zombie

How Teaching Prepared Me For The Zombie Apocalypse

zombieThese days we live every minute looking over our shoulders for zombies.  The undead are just a fact of life.

When It began, some folks struggled to adapt to the status quo.  They lacked survival skills, or weren’t vigilant enough.  They trusted too easily and tried too hard to work together.  They lacked the ruthlessness that a life on the run demands.  But, not me.

You see, I was a teacher.

In the days before the Zombie Apocalypse, I taught science at a public middle school in North Carolina.  When the federal and state agencies adopted “merit-based teacher assessment”, linking our evaluations to high-stakes standardized tests taken by students once a year, few predicted the effect that it would have.  Sure, many of the “reformers” complained that it would destroy our schools, but no one listened.

They warned that teachers would shed their collaborative nature, and become cutthroat mercenaries.  We would hoard lessons ideas and supplies to keep a leg up on the others in our building.  We would fight tooth and nail to teach the students with the fewest obstacles to learning, reasoning that we can’t help anyone if we don’t have a job.  And you can’t keep your job if you don’t get those scores up.

The reformers predicted that it wouldn’t take long for the cheating to begin.  Under tremendous pressure to show that all of the work that we did in our classrooms had “value”, teachers would start teaching to the test and eventually just feed answers to the students on test day.  No reasonable educator would put her career in the hands of little Johnny and whether he ate breakfast that morning or felt like doing his best on test day.

Days before the virus broke out and brains became a delicacy, an intrepid education blogger posted his “How to Succeed as a Teacher” list.  It was supposed to be a joke.

  1. Don’t share your best ideas with ANYONE!
  2. When forming teams, make sure that there is always someone slower than you.
  3. Hoard and steal.
  4. Trust no one.
  5. Don’t help those who are struggling, as you will end up suffering their fate.
  6. Do whatever it takes to survive.

It turns out that these are the same skills that you need to escape from hungry zombies.  Lucky for me, I was trained to be ruthless as a public school teacher before the epidemic.  I feel bad for those suckers with “21st Century Skills” like collaboration and soft skills like compassion.  They’re just zombie food now.

photo credit: caliopedreams via photopin cc

3 thoughts on “How Teaching Prepared Me For The Zombie Apocalypse

  1. Hey Pal,

    First, this is hilarious! I love it when you get all snarky with us.

    Second, this is so sad and yet so true – especially rule #2.

    Third, what’s even sadder is that no one making #edpolicy choices seems to realize just how crappy their decisions really are. Why is it that common sense eludes them?

    #enjoyedthis

    Bill

  2. Ha. Frankly, I wish more people understood the power of the aforementioned list. Especially in settings where people are trained to be zombies / automatons and not thinkers.

    1. Jose,
      I completely agree. The irony is that we’re creating zombies, too, crushing divergent thinking.

      Thanks for engaging in the conversation here.

      -Paul

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