Being an overview of the latest title from TWP, soon to be on bookshelves across the country
The day before returning to school in January, most public school teachers A) question their sanity, B) stock up on gin, C) update the resume, or D) start planning the revolution. Resolutions are for failures and motivational speakers.
Step One in the revolution: Get Oprah on board.
With her new network just starting up, Oprah will need some help with her programming. Teachers, unite! Infiltrate the ranks from every angle—writing, editing, stuntwork (those of you from the South, chef up and cook the chick some first-rate biscuits and gravy), etc. With an all-out effort, we can turn OWN into TOW (Teaching Oprah Winfrey). When she sees how good we are, she will buy us all new cars AND abolish the national education department. She has that kind of power, you know.
Step Two: Pimp out the principal.
Band together within your school and find avenues for pimping out your principal to keep him out of the building as much as possible. Arrange for speaking engagements at local daycares and Wal-Mart meetings, at Toastmasters’ events and mall beauty pageants. Put on your feathered purple hat and bell bottoms and get to work selling the man (or in the rare case—the woman), and enjoy the rewards of not having to hear his pointless stories or rambling voice on the intercom. Eventually, you will become a teacher-led school, capitalizing on virtues, not VICES.
Step Three: Overload Outlook.
Encourage teachers to send mass emails to everyone in the district and to anyone else in their address book. These emails should detail good news from the classroom about your students’ accomplishments and learning, all of the things that admin never asks about or notices. Because of the positive message in the emails, sabotage cannot be proven. After Outlook blows up when everyone’s mailboxes become full, you will no longer need to read routine emails from the superintendent with the blanket comment of “You are all doing so much good for our kids,” thrown in at the end of a message that admonishes without evidence or specific reference every teacher in the district.
Step Four: Hold a real faculty meeting.
Arrange a faculty meeting and begin with some positive statements and then ask the superintendent and principal to speak before any faculty members do. Then, explain a specific agenda and actually follow it. Stop every five minutes and ask for input from the superintendent and principal. Calmly ask for evidence for any generalizations made by either faculty or administration. Have someone take notes and after the meeting, type the notes and send them to everyone, along with a request for more input. End on a positive note and a plan for the next meeting.
Step Five: Kittens
If the revolution is not happening, bring in kittens. One per teacher. The local animal shelter will have plenty of them. A warm and forgiving kitten in your arms gives you the strength to continue the fight for real change in your school, which you know means more time for reflection and absorption of ideas, positive feedback for everyone, collaboration, non-traditional units and lessons, and an innovative school schedule. But let’s not dwell on those unattainable practices, right, kitty? Meow.