IBM vs Education .. a melodrama
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If you send your people to an IBM Leadership Seminar, the instructor will guide and prod, say, 25 people through a highly distilled and interactive experience. All applaud, eat expensive boxed lunches, and may heed a point or two.
Bill Blarney is a famous well-paid instructor whose renowned programs are available in boxed sets on DVD.
As the IBM events planner, you go up to Bill Blarney at the end of the day as the late light filters through the graceful weeping amber trees beyond the huge picture windows into the plush seminar room. “Fine job today, Mr. Blarney,” you say. “I want to talk about the terms of your next engagement with IBM.”
Deeply at ease with his fine status, fine suit, and porsche reputation, fat-cattish, post-canary, post-saucer-brimming-with-thickest-cream, Bill Blarney beams all but beatifically at you.
“Well, Bill, next week starting Monday at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />8am, we want you to teach five different seminars before 3pm.”
“What!?” Bill expostulates, snorting like a startled stallion, “That’s absurd!”
“Additionally,” you add, “each 58 minute seminar will have between 30-40 students, a different group each hour. Between most of the seminars, you will have no break whatsoever – one group will file in as the other files out.”
“What?!” Bill’s eyes begin to bulge. A vein on his sweat-slicked forehead visibly pulses. “That’s absurd!”
“Moreover,” you continue, “each seminar plan involves completely different material.”
“Well, I, well, er, I – I guess I could do that on Monday if absolutely necessary to keep the lucrative, I mean important IBM account, but well, but it’s overwhelming, it’s unprecedented,” says Bill.
“And,” you say, “you must do the same pattern with all new materials and enthusiasms on Tuesday and then Wednesday and Thursday and Friday.”
“What!? You mean I can’t just repeat Monday’s materials? This is preposterous. I’m a leading professional. This is not humanly possible.”
“Well, you must also give assignments each day which you must correct and comment upon each evening – from at least 150 daily participants.”
“Nonsense,” barked Bill. “You’ve lost your mind.”
“Yes, and you will be paid 1/5 of your current salary and have no car allowance.”
Bill could no longer speak.
“And after next week’s five days, you will do five days a week thusly every month for nine & ½ months of the year.”
Weakly, licking the froth off his lips, Bill said, “No business could possibly demand this level of performance from any imaginable instructor. The energy, the organization, it’s simply inconceivable. You couldn’t pay me enough even if I could handle it for one single marathon week, least of all 36 weeks in a row. What has American business come to?”
“Not American business, BillBoy,” you say, “you’ve been made an American high school teacher.”
pls send this to your dear teacher friends as a holiday confection from both of us .. if only there were a way to thank them enough.
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