We all had to fill out a sheet of paper (you should have seen the complaints teachers made about having to use pencils in professional development) describing what type of workshop presentation we want to deliver in our monthly district professional development.
I don't mind the notion of a monthly professional development, despite the reality that the best skills I have learned occurred in a relational context, within the process of teaching and only among a small number of people. That and it usually involved a pint or two.
I simply don't have anything to teach, which makes it a dangerous venue for me. I play Icarus with the group and take the wings they offer me and then sail beyond my area of expertise. I get arrogant. I put on an act. It's not that people dislike it. In fact, they are often enjoying the show. It's just that it's dangerous for me when I fall into the sea and I'm left in isolation to tread water with my arrogant self.
So, when I filled out my application, I wrote the following answers as a joke:
1. What is the most important element in a thriving economy?
The human element.
2. What do business leaders use to create economic growth?
They use humanity. All of us. Those who figure out how to manipulate people learn how to manipulate systems and create revenue for personal gain.
3. What is the most necessary skill needed in an industrial economy?
For those at the bottom, it is obedience and conformity. To those at the top, it is figuring out how to get people who are naturally inclined to freedom and individuality to sacrifice these ideals to serve the needs of the company.
Yeah, I realize it had an anti-capital streak to it. I'm a bit of a civil libertarian myself. More of a Thoreau than an Emerson than a Marx or a Tolstoy. (Though I was involved in the Haymarket Square protests back in the day)
Then again, it was a joke. So, I was a bit surprised when I received the telegraph explaining that they would love me to give "The Human Element" as a PD explaining the dangers in being obsessed with education-for-job-growth and missing out on the notion of education-for-life. Perhaps I could even go in character as a representative of a robber baron and force the audience into deconstructing the satire.
It will be interesting.
I'm thinking "The Human Element: Ten Ways to Teach Students to Use People for Personal Gain." I heard people love lists and numbers at PD.