Wait staff in restaurants and school teachers have some job similarities. When a patron (student) comes to a restaurant (school) it isn’t the wait staff’s (teacher’s) responsibility to greet them and escort them to the table (classroom) where they will have their meal (lessons). The restaurant hires a host/hostess or a maitre’d for that, and that person decides which patrons are seated at which tables – and the wait staff usually also does not get to decide which tables in the restaurant they will be assigned to serve, either. In the same way, the school teacher does not decide which students are in their classes – that is decided by others at the school (counselors, admins, or whoever does the scheduling). Teachers teach the students that are sent to them, like wait staff serve the patrons who are seated at the tables they are assigned to serve. In Georgia (and in other places) a teacher’s job contract says that the school system can assign them to any classroom (or sometimes no classroom at all as a floating teacher who moves each class to a different room), any school in the district, teaching any subject they are qualified to teach, just like the wait staff person is assigned their tables and patrons to serve.
The restaurant owner determines the restaurant menu – the items that patrons must choose from when they order their meal at that restaurant. Students/parents at schools do register for their classes. At earlier grades, the menu is set – little or no choice. At high schools, where I teach, the student has much more choice in the menu offered. Still, the teacher has absolutely nothing to do with the menu offered. That is all determined by others. It is the wait staff’s job, (and the teachers’) to SERVE the food choices that are on the menu that was determined by someone else.
In the serving of the food (lessons) things get interesting. It isn’t the wait staff’s fault how long it takes the food to be prepared. That’s the job of the cook. The quality of the food also isn’t the wait staff’s fault – that food was ordered by the owner/manager of the restaurant – the wait staff SERVES it to the patron. It is the wait staff’s job to serve the food promptly when it is ready, AND it is the wait staff’s job to be sure the patron has the necessary equipment and supplies to consume the food; that means salt and pepper, other condiments like ketchup, sauces, and also napkins and cutlery. However, if the restaurant runs out of any of those things, that also isn’t the wait staff’s fault. Those things are supposed to be ordered by the restaurant owner and made available for the wait staff to provide. It also isn’t the wait staff’s fault if the table and chairs where the patron has been seated are old, or damaged – and it often isn’t the wait staff’s job to clean it, or the floor, either. They SERVE the food. Teachers TEACH the curriculum they are assigned or provided to teach (by other people). Yes, like the wait staff, teachers do their best to serve it promptly (nice and hot) with the proper supplies and equipment so consuming it isn’t a hassle, and good waiters serve the food with special flourish (all the bells and whistles and entertainment that make a restaurant a good dining experience – we call that “ambiance”). Teachers do prepare their lessons – how they are going to serve the food, and they try to do that in ways that provide that good ambiance to their students.
Still – even the best wait staff will have some patrons that will eat the food with their fingers when they have been given perfectly good knives, spoons, and forks. Even the best wait staff will still have patrons who will leave food uneaten on their plates, because patrons (students) CHOOSE what to eat from what’s served to them on their plates. Some patrons (an ever-growing number) even SEND BACK the food they are served, claiming that it isn’t good, or just because they don’t want it for some reason – even reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the food on the plate. Some patrons waste condiments, and deliberately make an unholy mess at their tables for the wait staff to clean up because they are unhappy about something that totally was not the wait staff’s fault (like the menu choices). Some unfairly rate the wait staff on things the wait staff cannot control (like the menu, the availability of supplies, or the damaged table) because the wait staff is the only employee they see. And some patrons come to the restaurant drunk or high on drugs, and demand to be served. It is also quite common for patrons at restaurants to be demanding, often actually rude. Some of them trash the restroom, too, before they leave. It is the wait staff’s job to serve them anyway, to the best of their ability – and then they don’t tip for the effort, or they just don’t eat the food.
Serving the public (in any job) isn’t always pretty. Most of the time, the public being served is at least mostly adults (who have learned good behavior even when they do not display it). School teachers are dealing with students who are youngsters who do not have the maturity of adults. Imagine being the wait staff in a restaurant full of children and adolescents. Want to sign up for that job?