On Monday I went to speak at an elementary school career day for my two little cousins (both male). Paranoid that I would put kids to sleep, I went through several hours of preparation to make my 15 minute presentation exciting. I bought props, built in interaction and volunteer participation, came up with funny jokes, and planned for an experiment that involved yeast and a balloon.

But for the most part, I bombed.

I couldn’t compete with the firefighter and all his gear, or the policeman talking about catching criminals. And of course there was a magician and a basketball coach.

Who knows how many cells it takes to make a human? No, it’s actually 100 trillion. We have many different types of cells in our body that all have different functions. For instance take a look at these peanut M&Ms I sorted by color. Each represents a different type of cell. These blue M&Ms are your heart cells, these red ones are your skin cells, these green ones are your liver cells, and these orange ones are muscle cells. Notice how there are more orange M&M muscle cells than the others, just like in me since I have really big muscles. ๐Ÿ˜€

No one laughed, not even the teacher.

I talked to 3rd graders first and was very impressed with their zombie-like state. Even though they probably didn’t care about what I was saying, they appeared to be paying close attention. They stared at the front of the class while remaining completely still. They obediently raised their hands when I asked for participation, and no one spoke unless I called on them. They read questions from a worksheet given out by the teacher. The environment was robbing them of creativity and spontaneous excitement. Whenever a kid got distracted and started doodling or going through things in his desk, the teacher interrupted me to snap at him. This happened even more in the 1st grade class because they were not fully “trained.” I felt bad for them. They were being ordered around like soldiers.

Has anyone here had a can of Coke before? [Display empty can of Coke.] No matter where you buy coke, whether it be from the supermarket or a vending machine, from a different state or even a different country, Coke tastes exactly the same. Does anyone know why? The reason is because they follow a recipe, or process, when making it. How weird would it be if one day you opened a can of Coke and it tasted like Sprite? You wouldn’t like that very much probably. Now when making medicines, it is very important that every batch you make is exactly the same. You can’t have one batch that works while another doesn’t. If someone is sick, they need a batch that is guaranteed to work like it’s supposed to.

There were common themes in the classroom such as “Don’t talk out of turn” and “Always follow directions.” I saw posters in the hallway about honesty, trust, and sharing. I wondered if parents should be teaching these values instead.

After I was done, the teachers asked me leading questions…

“How important is sharing and caring?”
“How important is it to be on time?”
“How important is it to go to college?”

Sharing is useless in the adult world. I’m late almost every day yet have held down a job. And college is great only if you have a specific career in mind. I wussed out and answered how they wanted me to, letting the zombie children down. Teaching kids this utopia fantasy world is not going to help them be leaders and possess qualities that I think matters more than “sharing and caring,” like taking risks and being outspoken. I did resist once when the teacher asked me how I deal with conflict at work…

“Actually after work we go out back and fight.”

The kids’ eyes opened and for once that classroom felt alive! The teacher looked shocked and I took that as my cue to revert back to obedient world: “No actually we all sit down and talk about it like nice people.” The teacher added, “Yeah kids he was just joking.” I was being used to produce drones, followers. While the intention of the elementary school system is good, I think it saps creativity and free-thinking. Their individuality is being restrained simply to maintain order. I just hope the beta training academy doesn’t destroy my cousins.

34 thoughts on “CAREER DAY

  1. Sally

    Often the teachers have to come down so hard on the kids because the children aren’t getting the discipline at home that would remind them to act in a more socially-acceptable manner. On the other hand, the way school is formatted expects kids to act like little adults, which is dumb – have you ever seen a third-grader in action? They run, they yell, they touch everything. Normal child behavior.

  2. Madelyn

    A magician at career day? Seriously? I would have loved to have heard his answer about the importance of attending college.

    What’s your major? Magic. With a minor in card tricks.

  3. Kathryn

    The sweetest part of this is DCB’s little heart getting crushed when his jokes bombed.

    Too bad the commenters weren’t there to laugh at all your jokes.

