Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sharks and Antelopes

So today I'm gonna talk about sharks and antelopes. All around this conference I see sharks. Now it may be hard for you to believe this, but people have actually found a way to make a buttload of money off of people trying to help special educated kids. In case you didn't know, being able to read (or especially not being able to read) is a disability that supports a multi-million dollar business. Since reading affects not only reading books, but the internet, math problems, social studies/biology/discipline texts, it basically is the crux of the entire achievement problem. Being able to read academic english is pretty much the only way to succeed in traditional american schooling.

The sharks know this. They work for companies that know this. And like any company, they design, modify, and market their product. Then they search the murky waters of educational conferences picking up the scent of blood in the water. A wounded fish perhaps, too many breakout sessions has got the fish weary and scared. The sharks separate the fish as she's leaving the keynote address in the morning and coax her by the cheesy propane fireplace in the lobby to review the "product."

BAM! Two hour long sales presentation ensues, the shark wins, other sharks start circling, regional managers, other reading programs..."Get away from my FISH." RAAAAAAR (if sharks could growl underwater). This shark had a cheesy power suit on, Days of our Lives Hair, and bleached white teeth. Her victim was a small fish, a special ed teacher. But then just as the sharks were about to sink their bleached white teeth into the little fish, after all that talking and all that the oohing and aawing the little fish teacher said "Well I'll have to check with my Special Education Director she's the one with the money." Dun Dun DUUUUUUN little fish gets away! Muhahahahahaha

In other news this is my last day at the hotel. I'll be staying with a friend of the family tonight and some friends from LKSD in for Technology Conference this weekend. I'm really tired for some reason. Oh yeah, mental bludgeoning. The weather has been incredible bad in Bethel so hopefully I won't have any troubles when I get back on Saturday.

Today I'm going shopping! On the list of necessary items is good coffee, a large whiffle ball bat with whiffle balls, ping pong net and balls, and xbox 360 video games. A peculiar list I know but all particularly interesting!

Have a good one!


ms. cugno to some said...

"too many breakout sessions has got the fish weary and scared"
hahaha I know how this fish feels. This post had me laughing, hope you got away unscathed.

Beth said...

The problem isn’t the sharks, unfortunately. It’s not even the mind numbingly long presentations. The problem is the stupid fish that swim right into the sharks wide open jaws. The problem is teachers with four years or more of higher education who are still looking for a quick fix solution unable to translate research and theory into real life practices. I know we’re all guilty of it (I am most certainly guilty of it myself). Still, how can you consider yourself a professional when you are more excited about the free mechanical pencils you snagged from the publisher than the opportunity and experience of speaking one-on-one and asking questions of national experts in your field? Whenever I see a group of Teachers together I am reminded of why teachers are unable to elevate our profession to the level of our similarly educated peers in other fields.

All that being said, I left the conference on an incredible high. Seeing and hearing about all the awesome things going on in our field right here in Alaska was just what I needed. On top of that I was able to bounce ideas off of other likeminded educators doing and trying to do the same things I am attempting. It reminded me why I was beating myself up trying to accomplish these seemingly impossible tasks and gave me the optimism to keep working at what I know needs to be done regardless of what it takes.

Plus I got bags of cool free books and manipulatives and pens.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is not just getting "the free mechanical pencils" it is the fact that you had to spend countless hours sitting through lectures. Yes they can be really cool and the information can be great but it that is not everything. Sometimes sitting and talking with one of those "Sharks" can be more enlightening. I don't think it is getting a pencil or a few pencils that is what people enjoy - yes we do all enjoy free stuff- but it is talking one on one with someone.

Mr. Kale Iverson said...

I didn't take hardly any free stuff. I did talk to a lot of sharks.
Some of the sessions were good and some were not. The point that I was trying to make is that no activity is safe from commerce, not even the educating of the needy, or the birthing of babies, or the caring for the elderly.

And I for one hate paying for things I can get for free with my imagination.

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