Do Us All a Favor and Eat School Lunch.


This blog could be a long drawn out discussion of tenure. I could write about my thoughts on how it effects a student’s education. Is there any correlation between tenure and test scores? Is it human nature to get comfortable once on tenure and not work quite as hard as before? Does tenure provide much needed stability in the most important of all professions?

We could even get into the argument of other jobs not having this type of long-term job security. Everyone knows that other white collar professions, like lawyers, doctors, and engineers don’t have this type of security built into their careers.

On the other hand, I could also point out the positives of tenure, like it provides stability and allows teachers to make decisions in the best interest of children without being concerned about the affect it might have on their jobs. Learn How to Use a Microwave.

It also protects teachers from an administrator and school board that don’t have their employees’ and students’ best interests at heart.

But after analyzing both sides of the tenure argument, one fact jumps out at me- if a teacher burns popcorn in the lounge and stinks up the entire building- they have to go.

Don’t tell me about the union, or teachers’ rights, or due process. These people should not be allowed around children. I mean you have at least a four year college degree and can’t run a microwave? Please…at the very least… do us all a favor and eat school lunch.

Tenure or no tenure, these people should get a box, get their stuff, and get out.

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Fans Aren’t Disgusted.


One of the next big (sorry, bad choice of words) issues to face schools may well be steroids. If is not bad enough that schools are already responsible for their students’ breakfasts, dental care, and teaching them how to drive- soon we are also going to be responsible for what they are putting in their bodies (make your own joke here).

High school athletes are bound to follow the example that has been set for them by professionals. A student-athlete who is trying to get a college scholarship may take every advantage that they can find.

Parents send their kids to camps, put them on summer traveling teams, and pay for private lessons and coaching- how long until (it probably happens now and I am a little slow) an overzealous parent who wants the son/daughter to earn a college scholarship takes the next step- steroids.

When this happens, the first line of defense is going to be schools and state athletic associations. No surprise here, as schools are often expected to deal with student issues that happen outside of the educational/athletic setting. I Can Hardly Tell That Barry Bonds Put on Weight.

My belief on steroids is that the average American doesn’t really care if their entertainers are using performance enhancing drugs. The fact is, athletes and the sports they play are for our entertainment. The media wants us to be disgusted by athletes/entertainers using steroids, but our behavior shows that we aren’t.

If we were, baseball stadiums wouldn’t be full of families all summer long. If Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were still hitting home runs at a record pace, we would watch. If we were as mortified as the media tells us we are, fans would question the size of their favorite player in all sports (including Pro Wresting- although not really a sport according to some).

It isn’t just sports either. In America, we like our Hollywood action stars to be unusually big and strong. Have you seen pictures of Gov. Schwarzenegger (hope I spelled it right- no time to Google) since he got elected- a little different than when he was as a bodybuilder or in the movies (side note- don’t ever rent Hercules in NewYork).

I don’t blame athletes/entertainers for doing everything possible to maximize their careers. I am not sure I could say no if given the opportunity to enhance my career and make a large (again, bad choice of words) sum of money in a relatively short time. If using steroids would make me a better administrator and allow me to earn $36 million over five years, I think I would at least mull the thought over.

What I am not sure of is- are steroids a terrible thing if used properly under the care of a doctor? Maybe steroids are just so new that the medical community will need time to understand them better and make sure that they are properly used.

I could be completely wrong, but it wouldn’t surprise me that in 20 years, steroids are considered no different than vitamins or supplements.

In the meantime, I am sure they are going to make their way down to our young athletes. For that high school student who wants a college scholarship, all-conference honors, or to just make the varsity team- steroids are going to have a huge (sorry) appeal to them as a quick and easy way to improve as an athlete.

If it truly doesn’t bother us that professional athletes use steroids to gain an advantage, why should we be surprised that our young people may take the same path?

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Please Pass the Gravy, Soccer Guy.


I like to read, primarily the classics – golf magazines, newspapers, Sports Illustrated, internet sites, bathroom walls, and messages written on the backs of dirty semi-trucks.

