Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Survivor" goes to school

Have you heard about the next planned "Survivor" show?

Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in elementary school classrooms for one school year.  


  • Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district's curriculum and a class of 20-25 students.
  • Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.H.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.


  • Each business person must complete lesson plans at least three days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. 
  • They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. 
  • They must stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways.
  • In addition, each month they will complete fire drills, tornado drills, and [Code Red] drills for shooting attacks.
  • They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, PTA meetings, and curriculum development meetings.
  • They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their two non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the SOLS tests.
  • If they are sick or having a bad day, they must not let it show.
  • Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program.
  • They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times.
  • If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.


  • The business people will only have access to the public golf course on the weekends, but with their new salary, they will not be able to afford it.
  • There will be no access to vendors who want to take them to lunch, and lunch in the school cafeteria will be limited to thirty minutes, which is not counted as part of their work day.
  • The business people will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.
  • If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before, or after, school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies.
  • The business people must continually advance their education, at their expense, and on their own time.

Reward for the winner

  • The winner of this Season of Survivor will be allowed to return to his/her job.

(I didn't write this! It's from an email to a teacher list I participate in.)


  1. Some comments from other teachers on the list:

    I would gladly volunteer my 9th grade classes; 6 classes, 25 students each, one 45 minute planning and 25 minute lunch. I don't have any gifted students but I do have the majority of the lowest 25% readers in my classes. Almost half of my students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
    If the politicians can survive this then perhaps they may stop calling us the evil scapegoat of society.
    High School Science teacher, FL

    I would like to substitute politicians, perhaps, for businesspeople---but they both seem to think they know how to "fix" education (it's all those bad teachers, doncha know?).

    Do you really think they know how to fix the problems or do they just believe they do? It seems to me they are trying to make schools fit into a business mold which is like trying to force a round 1 inch peg into a 1/2 inch square hole.

    They're doing what needs to be done to be reelected to office. They've "listened" to the public, and the public rallying cry is accountability. Everyone has had bad teachers along the way, and so they (having sat in a desk for 12 years themselves) insist that policymakers fix the problem. After all, they're accountable at their own jobs, so why shouldn't teachers be accountable? So I do think that some of these governors know better, but can't admit it or that's the end of their political futures.
    The cry is also against "failing schools." Usually those schools have tremendous discipline problems. Not that we can or should legislate parents, but how many of those people lambasting failing schools have children how are disruptive in the classroom? How many of them have offered to volunteer to read to children? How many of those have worked with PTO's -- and if there is no PTO/PTA, have they offered assistance? "It takes a village" is such a rich and true statement... But our "villages" are not being run by benevolent leaders right now.

    The sequel could be 'what if businesses were run like schools?' You have employees that don't show up, or show up late, have their heads down on their desks all day, and don't turn in work. You, having exhaustively tried every measure to motivate them, instruct in tasks in multiple ways, etc., etc., but finally refer these employees to management only to hear that they cannot be fired, and that their failures are your fault.