This tweet caught my eye last week.
— Tim McCaffrey (@timsmccaffrey) November 14, 2014
Three things on that.
1.) I’d be a way better coach
All four people tagged in that tweet can testify that credibility is the most precious commodity for an educational trainer.
Skeptics can smell a desk jockey the minute they walk into the conference room wearing dress shoes or heels.
I’m guilty of this skepticism, too. For the last eight years, I’ve attended CMC-South every fall, and some of the presenters are…
I’d scoff silently and see if any other–more interesting–sessions were taking place in that time slot. I’m a teacher, I told myself. I’m not going to waste 90 minutes listening to this district stooge talk about “rigor”.
Now I’m the district stooge.
Teaching one period a day would allow me 55 minutes to try out those ideas that Twitter and Voxer find for me: those ideas that sound awesome and I want to immediately try in the classroom.
Teaching, however, is a lot like making fudge.
Every fall, I make fudge for my students before Winter Break. I buy the ingredients, set up my double boiler, line the cooling tray with wax paper, and chop almonds and walnuts.
When I had 200 students, I made 5 batches of fudge.
When I had 80 students, I made 3 batches of fudge.
This year, I’ll probably make two batches of fudge.1
All the prep is the same, it’s just repeating the steps.
While I daydream about doing both roles, in reality…
2.) I’d be a way worse coach.
If I taught one period of students, I’m still prepping the lesson, entering grades, hanging student work on the wall, developing seating charts, and cutting out colored paper for a class set of congruent triangle cards.
All for only one batch of fudge.
Seems like an awful waste of energy.
As a one-period-per-day teacher, I have department meetings, IEPs, back-to-school night, and a heavenly host of other duties that keep me from meeting teachers as a coach.
Many would re-schedule.
Most would just give up trying to get a hold of me.
It wouldn’t be just 55 minutes that I’m a teacher, it’d be closer to half the workday. That’s hours each week that I’m not researching 1st grade math apps for the iPads, prepping workshops for getting departments on Google Drive, or giving demo lessons to seniors on QR codes.
A part-time teacher and part-time coach is significantly less profitable for my district than a full-time teacher or full-time coach.
What’s most likely in this scenario is…
3.) I’d do a mediocre job of both
“Sorry, students. Mr. Vaudrey is unavailable for math tutoring after school, during lunch, before school, or during prep period, and he also leans heavily on his department and grade-level teams to pull his weight on parent-conferences, student discipline, and late work.”
“Sorry, teachers. Vaudrey understands how busy your schedule is; he’s a teacher, too! His mornings are swamped scrambling through a lesson that he delivers once. But he can’t improve it for second period; there is no second period! After a 40-minute lunch at his desk answering Tech emails, he eventually settles on supporting a teacher at his school site instead of driving across town. His teammates at the middle school get most of his Ed Tech coaching, while other schools rarely see him.”
For the time being, I must be content to be just a coach, and mooch classrooms for demo lessons whenever I can. Those students will never be my students, but it’ll keep my chops sharp for the next time I present a grant summary at CMC.
While I miss the day-to-day routine of classroom teaching, I’m also thrilled to be building Google Presentations on a Chromebook while listening to SciShow and sitting on an exercise ball.
I wore costumes most of the day on Saturday.
Although… I did silly stuff in the classroom, too.
Silly is kinda tough to switch off.
~Matt “I still miss my running shoes” Vaudrey
P.S. John Stevens also wrote a response to Tim’s tweet.
P.P.S Check out Felix’s response in the comments below.