Lately, all over the news (which happens every 2 or 3 years) is the fact that soccer is right on the cusp of capturing America’s attention as one of the major sports. Soccer people everywhere call into sports radio shows to declare that “Soccer is popular” and the rest of the major sports should get out the way.

Soon, the NFL and MLB, along with college football and basketball, and even golf will have to take a backseat to the world’s most popular game- the original football, aka soccer.

In the 70’s Pele was going to make every child in the United States want to grow up and play soccer. In the 80’s indoor soccer was going to be the rage. We got to the 90’s and soccer people everywhere thought that hosting a World Cup would grab our attention and make soccer the new national pastime. Soccer Guy is Handsome.

We even had a female soccer player score a goal and rip off her jersey to show us her sports bra. This was the event that would make all of our best female teenage athletes want to grow up and dominate the soccer world.

Now it is 2007 and David Beckham and his wife, Posh Spice, are going to be the catalyst for soccer’s entry into the public consciousness.

Along with soccer guy, newspapers are too blamed for starting this bandwagon that the rest of us aren’t jumping on. How long will it take for the 60 year old sports editors of major newspapers to figure out that NHL hockey isn’t a major sport, boxing is dead, and professional soccer doesn’t excite the average American who watches Sports Center.

Soccer guy will argue two points: one soccer is the world’s game, which is correct, it’s just not our game. Secondly, they say soccer is popular because 198 trillion six-year olds play it on Saturday morning.

Both of these facts are true, but there is more to it than that. In America we have what I like to call choices. There are a thousand and one things to do after work or on our weekends, fortunately most don’t involve kicking a ball into a net. As a group, Americans, like the outdoors, traditions, games that we can see the object being hit (you can’t even see a hockey puck on TV) and violence. Hence, the NFL is the most popular sport.

In small countries all around the world, people can’t waste their money on green fees for a round of golf, tickets to the movies, or a trip to Hardee’s for a Monster Burger. I am not saying this is right or fair, but we are busy people with lots of choices and we choose not to make soccer one of them. We can’t add professional soccer to our busy schedules because making room for it would mean giving something else up.

I think we like football so much, not because everyone who watches played the game, but because it looks good on TV and our favorite team only plays once a week. Who has the time to watch a professional soccer game on a Tuesday night?

The soccer pushers are correct about our six-year olds playing soccer. The kids love it, right up to the point that they can play a sport that allows them to use their hands.

Don’t get me wrong, professional soccer takes a great deal of skill, but for a small child nothing more is required than an hour on Saturday morning, a pair of tennis shoes, and a team t-shirt with Dairy Queen, Chicos Bail Bonds, or Tommy’s A-1 Mortuary on it.

More proof that soccer is the third cousin to football. When your six-year old is playing, it is usually on a football field. Has anyone ever gone to a football game held on the soccer field? I didn’t think so.

Just because a child plays it, doesn’t necessarily mean they will continue to love it when they get to be adults. Hence, there are not professional tag leagues, or hopscotch leagues, hide-and-seek leagues, or even Candyland tournaments in Las Vegas.

Our best athletes choose team sports that are backed by a traditionally strong professional league. You can go to any high school and out of the best 10 athletes, 8 play football, basketball, and baseball. If my math is correct, that leaves possibly one for golf and one for soccer.

It is not that I am anti-soccer, it serves a role in America. It certainly makes a six-year old tired and that makes them more likely to go to bed sooner, so we have that going for us.

If soccer was invited to the sports Thanksgiving dinner, it would have a seat- at the card table in the living room. Also, if you need more pumpkin pie soccer guy, you are going to have to get it yourself- the rest of us will be watching football.

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I Could Have Been a Typewriter Repairman.


Technology is changing fast. I often wonder how schools and teachers are going to keep up not only with the technology changes, but the students who seem to know more and more about computers at a much younger age.

When I graduated from high school, there was exactly one computer in the entire school district. A Commodore 128 if I remember correctly. I do recall that it was roughly the same size as my first car. But even though my friends and I weren’t sure what a computer could do for us, we knew it was cool.

It was located in the business classroom, right next to the typing room where I spent a semester learning to type on electric typewriters (half the time- the other half you spent on a manual typewriter which required the upper body strength of an Olympic weightlifter to return the carriage). Learning to Type on These, Wasn’t Easy.

