Recently I teamed up - more than a little reluctantly - with a co-worker to participate in a Career Fair at my daughter's middle (junior high) school. All of us had been thoroughly briefed by the local Chamber of Commerce about what questions to expect, how to take charge of the class, etc. Three "veteran" career fair speakers gave testimonials about their previous experiences. The common thread was, "Be prepared for the question, 'How much money do you make?'".
I prepared by getting together two stacks of Monopoly $500's & $100's and all nine stock certificates from the game of Life. My plan for the props was to give a basic class on starting a bank. I also took along enough workbooks on budgeting for each 8th grader, and just for good measure I wore my best dark gray pinstripe suit, French blue shirt & silk tie.
What fun it was! I learned the basics of using a "Smart Board" (banging dust from erasers at the end of the day is soooooo early 90's). Best of all, the bankers DIDN'T have to follow the guy with the drug dog.
I came away with the assumption that this is how it would feel to be a teacher every day if you didn't have to deal with administrators, political correctness, lack of religion, office politics, unfunded government mandates, useless documentation, and - ahem - parents. One of the classrooms we rotated through was that of Ms. Miles, who teaches Pre-Algebra. As I was speaking I noticed a statement clearly done with 6-inch, hand-cut letters on the opposite bulletin board. It posed the question teachers should always address (yet so few of mine ever did): "Why do I need to know this?".
At that moment, Ms. Miles became my hero.