When Teachers Aren’t Teaching

When I’m not writing or doing my cyber crime work, I work at conferences. This past week it was a teacher’s conference about reading. It’s always interesting to see teachers out of the element and “in the wild.” This is the third time I’ve worked this particular conference, which focuses on getting students to read more, literacy and common core standards.

Teachers attend many presentations in addition to the keynote sessions in the morning. This year, Jeff Kinney, who is author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series was keynote the first day. There were over 6,000 teachers we had to wrangle to keep in line before the doors to the auditorium were opened.

Most were pleasant and joked around with us as we directed them to the end of the line. But there are always those who think they are “special” and insist on waiting near the line, but not in it and think they will be able to sneak into the keynote ahead of the others. Not gonna happen on my watch. They get really angry when you don’t let them get away with it.

The regular sessions/presentations are another story. Ninety percent of the teachers are good and will follow directions. But when a session was full and we couldn’t put more into the room, that ten percent would get really upset and yell at us, specifically me. I wanted to tell them, “Well, you should have gotten here early to get a seat instead of waiting until five minutes prior if you knew the session was going to be popular,” but I can’t do that.

So, I would tell them it was out of my hands and I was here making sure the rooms met fire code standards, which means everyone has to either be seated or standing along the back wall. No sitting on the floor. And you want to guess how many sat on the floor?

I would go into the room 15 minutes after the start and would almost always find at least one teacher sitting on the floor. I would politely explain to them they couldn’t do that because of the fire codes and usually they would stand. I had one teacher who would gather her things in a huff, walk out of the room, then go to the next one and sit on the floor there.

When she did this the second time, I stood next to her until she got up and left, then followed her to the next room and waited until she was seated or standing along the wall. She kept giving me the evil eye.

I did get three teachers who made a point to stop me and compliment me on our work at keeping everything in order. It’s always nice to get those compliments especially when they are few and far between.

One thing I always come away from after this conference is that it is I who was the teacher and the teachers were my students. And some of them behaved very badly indeed.

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4 Responses to When Teachers Aren’t Teaching

  1. LD Masterson says:

    Just goes to prove rudeness and the “I’m above the rules” attitude is found in all professions.

  2. Netcrimes says:

    Yes, it does!

  3. A very funny post! My first job was as a conference planner for an organization whose members were doctors and lawyers. They tried to sneak out of presentations but still get their full CE credit, bring spouses to ticketed events — the whole lot. And boy did they get annoyed — and arrogant — when they were told “no.”

    I always told myself I enjoyed the job because the topics of the conferences were fascinating (ethical issues in medicine, organ transplantation, etc) but I also think I got a little kick out of being a 22 year old with a BA in Comparative Lit bossing all those bigwigs around.

    • Jayne Hitchcock says:

      I know what you mean, Vicki! I always tell people I kick ass and take names at these conferences.

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