I'm not a paid consultant (nor do I play one on tv); however, I do get asked by schools and districts to support their efforts. I see part of my work as listening carefully to teacher and student needs and then tailoring my message for those targets. The work teachers do is most important. I see my role as doing whatever I can to help things along.
I worked with a professional consultant this past week who did not see his role as one of support. It was an ugly experience...and if I ever make a foray into consulting, I will take the lesson from this week as one of what not to do. I'm not sure what was most offensive. Maybe it was the fact that the earnest questions of teachers (who had given up a week of time with students) were either ignored or responded to with cutesy platitudes. Or perhaps being talked down to was the worst part. Could have been the fact that I was looked upon as his personal slave: retrieving a soft drink for his lunch. But it might have been the third time in three hours that he asked me to check three rooms to see if anything was left on the walls. I'm not sure what he thought had magically sprouted there after the first time. Overall, for someone who came well recommended for the job, there was very little professional about the work...few pros at all to the situation. Just a big ole Con.