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teachers, classrooms, hockey

Teachers at a South Dakota hockey game were invited to scramble for dollar bills to fund their classrooms.

UPDATE: The organizers of the "Dash for Cash" have apologized and are making extra donations to all teachers who signed up for the competition. Read that story here.

Sometimes winning a prize isn't rewarding, entertainment isn't entertaining and a feel-good story doesn't feel good at all. This is one of those times.

A hockey game intermission in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this weekend included a "dash for cash," in which 5,000 $1 bills were dumped onto a carpet in the middle of the rink and a handful of local teachers got to scramble on their knees to shove as many of the bills as they could into their clothing. Whatever they grabbed they could use in their classrooms.

The people who educate our children, on their knees, competing in a mad dash to cram dollar bills into their clothing to pay for classroom supplies, while spectators watch and cheer? Who thought this was a good idea?



Video of the event, which took place after the first period of the Sioux Falls Stampede hockey game, was shared by reporter Annie Todd on Twitter. It looks just as dystopian as it sounds.

First, garbage bags full of $1 bills were dumped into a big pile. All I can think is, someone had to go get 5,000 single dollar bills and someone had to stuff them into garbage bags, knowing what was going to be done with them.

Did everyone involved here think this was a goodidea? Did it warm their hearts to think of school teachers, who are already overworked and undervalued, desperately scraping the ground to pick up those dollar bills so their students could have some new books or markers or Kleenex? Really?

Then came the footage of the "dash for cash." It's been many years since I taught in a classroom, but as a former teacher, these videos genuinely made me want to cry.

Are you seeing what I'm seeing? The people who educate our children should not have to participate in demeaning public spectacles for others' entertainment in order to pay for things in their classrooms. Ever. Period.

And yet, enough people thought this was a good idea that it was organized and took place, which is baffling. Look at the description of the event on the Stampede hockey team's website:

"New this season, the Stampede and CU Mortgage Direct are looking for teachers who would like to raise some cash for their classrooms! Not just some cash, but more than $5,000 will be going back to local schools! Teachers will compete to raise money in two ways.

1) Tickets - Each teacher will have their own ticket link that they can share. Each ticket bought will equal $5 that goes back to their school! In addition, the teachers that sell the most will get additional prizes.

2) Dash for Cash - During the 1st intermission on December 11th, teachers will compete against one another to grab as much cash as they can! There will be 5,000 $1 bills on the ice and teachers will get to keep all the money they grab for their classroom!"

Why are we inviting teachers to "compete to raise money" for classrooms as if that's normal? Why are we describing teachers selling tickets to sporting events to get money for their schools as if it's a great opportunity for them and not an indictment of our educational system? (Did I mention that South Dakota ranks close to last in teacher pay?)

Teachers do enough already. Anyone who has taught in a classroom can attest that teaching alone is enough of a job and that teachers are not paid nearly enough to do it. In no civilized universe should we expect teachers to fundraise their own jobs, much less celebrate them competing for resources as a form of entertainment.

Some might say, "Hey, $5,000 is $5,000 right? Shouldn't these teachers be grateful?" I'm sure they are. Because teachers are thankful for every dollar they get to help their kids have a safe, comfortable, enriching learning environment. Most teachers—94%, according to the National Education Association—pay for classroom supplies out of their own pocket, so yeah, they're happy to get anything. But if someone wants teachers to have money, just donate it. Don't turn it into a humiliating, gladiator-style competition with $1 bills. It's just gross.

I mean, try to imagine a group of doctors scrambling for cash like this in front of a crowd to buy surgical equipment. Imagine business execs dropping to their knees to pick up dollar bills as fast as they can to buy office supplies. Imagine military personnel grasping at singles to pay for their tactical gear.

We would never see that. It would be absurd.

Teachers are professionals who deserve so much better than this. I hope whoever organized the event rethinks ever doing it again in the future and donates some extra cash to these teachers to apologize for the bad call.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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