7 For the Price of 1

Once a week, when I get the 192nd email requesting another PEP to be signed, or another backward mapping plan to be created…I remind myself just how crazy education really is.  I truly think that if people from the corporate world made a career shift to education they would freak out, have a full fledged heart attack, when they saw how different the two worlds are.

During the summer, I work as a real estate agent.  Therefore, have some experience with the mortgage industry and “corporate” world.  For just one basic real estate transaction two real estate agents, an inspector, a surveyor, a mortgage lender, paralegal, and attorney are needed.

If education was run like a company…oh how different things would be.  For every single teacher there would be:

1) A Lesson Plan Coordinator- to analyze the curriculum, research best practices, create PowerPoints with coinciding guided notes, set up interactive games, construct hands-on labs, make adequate practice problem sets

2) Rubric Designer & Grading Coordinator- to thoroughly, accurately, and objectively grade and correct every assignment with a quick turnaround

3) A Paralegal and Auditor- creating legal documents like…PEPs (Personalized Education Plans) for those in danger of failing, reviewing IEPs(Individualized Education Plans) for those with learning disabilities, testing LEPs(Limited English Proficiency)…and then making sure that these students have the proper testing accommodations in accordance with federal law (no big deal) for every quiz & test…Ex:  Brent has to sit in a separate setting, Angela can use her Spanish dictionary, and Ralph has to have his test blown up to 30 font.

4) A Counselor- to guide children through the college application process, to prevent classroom meltdowns, mediate classroom disputes, comfort students after a break up (especially for a very serious 2 week relationship), hold parent/teacher conferences

5) A Secretary- to input grades, return emails, make phone calls to parents, write disciplinary referrals, replace ink in the copier, order classroom supplies from catalogs, run to the grocery store to purchase perishable lab materials, collect & receipt all field trip money

6) Data Analyst- to look at individual quiz & test data, see which objectives on the standard course of study need re-looping and create individualized plans to get those students up to mastery for every objective of the curriculum

7) Therapist-  To keep all of the above sane.

Unfortunately, I am not a robot.  Nor am I seven employees in one.  (Definitely, don’t get the salary of 7 employees in 1).  Some days I’m not the best paralegal and forget to tell a student to sit in a “separate setting” during a quiz.  Please don’t throw me in jail.   Some days I’m not the best counselor and an unforeseen fight breaks out.  Although, I’m pretty good at sensing the pre-fight anguish nowadays.

But what if there were really 7 of me all serving the same clients?  What if each subject had numerous specialists instead of teachers stretched thin?  Would that revolutionize education? Is is it even possible?   If not, what is the answer?   The ideal teacher should do all of the above things.  I strive do to do all of those things.  Then I remind myself to sleep, eat and try to enjoy life a little bit.

What do you think is the answer to revolutionizing education, particularly secondary education?

By Erin Burns

About the Author: Erin Burns is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who teaches Biology at North Mecklenburg High School.  Erin graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Biology and minors in Education and Entrepreneurship.  A recent addition to the team, Erin looks to channel her creativity and passion for education-reform through the SKoolAide initiative.  Find her on LinkedIn, email her at erin@skoolaide.com, or follow @eburnsye on Twitter


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