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Teachers get a taste of student jobs on McTeacher's Night

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It was a strange thing for Jeff Moberg, New Richmond High School principal, to say on the job.

"Welcome to McDonald's. May I help you?"

Moberg, along with eight NRHS teachers, participated in McTeacher's Night at the local McDonald's located on 243 N. Knowles Ave. on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

None of the teachers had ever worked in a fast-food restaurant before.

According to Lori Hoeft, marketing manager for Courtesy Corporation McDonald's, the event is a chance for student employees to show their teachers how their fast-food job incorporates their classroom teachings.

"The teachers receive an invitation from their students," explained Hoeft. "They will work different positions - like cashier, the window - and rotate every 10 minutes."

The teachers arrived at 4:30 p.m. and got a tour of the store and preliminary instructions at each station before being paired up with a student employee.

Heidi Stephens, NRHS Spanish teacher, was at the cash register with Sam Mason, 10th-grader. Mason has been working at McDonald's since July 2011 and was demonstrating how to work the machine.

"It's extremely complicated," said Stephens, as she carefully watched Mason take an order and enter it into the register. "There is a lot of technology here."

The other NRHS teacher participants were Stephanie Karno - language arts, Joshua Fiege - social studies, Deborah Swanson - science, Jeff Swanson - assistant principal, Lara Hatzenbeler - math, Trish Moberg - math and Mandi Erickson - social studies.

The space behind the counter was crowded with students in their black uniforms and teachers in their white "McTeacher Night" T-shirts. Orders were being shouted across the din as the 5 p.m. dinner crowd arrived in cars and through the door.

"You need to make sure they have fries in there too," a student corrected a teacher at the window.

"Now, here is how you make a shake," said another student to a teacher standing behind the counter.

Hoeft explained that other McDonald's franchises have hosted McTeacher Nights, but this is the first time it has happened in New Richmond.

"We're going to try to do this every year," said Hoeft. "We want to make it convenient for the teachers and students."

When it was Principal Jeff Moberg's turn at the register, a family of eight walked in.

He took the orders from the children as Mason helped him put them in the register.

"She wanted the Happy Meal with the car - I do remember that," Moberg said.

"No, I want an iCarly toy," the little girl corrected him.

Moberg admitted that working the fast food counter is a lot harder than he thought.

"It's fun, but very fast-moving and a lot of activity," he said. "I think the most challenging is taking all the orders and capturing them correctly."

The teachers worked the stations for one hour, and then were treated to dinner at the restaurant.

"It was so fast-paced; you are constantly doing something," said Stephens. "I think I messed up two orders in the first 10 minutes."