Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We Standardized a Zoo

We Standardized a Zoo

December 7, 2011

I took a trip to the zoo this weekend.  I was HIGHLY disappointed with the outcome of my visit. 

I am not an expert on the care of various animals, their habitats, nutritional needs, mating patterns, or special abilities.  However, I feel the need to push my unfounded beliefs on zoo organizations, and begin a movement of standardization of all animals, in order to optimize my experience each time I visit.

First of all, why are the different breeds separated into different areas?  I got a sense that the kangaroo family felt singled out because they couldn't hop around with the prowling lions.  How hard would it be to put all of the animals in the same area?  Zookeepers should be capable of maintaining all the beastly needs of each breed within the same habitat.  I never went to zookeeper school, or managed the care of an African safari, but I feel that it is my right as a taxpaying citizen to expect this of zoos.

Next, why hasn't anyone been teaching the monkeys to fly?  If the California Condor can fly, then it should be equally expected of the Pygmy Marmosets as well.  And seeing as the zoo employees are provided with a substantial amount of financial compensation, there is no need to provide any additional funding for these additional instructional services.

Additionally, it is my expectation that all zoo employees are expected to be experts in all areas of animal care, including my pet's.  This includes nutritional needs, healthcare, and housetraining of my dog.  I should not have to do the work myself when there are organizations out there to do it for me.

Finally, I believe that I should have the sole responsibility of implementing these standards.  Again, I have no experience in zoo maintenance, animal care, or organizational finance.  I will decide what employee training is given.  I will decide how to maintain the the facilities.  I will decide how to assess the expectations.  I will decide the standards that are set, and which workers get to retain their jobs when the standards are not met.

It will be assumed that all of these standards are met, at a 100% pass rate, by the year 2020.


How to Be Taken Seriously When You're 30, But You Look Twelve--Chapter One

How to Be Taken Seriously When You're 30, But You Look Twelve

 July 23, 2011

Chapter 1--Are You Old Enough to Be a Teacher?

"Are you even old enough to teach?"  Yes, that is the top question asked by my students' parents when they meet me at Back-to-School Night. 

I want to say, "Nope," and just leave it at that.  "Nope."  Then smile pretty, and walk away.  I mean, really?  What do they expect me to say?  Big surprise though, I pull out my big professional words, give a courteous laugh, and reply, "Haha (insert I-AGREE-THAT'S-FUNNY-SMILE), I am.  I'm 31."  Wait for giant gasp from parent.  "Haha (smile), I get that all the time (smile)." 

I then proceed to convince the other same-age grown-ups that I am, indeed, capable of educating their offspring.  How many years I have been teaching.  Where I went to college.  My Masters in Administration degree.  Military experience. Grew up in New Jersey.  Have an epileptic dog.  I like sauerkraut.  The list goes on.  What information would you like to prove that I am of age? 

Every year since I was a post-college 22-year-old, I have had to validate my ability to teach at my ridiculously young age.  I know I look young.  Very young.  I know I am short.  As short as my 6th-graders.  Actually, shortER than most of my sixth-graders.  I know I look like I am the same age as most middle-schoolers.  But it makes me laugh every year when I am reminded by parents, by friends, by bosses, by other teachers, and by strangers that I look too young to teach.

This year, I believe I will wear a T-shirt to Middle School Back-to-School Night.  On it will be displayed the obvious information needed to prove myself.

"Ask my principal if she hired any teachers under the age of 12."

Seriously, I do not look like I am twelve years old. 

I look sixteen.