I hope carriage is the proper term, our teacher made us memorize all of the parts of a typewriter. I wondered at the time if she assumed all 20 of us were going into the very high demand field of typewriter repair? I think I may have missed my career calling by about 40 years.

Back then (like the mid 80’s were the 12th century) technology consisted of a film projector and some sort of copying machine thing in the lounge that would make your hands blue from the ink (that is if you could stay in the lounge long enough that the cigarette smoke didn’t make you pass out). But I digress.

Technology continues to advance at an unbelievable rate and we as individuals and schools do our best to keep up. I am an example of this. I have made it all the way from staring at a Commodore computer in 1985 to writing a blog that is read by at least 2 people (at least 1 of which I am not related to).

Schools face the challenge of not only purchasing and replacing technology on a yearly basis, but training staff to use it, and educating teachers to teach it.

At what point will we, as educators, not be able to keep up? When will the time come that students arrive for their kindergarten year and they already know more about computers and technology than we can teach them when they get to high school.

The average 5 year old today has a computer, IPOD, video games, big screen TV, high speed internet, a DVD player in the mini-van, and will have a cell phone before they are 10 (with ring tones, a camera, text-messaging, and the ability to download TV shows and movies- and all of these things confuse and frighten a large majority of adults over the age of 55). And on top of that in a few years all of these devices may be combined into one personal media/phone/GPS/planner/camera/screwdriver.

Can schools and teachers advance as fast as the students who attend them? I think I will go fire up the ATARI and get a game of PONG in before bed.

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OJ, Rock Hudson, Nicole Ritchie, Sanjaya, and Paris Hilton.


Are we raising an entire generation of children whose goal is to be famous without having any discernable talent?

Everyone has a talent at something; you just have to find it. Our educational system isn’t really set up for discovering your individual talent, but that is a whole different blog.

When I was a kid, besides walking 12 miles to school each day- often times finding that both ways were up hill and it always seemed to be snowing, you had a goal for when you grew up. Granted, it was probably unrealistic, but it seemed liked everyone wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, nurse, baseball player, a train conductor, a mom, an astronaut- the list goes on. I Can Remember When O.J. Was a Good Guy.

We had role models, some that you could even count on (sorry, OJ). As I have gotten older, I have realized perception of our role models wasn’t actually reality (sorry, Rock Hudson). I think in 2007 with 24 hour news channels, we know way too much about everyone. Too much information about actors and actresses, politicians, and even famous people who aren’t even real celebrities and don’t have an ounce of talent (sorry, Nicole Ritchie).

Which brings me to my point that I believe kids today have grown up in an MTV Real World, Survivor, American Idol, Big Brother, and VH1 Reality show world in which people become famous simply because they get on TV. You don’t have to be good, or talented, or even have a skill. Sometimes the less talent you have, the more famous you can become (sorry, Sanjaya).

In the past, if you did something infamous, you were kicked out of the cool and famous group. Now, the more outlandish your behavior is, the more famous you can become.

We are going to end up with kids who think that if they can only get on TV and use terrible language, bad judgment, and make poor choices, that they will have a real chance to become famous and therefore, successful.

This may be true, but they will not have accomplished anything and they will not have made themselves or the world better (sorry, Paris Hilton). But they will be famous.

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We Are Here to Change the World and Touch the Future- Shouldn’t We Make More Money?


Teachers Like Money.Before I start, to the person who actually read “The End of the World as We Know It”- Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to read it and comment. However, I still don’t have a fear of getting run over by a float. Isn’t that a parental responsibility? If that did happen it would be a terrible accident, but as a parent isnst that a you problem, not a we problem?

This week my wife was nearly maimed by the kitchen light falling on her head. We live in a house that is about 3 years old and I assume the light just wasn’t installed correctly. No one’s fault, just an accident.

If she had died:

1.) it would have been awkward to explain to my second wife that it was an “accident”.

2.) should we ban kitchen lights because she was a victim of an accident?

