Multitudes of third graders across the country want to meet President Barack Obama. Sure--it would be pretty fantastic to meet the leader of the free world. Just as long as you're home in time to finish your homework. We took a survey the other day designed to generate some hilarious and/or poignant responses for use in the school yearbook. If you could meet one person, who would it be? What's one question you would ask the president? LeRoy would like to meet either "Tom Brady or President Obama because Obama is the president and Tom Brady is the best QB ever."
Many of my students have laundry lists of things they'd like President Obama to accomplish, from ice cream parties at school to laws against guns. They have the standard questions at the ready should he ever pop in unexpectedly to join us for snack. "Is it hard being president?" "How did you pick your dog?"
I'm sure that large numbers of children in the District of Columbia would also not turn down a chance to meet the mayor. Judging by how cool they thought the life-size photo of Mayor Fenty was when we visited his office last week, my students would probably be just a little star-struck to meet the man in the flesh. They'd most likely have similar requests--if Obama won't support the ice-cream-for-lunch cause, perhaps they'd have better luck with the local government. The kids had asked tons of great questions on our field trip, though one did manage to slip past the censors. It was not my proudest moment as a teacher when Dominick asked the Mayor's Federal Affairs Advisor, "Do you have a tissue?"
In decreasing order of elementary school popularity, we now come to the lesser known government jobs. Admit it--you don't really know what the Inspector General does or the term length of the city's C.F.O. Neither did I, until we started researching D.C. government this semester. The relative obscurity of these non-president, non-mayor public officials didn't stop Chloe from developing quite a love for the job she was researching. When asked on the yearbook survey whom she would like to meet, if given the choice of all people who have ever lived in all of history, of all fictional characters ever imagined, Chloe wrote that she would most like to meet Charles J. Willoughby, the D.C. Inspector General. I would be willing to bet that Mr. Willoughby has never been the answer to this question.
We dropped Mr. Willougby an email the next day to inform him of his status as a veritable hero to one studious third grader. Sure enough, his secretary called us a couple of days later to set up a visit.