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Dan Meyer

Occasionally a fast-food service employee or a Starbucks barista pens some malicious screed, hollering epithets at customers who don't know how to order drinks correctly or who order a modification from the menu.

I always find 'em odd because it's tricky to define which of our job-related nuisances are apple-basket-upsetting incidences and which are explicitly part of our job description.

It's fully understandable to say, well, if only there weren't unruly students, staff meetings, copier malfunctions, annoying colleagues, this job'd be so much more enjoyable. But all of that is Teaching. Or at least most of it is.

It's tough to draw that line so, in general, I try to assume these nuisances are part of my job, and my success in spite of them is why I'm paid, why I feel no guilt calling myself a professional despite that sweet two-month vacation I'll be enjoying in a few weeks.

I dig the apple basket imagery and the advice to refill it daily could only be classified as "invaluable." But it's one kind of success to maintain a full apple basket in spite of teaching nuisances. It's another entirely to take those nuisances and use them as occasions to fill the basket up.

I think I've got a decent grasp on the first skill but I'm still aspiring to the second.

I only know that I'm never prouder in this job than when I can rally past that jammed copier and still pull out a grade-A lesson with only ten minutes to make the modifications.

Or when I get unfairly dumped a discipline problem halfway through the semester, I can either remind myself to fill that apple basket up later with a beer and my NetFlix queue, compensating for all the apples her behavior's gonna upset. Or I can ply the skills for which my district hired me, show her I'm unshocked by her behavior, show her a good time in a place where she usually doesn't have a good time, and keep that apple basket full at a time when it oughtta be upended.

I appreciate this advice and if every teacher followed it to the letter I'm pretty sure the effect on our nation's ignorance would be devastating. I'm just saying there's a higher bar out there begging to be cleared.

John Evans

My own apple basket filling takes many forms. Some are purely for me, by me, like the NetFlix fix. Others come about as a result of my doing my job to the best of my abilities ... the personal satisfaction, the knowledge of a student and or teacher's success that I may have played a small part in and many more.

But I am no expert in this apple basket filling thing. I struggle some days, some times for many days to get those apples back in the basket after all the shaking that goes on. But I know I need to get those apples and I will do my best to get them so that I can have the energies to do what I love to do in my job, my home, and my world.

As teachers we are all givers, and I've heard more than one teacher at a low time state they just don't have any more to give. Hence, we need to take those apples when we can, as often as we can, so we can continue giving. It's what we do.

Dan Meyer

Well of COURSE I'd find our copier jammed this morning.

John Evans

You know, sometimes even the jammed copier, the center of the school's universe, can be a good thing if you look at it the right way.

Hey, what can I say I'm a glass half full kind of guy!

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