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Education, Humor, Teaching

Herding Cats: A Teaching Analogy

While attending an afternoon session of the Virtual Schools Symposium, a presenter (David McGeary) showed this EDS video that aired several years ago.  Every time I view this commercial, I think of my first teaching job.  Let me explain, and then let me know if you can relate.

I began my educational career as a science teacher at an inner city middle school in Phoenix.  We had a partnership with the local science center to use their computer lab once a week.   The science center was about two blocks away from the school.  So each week, I would prepare my group of 8th graders for the walk to the computer lab.  This process included statements like:

  • Cross the street on the light
  • Be nice to the homeless people
  • Don’t climb on the bus stop benches
  • Stay off the grass when we walk through Heritage Park
  • Don’t pick the flowers in front of the historical buildings (to give to the English teacher)

See the problem?  Being a newbie, I had not yet learned an important mathematical principal of middle school student perceptions. It is a fact that a middle school student’s “level of coolness” is inversely proportional to the speed at which they walk. Before we made it off school property I was shooing the girl’s forward, yelling for the boy’s to get back with the group, and trying to corral the wanderers.  Herding cats.  Good times.


About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.


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Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, sports enthusiast, technology fanatic and jedi in my own mind. Striving to be a difference maker!
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