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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lining up Teachers in Alphabetical Order aka Herding Cats


Alpha Delta Kappa sisters are great at organizing classrooms and students, school activities, conventions, and charity events. However, this weekend at the Georgia State Convention, I discovered one area in which we lack organization.

“Sisters?”

There were about 60 chapter presidents milling around in the hallway. We were about to be presented at the formal banquet, one at a time, in a “Parade of Presidents.” Our names would be read, and then we would walk across the banquet hall to be greeted by the State President. Simple, right?

“Sisters!” Our Sergeant-at-Arms, the poor woman in charge of lining us up, desperately clutched a clip board to her chest. She had 30 minutes to get us in alphabetical order by district, chapter, and last name. I had questioned the allocation of half an hour for this process on the agenda, but it was apparent to me now that we would need every minute if we were to be in order by 7PM.

A few teachers nearby stopped talking and waited for instructions. The sisters farther away were still talking and hugging and laughing.

“Albany district over here!” The Sergeant-at-Arms used her teacher’s voice, and some 5 women strolled over to the corner where she was waving her clipboard. There were supposed to be 7.

“Atlanta district next!” A couple of sisters moved next to the Albany ladies and began to chat with them.

All I can say is that I’m glad that the job of herding these teachers into the correct order was not mine. Honestly, we needed an experienced Australian shepherd dog to round us up. The woman lining us up ran her hand through her hair and gestured weakly. “Decatur district line up here!”

My sisters and I grouped together and started to introduce ourselves to the sisters from Albany and Atlanta. We figured we were in the right place, so we saw no need to stay quiet.

By the time the Valdosta sisters were grouped, Albany and Atlanta had wandered off. 20 minutes had gone by, and the Sergeant-at-Arms had run her hands through her carefully coiffed hair so many times she looked like “a woodpecker on crack,” in the vernacular of one of our more rural sisters. She got louder.

“Sisters. Please get back to your district groups so I can make sure you’re placed in order by chapter.”

We moved back into groups slowly; we were in no hurry. We had 10 minutes left before the parade started, after all. Five minutes later, Albany and Atlanta were in line in the correct order.  25 minutes had ticked by, and there were quite a few districts to go.

A voice down the hall asked, “Ladies, are you ready to go in?”

What happened next was totally awesome. My sisters quietly spoke to each other and lined up in the correct order. It took 30 seconds. The Sergeant-at-Arms walked down the line, checking off names. There were no errors. We were ready to go.

It turned out that we didn’t really require 30 minutes to line up correctly – and we knew it. We needed about 30 seconds. That left us 29 ½ minutes to socialize, right? Maybe at the next convention, we could spare the Sergeant-at-Arms some trouble and assemble a minute or two before we were needed. Either that, or provide her with a well-trained sheepdog to nip at our ankles. I like the latter idea. You know how I love dogs.

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