Teacher Palooza

A few weeks ago Elliot Vittes challenged the Deans at UCF to compete in Teacher Palooza as part of family weekend. The challenge involved teaching a simulated class of five 7th graders for three minutes with the goal of convincing them that attending our undergraduate alma mater was a good goal for these students.

The simulated classroom technology (TeachLiVE) is the product of a joint effort between the UCF Institute for Simulation & Training and the Colleges of Education and Engineering. It is used to introduce aspiring educators to the realities of the classroom. Our five students were a diverse lot: an aspiring pilot, an over enthusiastic naturalist hoping to be an engineer, a dude who wanted to be a DJ, a whisperer who didn’t want to admit to liking anything, and a girl waiting to be discovered as a reality TV star.

Five deans took Elliot’s challenge: Grant Hayes (Education), Mike Frumpkin (COPA), Michael Georgiopoulos (Engineering), Ross Hinkle (Graduate School) and me.

We drew lots for our order of presentation. I got to go last. That was a big advantage: I got to learn a little more about my students before making my pitch. I also got to learn that Mike G did his undergrad in Greece and Ross went to some small school built out in a pasture that nobody heard of…. They were dead meat. Grant was the ringer here, but I was most worried about Mike F….He went to NYU and wasn’t afraid to play his New York City card. Don’t be fooled, social workers can be ruthless.

When my turn came, I talked about a school that taught me about the importance of expecting greatness and provided a list of astronauts, performers, writers, Dee Jays and leaders who got their start in Ann Arbor, learned big ideas and went on to do what their alma mater expected of them. I also threw in the Big House.

When it was all done?

Well let’s just say….

“Come believe in something greater than yourself. Put your grand imagination to work. Come join the leaders and best–The victors valiant. Come to Michigan.”


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