When I was a reading specialist at an elementary school, my extra duty assignment was to steer 400 students through the lunchroom during their break. I wasn’t working alone. The principal was cleaning tables, the speech pathologist was handing out milk and juice cartons, and the assistant principal was keeping the salad bar refilled.
I managed seating, cleaned up the inevitable messes, and brought in extra tables if students were leaving more slowly than usual. What’s my point? If you want an impossible job done, give it to a team of teachers.
I saw this play out last again last week.
Friends who were lucky enough to schedule an appointment to get their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine have traveled an hour or two either way. I was having no luck scheduling even a distant appointment.
Following the advice of an overworked county health department official, I logged in on the state department’s vaccine site on a Wednesday evening, refreshing the page every few minutes. Then luck! I clicked on a location a few miles from my house, and an appointment screen appeared. After I secured my slot at a nearby Vo Tech, there was a little dancing in the kitchen.
When I arrived at the school on appointment day, the parking lot was full. A line snaked out the door of the building, and golf carts were circling through the drive picking up those who couldn’t walk in easily on their own. A man in a uniform checked my appointment confirmation, put a time sticker on the back window of the truck, and found us a parking place.
We were lined up according to our time slot.
Nursing students kept us spaced in the line and checked temps as we walked in the door. Office staff checked our IDs and signed us in. Finally, I was seated at a table where a nurse was emptying a fresh vile of the vaccine into syringes. I barely felt the prick when she gave me my shot.
Here’s the brilliant part: when we were checked in, we were given a card affirming our vaccination and confirming our next appointment, the same time slot for each of us, three weeks later.
Some of my traveling friends are still trying to schedule their second doses.
Even the 15-minute waiting period was handled efficiently. The nurse put a sticker on my shirt that noted the time I could leave. Students monitored us and escorted those who had traveled a lot farther than I did to the restrooms.
The experience was a master class in safety and efficiency, proof that a team of teachers, students, and staff can perform miracles. And this isn’t a one off. On any given day, Oklahoma teachers put their lives on the line and Oklahoma’s Career Tech system is something in which all Oklahomans should take pride.