A while back, Ohio Governor John Kasich proposed that teachers should be required for recertification to spend time in a business so they could understand the real world.

Sarah Guinn of The Athens “Messenger” reported that:

“Some legislators responded by proposing the Get REALS Act (Governor’s Externship for Training of Realistic Expectations of Academic Leadership in Schools) which would require Kasich to spend 40 hours of on-site observations inside a public school. The Messenger decided to do the externship for a day at Athens High School.”

Guinn took on the challenge that Kasich has so far ducked. She learned a lot. The teachers wish that Kasich would try it. He would stop loading up the schools with mandates and unnecessary tests. He might learn a lot too.

She writes:

“Natalie Bobo’s classroom is replete with a tennis shoe-filled box for anyone who may need them, a griddle she uses a few times during the year to make breakfast for students and a myriad of basic school supplies and materials — a number of which are paid for from her own pocket.

“So what else might Kasich see if he were to venture to Athens High School?

“For this psuedo-Kasich who hasn’t spent a full day at high school in almost a decade, the experience was eye-opening in a number of ways.

“Bobo, an intervention specialist, changes gears many times throughout the day. She spends three periods in her own classroom providing instruction to students who need a slower-paced class than what’s typical for their grade level, and three outside of her classroom co-teaching. Two other periods are dedicated to academic coaching and planning.

“For the periods outside her classroom, Bobo teams up with Molly Roach to co-teach two freshman English classes; one for students at a typical level, and another at college-prep. She also co-teaches social studies with Paul Kaiser.

“This is a typical day for Bobo from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., but her true hours reach far beyond what’s contractually agreed upon, as is the case with many teachers.

“Teaching is physically and mentally exhausting,” Roach said. “I am on my feet all day, lecturing, monitoring group work, jumping from student to student to give individual help. I have to attend meetings. I have to plan and write tests. I have to grade the work of 132 students. I have one 43-minute planning period during which I am supposed to accomplish all my grading and planning, make copies, enter my grades, check and answer my emails, make parent phone calls, and Heaven forbid use the restroom or call home to check on my own children.”

“She eats and works at her desk during her 30-minute lunch break, she said, and takes home folders of ungraded papers each night.”

“When you are a teacher, you get no rest. There is always someone needing something from you,” she said. “You’re never finished with your work. It feels like a treadmill on high speed sometimes.”

Take this idea and run with it. Invite elected officials to be a teaching assistant for a day. Target state legislators. They have no idea what happens in schools.