Put 1,100 teenagers in one room and what do you get?
Energy, enthusiasm and excitement!
Put 110 teachers in one room and what do you get?
Suggestions, instructions and commands.
Last weekend I attended the Capital District Key Club convention in Baltimore with a great group of area youth.
We heard motivational speakers, learned about service projects, attended workshops, considered candidates' platforms and elected new district leaders.
It was as close to a political convention — minus the politics — that these kids will get at this age.
The weekend was educational and fun, if not just a tad bit exhausting.
Some of us started a little tired on Friday afternoon after a long work week.
Emotions, at times, ran high.
Even though the hotel that accommodated us deserves an award for its service overall and for putting up with that many teenagers, the start of the weekend was a little shaky.
We arrived in the late afternoon, got off the school bus and carried our luggage inside to the lobby. Because check-in for the convention was from 3 to 5 p.m., it was reasonable to expect that we would walk in, be issued rooms, take our bags upstairs and be off to the Inner Harbor restaurant where reservations had been made.
Reason gave way to chaos as advisers stood in line attempting to get hotel room keys.
We were told that the rooms had to be cross-referenced. With four people to a room, some Key Club members were placed with students from other schools. Essentially, if a club didn't have multiples of four, the leftover club members were paired with other leftover members from other clubs.
It's a great way for the teenagers to make friends, but it's not easy to figure out.
The process seemed to take a very long time, and most of the advisers waiting in line had ideas how the process could have been run more efficiently.
After all, most Key Club advisers are teachers. We are efficient, highly organized and accustomed to being in command of our classrooms.
As the workers were trying to process all the room assignments, the teachers in front of me came up with all kinds of solutions for how things could have been done differently.
"Why weren't the room assignments done in advance?"
"There's only one list for all these people?"
"We want a refund!"
Their comments probably were accurate and justifiable, and I think the workers realized that, but in such a high-stress situation, the lack of patience was not helping matters.
At one point, a worker spoke up and said, "I hear what you are saying, but could we deal with that tonight after the room assignments have been issued?"
Later I told him that he could be an air traffic controller.
He chuckled and agreed.
Apparently, dealing with teachers is as difficult as dealing with pilots and airports.
For confirmation, ask any principal.
Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to email@example.com.