and one of the others in my group asked me what my main toons name was. He said that he used to be in my guild and couldn't remember seeing my name. I rattled off a list of 4 or 5 names and he goes - Oh I remember you. You are the guy with 10 mains.

I smiled.

What am I going to do in real life? - apparently I am going to look into going back to school to become a teacher. I apparently don't need to know anything about teaching, just look good in a mini-skirt, and I also don't need to know anything about the topic I am to teach. Win - Win

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