  4. Anon

    I’m surprised they even let a can of Coke in the classroom. Aren’t soft drinks banned from school grounds now? Even if it was an empty can you could be tempting these kids into a lifetime addiction to Sugar and caffiene.

  5. TC the Terrible


    Kids are like animals in the wild. If you don’t strike fear into their hearts in the first encounter they will rip you to shreads and feast on your bones. In other words, beating large groups of small children into submission is really a good thing. There has to be a semblance of order in the classroom for learning to occur, so don’t get too worked up about the zombie state you witnessed.

    Besides, the education system is part of the bloated, over-oppressive, large governement that the liberal tax base has demanded we create; it couldn’t be fucked up. Now could it?


  6. chicgirl

    loved the ‘after work we all go and fight’. Poor kids – that sounds awful.

    Next time, tape it and play it on your blog mr. dcb!

  7. Jada

    Aww. Very cute and hilariously funny story. I knew there was a tender heart in there ” :banana: ”

  8. Eugenius

    good post……out of all the jobs you mentioned you actually had the only job which requires a “REAL” degree…(we all know criminal justice is a joke)…….

    what you failed to mention is that your real job is running Having Judy there would have been a great visual…

  9. KassyK

    You are so clever with timing…posting the “Pump and Dump” t-shirt marketing campaign and then the tender teaching children post directly after…Your female blog groupies are clutching their hearts as we speak.


  10. Chaco

    “You are so clever with timing?posting the ?Pump and Dump? t-shirt marketing campaign and then the tender teaching children post directly after?Your female blog groupies are clutching their hearts as we speak.”

    DCB, did you actually plan this as a “jerk routine” vs “puppy dog routine” contrast? If so, you are pretty slick. If not, this is a good discovery. Next time you are at D-fly…

  11. DCB Post author

    Hah timing is coincidental. I had to write about it while it was still fresh on my mind.

    I did forget to write about how the teachers would talk to the adult volunteers. They are so used to talking down to kids that they would talk to us in that song-like kids voice, explaining things like we were idiots. “Here is your nametag, just put your name on it and when you are done I will throw away your trash okay?? Great.” To get our attention they would do weird clapping patterns. Everything was positive and at the end of the day we had to go around and share cute thing that kids said.


  12. pill

    anytime the kids step out of line – they get there ritalin candy for the day… it’s all part of the control system perpetuated by corporatism to produce worker drones :whip:

  13. Anonymous

    coke doesn’t taste the same wherever you go. coke in the south is made to be sweeter while coke in other countries tastes completely different. Besides the recipe changing from region to region based on market analysis, ingredients vary. for example the water used can invariably effect the taste. The taste can be more distinct then the blind taste test for coke and pepsi.

  14. Raincouver

    Oooh – I have to agree with the anonymous post above (coke). Anyway, that was a cool story. Kudos to you for trying to make candy into science. But for the benefit of your readership, it may have been more fun to imagine the little brats high on sugar, after eating the costco-sized bag of M&M’s DCB brought to class. “Okay class, who wants to jump up and down on the table and run around the classroom? Wooo-hooooo!!!!” Hey – it’s an easy demonstration of calorie consumption and its tranformation to energy, n’est-ce pas?

  15. DCB Post author

    Anon: you are right, coke tastes different. In mexico they use sugarcane instead of corn syrup. In different states there is subtle differences in water taste and “heaviness”. But for the purpose of what I was trying to teach them, coke tastes the same.

  16. sara

    Aw, and to think you gave up a friday night to prepare… cute idea with the m&ms

    what WAS the magician’s response to the importance of college?

  17. phi

    coke also tastes different if it comes from the fountain, plastic bottle, can, or glass bottle too.

    man, I used to think people were freaks for homeschooling there kids, but this post makes me reconsider that. The more I think about it, the antiquated the school system we have is in need of a massive overhaul.

