Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 11.27.08 PMI don’t like the faculty bathroom.

 It may be a strange topic, but when I have to go to the bathroom, I use the regular student bathroom at the end of the hall.

I have a key to the faculty bathroom–it’s a prized possession in my school–my colleague still doesn’t have one and is forced to borrow mine. I only lend it to her even though I never use it–it’s like a rank on my epaulet I want to keep–it says “You are someone. You have a key to the faculty bathroom.” I’d make her one for her birthday, but I fear it might be illegal, because it says “DO NOT COPY.” You don’t want just anyone, mind you, using the bathroom. One-ply’s not cheap. It has to be regulated in these tough economic times.

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 11.22.22 PMThe real reason I don’t use the faculty bathroom is the same reason I don’t cut in line on those rare occasions I buy lunch. I wait behind the students who got there first. We’re all the same. I don’t need to cut the line. I don’t need a special bathroom, either. Even if it’s clean and good-smelling with a bathroom attendant and two-ply paper. I’m just like anyone else.

I must confess, some of my best interactions with students have been while we were in those cafeteria lines, hallways, and bathrooms. While I was being a person like just everyone else, not using my teacher-authority. Connecting with students as people builds the basis of relationships that allow me to teach and them to learn. One thing we sometimes forget in this field is that, without exception, students are our customers. They are the ones who matter. We market to them, sell to them, and serve them. We give them our best, but if they don’t buy our product, no learning takes place.

In much the same way, policy exists to serve them, too. When it does not, it must be changed. Even at the expense of testing, evaluations, funding, and agenda. Sometimes the system gets too top down. It makes it harder to listen to the guy at the bottom. Which, unfortunately, is the student we need to teach, who educational leaders must lead, and policy must serve.

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 11.19.46 PMTeaching is the smallest part of all of this. Teaching isn’t really teaching at all–it’s sales, marketing, counseling, and life coaching. We fit in the learning  to cement those bricks and build a house no wolf can blow down. There are a lot of wolves in the world.

Some people really like the faculty bathroom, even if it’s pretty far away and they have to earn the key. Maybe they feel special. Maybe they just want a moment to hide away from the chaos where no one can chase them down. Not me. I’ll be like everyone else, because the truth is we all teach each other, so I’ll count myself in with the ranks of students–I learn every day. I’m just the one who get stuck putting the grades in the book.

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