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The Next Survivor Series

picture of Survivor logo

Do you like what they call "reality TV"? Although I have not watched more than a minute or two of Survivor (as I scramble for the remote control to change channels), from the ads I know there have been several different series, each with its own difficult setting and conditions. A couple of years ago I posted an idea for a new Survivor series [1].

A reader who teaches elementary school sent me an e-mail with an idea for yet another new series. Recently when Mark and Katie were at our house, I asked them to read it over and to change anything they deemed necessary to make it more real to life since they are both elementary school teachers. Here's the proposed plan for another series of Survivor:

Have you heard about what they are planning for the next season of Survivor? Three businessmen and women, three state senators, and three state representatives will be dropped into an elementary school classroom for one school year. Each "teacher" will be provided with a copy of the school district's curriculum and a class of 25-30 students.

Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.H.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.

Each of the "teachers" must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways. In addition, they will complete fire drills and tornado drills.

They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, and curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their two non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the ELDA tests. If they are sick or having a bad day they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times. If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.

The "teachers" will have access to the public golf course only on the weekends, but with their new salary, they may not be able to afford it. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to twenty minutes, with their students, which is not counted as part of their work day. The "teachers" will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.

If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before or after school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies. The "teachers" must continually advance their education, at their expense, and on their own time.

The winner of this season of Survivor will be allowed to return to his or her original job.


Does that sound more like "reality" than doing some of the things the contestants have to do in contrived situations on the Survivor show? Do you elementary teachers have any modifications or additions to make to the scenario described above?

Kudos to all you teachers out there who are making a difference in reality!


"When the judgment falls, and it will, what will we have left? If we give ourselves to the world, we end up with nothing." - Drew Conley

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Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first and the lesson afterwards.