“Green. The answer is green.”
This is your job. It’s how you make money, feed yourself and your family, and keep yourself from going under.
It’s what you spent four years of your life in college training to do; and what they keep making you pay more time and money to go back to school to keep doing.
It’s a constant hassle.
People in other professions persistently make you feel guilty, or pretend they know how to do your job. Your administrators, who should know better, try their best to make your job difficult by constantly instituting (and then eventually abandoning) some designer-theory they read about recently.
A lot of voters seem to flat-out hate you. And more and more, it seems like you could lose this job at any minute.
Yet, for some reason, you still love this job.
What is it?
Your job is to get students to understand that grass is green.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do.
You are given a tray, and the tray has a big pile of freshly cut grass on it.
You are sent into a room, every day, with over a hundred children. And your job is to explain to those children, in every way possible, that the plate contains grass, and that grass is green.
Sure, you could be teaching them any number of other things involving your wisdom, or their creativity, or teaching them how to use other skills to become a responsbile adult — but it’s simply more important that they all agree that the grass is green.
You tell them that, one day soon, someone from the state will come and ask every single one of them what color the grass is. You tell them that this person will bring a tray, looking almost identical to the one you’ve been showing them, with a simiar-looking pile of freshly-cut grass on it, and he will ask them, “What color is the grass?”
And they are to respond with the word: “Green.”
That’s it. That is all.
Just a one word exam.
You tell the children that the person with the tray, he has power. You tell them that if they do not take this question very seriously, and answer correctly, that he will not let them graduate. You tell them that the school budget hinges on them saying the grass is green. You might even hint that your paycheck will be one day tied to their answer to this one, seemingly oversimplified question.
They must answer correctly, or they will be left behind.
And no child will be left behind.
When the day comes, you know that many of your children are prepared. You have done your best. And though you are nervous, you feel confident that, one by one, they will all give the correct answer to the simple question they are given.
After all that work you did, how could they not?
At 7:45 in the morning on the day of the test, the students all crowd into rooms. They are told to remain silent, as one by one, a man addresses them with that tray of grass and asks them the very question you have prepped them for, and done your damnedest to explain the seriousness of, multiple, multiple times.
We must all agree that the color of the grass is green.
And they do.
One by one, they say the word, like robots: “Green. Green. Green. The grass is green.” Up and down the rows the man goes, and one by one, the kids say, “green.”
This is success.
But these are teenagers; and eventually, the man with the tray reaches a kid with an attitude. This specific kid could give a damn about the grass being green, and what green means to you, or the school, or the country, or even to his own future.
Because to him, the grass is greener somewhere else. And, in your heart of hearts, you know the kid is right: in the grand scheme of education, this test doesn’t really matter; nor is getting a room full of kids to regurgitate a standard piece of information.
But that doesn’t stop the kid from saying:
And he laughs, because to him it’s funny. He doesn’t care; because sometimes, to a kid, doing the opposite of what you’re told to do is exactly what you WILL do.
But he has failed this test, because the grass is, in fact, green; and by consequence, you have failed. You were responsible for getting him to give the right answer to the question; but he did not, and so it must be your fault. Say nothing of the fact that you did everything you could to instill in him the right answer, or the importance of taking the question seriously. He’s just a kid being a kid.
And every single child needed to pass this state test.
And, when it’s all said and done, maybe a couple other kids say the same thing. Maybe a few others didn’t take it seriously and just said or did whatever came to mind when the man with the tray came by to be funny. Maybe one of them took a nap, and was asleep when the man came to ask him. Maybe one didn’t show up at school at all that day.
Maybe one is colorblind.
But it’s still your fault. You worked all year, and you couldn’t even get every single person to agree that grass is green.
Now children will be left behind, and you are to blame.
Shame on you.