  18. Anon

    I work at a Montesorri school and the children and the parents really love the education we give.
    Whenever we speak to the child about something serious we get down at their level and make eye contact. We treat them with respect and therefore they act respectful and see the faith we put in them.

    Montessori philosophy is finally being used as originally intended, as a method of seeing children as they really are and of creating environments which foster the fulfillment of their highest potential – spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual

    It’s really incredible to watch the children formulate, and produce wonderful ideas without the rigid confines of the public school system which molds their way of thinking and learning. They don’t pay me very well, but it’s something I love and it’s a passionate career.

  19. O-face

    Yeah the fresher the product the better the taste..especially if you use cold water, co2, and ice. I love fountain drinks. But thats cool that you went in and spoke to the childrens of the future. I bet you had crack whore Whitney Houston blaring in the background with the song..”I Believe children are the future”. Just remember it could of been worse. You could of been the DEA agent who at a career day, shot himself in the foot trying to show his gun off to the class.

  20. Wendy

    I loved your presentation and I laughed at the jokes. Plus, I learned something new with the M & M anology.

    Public school sucks and they do not allow creative thought. I didn’t learn how to be a creative free thinker until I was out of the system and did drugs and drank booze…I mean when I studied art and religion and foreign societies…while on drugs and booze…


  21. Anonymous

    Yeah our education system is a big pile of dog shit.

    Down here in Fla we are proud to sport one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country. A shocking 35% of our 9th graders do not finish high school in 4 years. As South Carolina how they do… . a whooping 45% of their 9th graders don’t finish high school in 4 years.

    We pay teachers shit. We expect students to all of show up and pass a stupid FCAT exam every other year to graduate, and we teach them a bunch general background crap on 27K different subjects. It is amazing that we all sit around and wonder why the Chinesse and Japanesse are smoking us.

    Class sizes are 25 deep. Teachers have no power to discipline. Standards to become a teacher are about the same as a prison guard. I bet you didn’t know that your history teacher doesn’t have a degree in history, he has a degree in education. What a crook that is.

    I’ll stop bitching. Good job DCB. You are right on the mark.


  22. Ryunosuke Akutagawa

    meh, the Japanese system isn’t much better. It’s succeeded in creating an apathetic, unambitious group of 20- and 30- somethings that don’t have a real sense of identity outside of the latest handbags and hello kitty. The Japanese might smoke Americans on standardized tests, but if you ask them a question about anything off of the test and out of the testing context, they are unable to come up with an answer. Brain dump. The end result is a bunch of college grads (college is a joke in Japan) who aren’t much better off than Jeb and Sissy down in No’Cay-laaah-nuh. At least Jeb and Sissy aren’t living at home at 35.

  23. Anonymous

    I find major flaws in the public education system as well. However if I ever have children I plan on being involved in their education as much as possible to make up for it, but I will never home school. This is due to the simple fact that public school teaches a child that other people can be mean and cruel and teaches them how to develop a backbone to respond to that. You can’t teach that without experience. I was a friend of a family who home schooled and the older boy decided to try public high school (the one I went to, extremely tame, in rural Virginia) and he cried the whole way home after the first day and never went back. He was never around people who were mean to him and couldn’t deal.

  24. hedonistic

    I was at my daughter’s new high school for her sports physical. I looked around at all the Heathers and thought, oh my poor baby, she’s gonna get creamed.I still have flashbacks from my own high school days – – ghastly ones, and I was even a pom pom girl, so one might have thought I’d had fun. NOT.

    School is definitely the place to learn your hard knocks with regard to authority and peers. I was fortunate enough to have had good teachers, but remember the hard knocks more than any of the subject matter. I’m not sure whether this is a good or bad thing. I dealt with it by dropping out of school and going to France, and finishing high school in college. If my daughter wants to do the same thing, I’ll fully support her.

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  26. Insana C

    I googled Career Day tips because I’ve been “recruited” by my old high school adminstrator to speak as a realtor to 5th grade students at the elementary school that he is now prinicipal of. This is really making me re-think my decision to do it…

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