In my Master’s class a couple weeks ago, we were talking about administrators giving out end-of-the-year surveys/evaluations to teachers to assess the administrator. The conversation moved to what exactly one should do with the information gained from the survey. As it’s likely some of the responses are going to be a litte rough (to say the least), it’s important that administrators keep who the writer is in perspective. That’s when my prof brings out this story:
Bill and Ethel had been married many years. As they both grew older, Bill began to think Ethel was starting to lose her hearing. Being the sensitive, loving husband that he was, he wasn’t exactly sure how to appropriately bring the issue up with his dear wife.
One day the couple went to the doctor for their annual phsyicals. While Ethel was out the the room, Bill asked the doctor how he thinks Bill might bring up the issue with his wife. The doctor replied, “That’s easy. The next time she’s in a room with her back to her, come up behind her and say something. You’ll be able to judge her hearing loss by how close you have to get to her before she hears you.” Bill liked the idea.
A few weeks later, Bill entered the kitchen while Ethel was preparing dinner at the kitchen sink. From across the room, Bill spoke with a normal voice, “Ethel, how long till dinner is ready?” Ethel didn’t reply. Oh, this is bad, he thought. He took a step closer to her back and again asked, “When will dinner be ready, honey?” Again, no reply. Bill was deeply concerned. He took another step closer and repeated the question, “When’s supper ready?” Still nothing. Gravely saddened about the state of her hearing, he stood right behind Ethel and gave it one last effort. “When’s dinner going to be ready?” Ethel turned sternly and yelled, “IN FIVE MINUTES, FOR THE FOURTH DAMN TIME!”
Perpective. It’s an important factor to keep in mind in the classroom, behind the principals desk, and probably across every aspect of our lives.