November 21, 2017

Guest Blog: “Showtime!”

Christopher Barnes is an eight-year middle school English teacher in the Northern Lehigh School District in Slatington, Pennsylvania. He spent seven years in the journalism field before changing careers. He wrote a novel, “180 Days,” about a freshman’s first year in high school (available here: and is a Twitter junkie: @TheMrBarnesShow. He has an amazing wife who is a dietitian and boxer, and two rock-star sons, Ike and Abel. His blog is updated at

The infomercials that scream at you in the middle of the night all have one thing in common. Besides the phoniness of the crowd’s reactions and the unbelievable cost of the product’s shipping and handling, each has an amazing amount of enthusiastic energy that is meant to grab your attention, maintain your focus, and open your gullible wallet.

As hokey and unnecessary as the product may seem, the salesperson reels you in. The energy is palpable and almost makes you believe your life needs a machine that can create hot-dog-shaped omelets. Once reeled in, the stage is his and the audience is achieved. It’s showtime.

We, as educators, have the luxury of selling a product we believe in but we have the privilege of entertaining the crowd of students, multiple times a day. (Sometimes it is the only laugh or faint smile they will muster up all week). Teachers understand that the majority of students in that classroom are less than thrilled to be there. They would rather be anywhere else – preferably at home with their loving video games or back in bed, dreaming about their loving video games – than sitting on an uncomfortable desk chair, in a hot room (with odd smells), surrounded by Garfield posters that mock Mondays.

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