Yes, Christmas Eve means that Santa’s on his way–but it also means that thousands of Elves are scheduled to leave their Shelves tonight and fly back to the North Pole until next November.
It seems that debates between people who love and hate Elves on Shelves get livelier and more spirited each year (as do posts on social media showcasing Elves in Compromising Scenarios), and last week, a digital technology professor went so far as to call the Elf on a Shelf “a capillary form of power that normalizes the voluntary surrender of privacy, teaching young people to blindly accept panoptic surveillance and reify hegemonic power.”
In other words, and as the title of the Washington Post article proclaims, “The Elf on the Shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state.”
How are we, as a society, not employing the services of Elves on Shelves during each and every month of the year?!
As it is now, nobody but Santa really knows what Elves on Shelves do from December 25th through mid-November, but here’s an idea: they can continue their noble surveillance work in “no excuses” schools. After all, their ability to hang from Ceilings and their eagerness to “fly” to authorities and report Bad Behavior make them perfect candidates to work in “no excuses” settings. (Extra bonus: They work for CHEAP, and I seriously doubt they’re unionized. #Winning!)
So, CMOs, here are some ways Elves on Shelves can assist you in your institutions of learning:
- Hall monitors: Elves can help spot
childrenscholars who stray from or make noise in their single-file hallway lines, which in some schools are conveniently marked with brightly-colored tape on the floor. No talking, because Elves are watching and are ready to issue demerits. Elves should also make an effort to spot anyone leaning against the wall, wearing a shirt that’s not tucked in properly, or wearing the wrong belt and/or shoes. Finally, Elves can be helpful by supervising “TSA-style full-body searches” of students entering the building each morning. (They can’t actually perform searches, though, because nobody’s allowed to touch an Elf on a Shelf. And also because their hands are sewn together.)
- Classroom monitors: Elves can help teachers identify students who do not employ proper hand-signaling, who do not “track” the teacher, whose hands are folded on their desks improperly, who have poor pencil-sharpening techniques, or who fail to keep up with Whole Brain Teaching techniques. No time for any of that.
- Cafeteria monitors: This is a fun one. Elves assigned to lunch duty can monitor the “Table of Shame,” which is where students with demerits have to eat–sometimes standing up–for an entire period.
- Calm Down Room monitors: Another fun one–and a particularly good placement for Elves who can hang from Padded Room Light Fixtures so they’re safely out of the reach of scholars who are being punished for Freaking Out.
- Teacher monitors: In addition to monitoring student behavior in classrooms, Elves can monitor teachers to ensure that they’re following the scripts from which they’ve been instructed to read and prepping scholars for standardized tests.
- Population monitors: Elves can monitor demographics in “no excuses” schools, and can alert authorities at once when ELL, special-needs, or impoverished students infiltrate (and consequently corrupt) the learning environment.
- Political Rally monitors: Some students, parents, and staff members might be slightly uncomfortable with the idea of a field trip to a political rally, and that’s where Elf surveillance comes in, because it sends a very clear message: “We’re watching you, so get yourself on that bus.”
- Financial monitors: Elves can guard the cash “no excuses” schools rake in when they fine children and their families for things like gum-chewing and non-teacher-watching and possession of “flaming hot chips” (?!). (They should NOT, however, be let anywhere near the schools’ operating-cost and expenditure records.)
- Recess monitors: JK…there is no recess.
Summary: students learn best when they’re shamed into submission and obedience and teachers perform best when they feel like they’re being surveilled by people (or Elves) with sinister motives–so it’s obviously imperative to the functioning of “no excuses” schools that everyone be watched at all times. (Except CMOs, of course.)
So if your Elf on a Shelf is looking for a job while he’s not monitoring your children, please consider sub-letting him out to your local, friendly “no excuses” school during the off-season.
The scholars there will certainly thank you.