That is a her problem, not a you problem (and it would certainly be my problem and a terrible loss to all of us….. she reads this Blog, mainly out of politeness I think). So…again, thanks again for actually reading my Blog all the way through (to think my high school English teacher said I would never amount to anything).

Now on to the next thing that has me confused (please no comments about me always being confused).

Why is it that when someone gets their first job in education they are so excited? As an administrator I consider one of the best parts of my job is getting the opportunity to hire a brand new teacher. I also think it is a big responsibility because a teacher hired for the 2007-08 school year may retire sometime around 2043.

By then, God willing, I will be 75 years old and only slightly more senile then I am now. Of course, by then I may not even know how old I am or recognize the fact that I may still be senile. I do know that at my school that will be 8 principals from now, so students and staff will have long forgotten my name (I may have also forgotten my name), but this year’s new teachers may still be working with students.

A new teacher looks forward to everything about their first teaching assignment…their new room, their own desk, getting keys to the building, a real paycheck, putting up bulletin boards, possibly even school lunch, and of course their first group of students.

Everything about the experience is positive and upbeat. They have no complaints about their schedule, or who their teaching partner is, or parents not being supportive, or the fact that they think teachers aren’t appreciated enough, or that their paycheck is too small.

A new teacher is open to advice and willing to try different things. There is no talk of “why change – that’s the way we have always done it” or “I am not going to use the computers- they will never catch on”. They are thrilled with the job, their colleagues, the kids, and the opportunity to make a difference.

This isn’t to say that veteran teachers don’t feel the same way. Many do and are a credit to education, but others may have begun to take the huge opportunity that we have been given as teachers for granted.

Many think they should get paid more, get more respect and appreciation, and maybe…just maybe…work less hours. But so should doctors, engineers, waitresses, carpenters, and the guy who changes the oil in my truck, and everyone else who works hard for a living for not nearly enough money.

Some people will say, since we work with students and are such a big part of shaping the lives of the future – we should be paid triple what we get now. I would have taken more money, but I am pretty sure I knew what my teaching salary would be when I was hired. I do recall on more than one occasion as I went through school, a teacher commenting on the fact that they didn’t get paid enough, so I was not shocked when I saw my first paycheck.

But somewhere, supply and demand comes into play. Sure, there are areas where good qualified teachers are hard to come by, but for the most part you can find a group of very good applicants for each open teaching position. If there were 50 candidates for every Neurosurgeon job, they probably wouldn’t make as much money as they do now.

It also must be human nature that over time some people begin to focus more on the things that aren’t given to us in our profession, and less about what we do get.

New teachers aren’t experienced enough to focus on what is not good about their job; they are too busy looking at the good side, they only see a chance to make a real difference.

Maybe we should all take a moment at the start of each school year to reflect on the excitement that new teachers possess and we undoubtedly had at the beginning of our careers.

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The End of the World as We Know It.


When did society become more about the individual who complains the loudest and less about what is good for the entire group?

This occurred to me while attending a July 4th parade with my 6 year old and her friend who both wanted to catch as much candy as possible from the passing floats. As the first few floats passed with no candy being thrown, the two kids were told that the people on the floats could not throw candy to the children because of safety reasons.Update:  Kids Like Candy at Parades.

My wife said we should Google- “children killed and maimed by parade candy” (I bet you Google it just to see). I don’t mean to make light of the fact because somewhere there is probably someone who got hit by a flying tootsie roll during a parade.

But just like in education where one person tries to yell loud enough or long enough in the hope that the district or administration will change to their line of thinking on a topic- one person evidently complained to the Mayor, so candy could not be thrown from the floats for safety.

Maybe I should take the safety of parade watchers more seriously, but of all the challenges that face us in an ever more complicated world, can’t kids at least enjoy the fact that they can watch a parade and catch candy thrown from a float?

Maybe the good old days really were better…

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PrincipalsPage.com- Why?


Thanks for taking a moment to read the first ever Blog on PrincipalsPage.com. I will be stunned if anyone is actually interested, but I guess we will find out. I thought for my first undertaking I should take a moment and explain how this website came about. My future blogs will deal with educational issues, or maybe something entirely outside that spectrum.

PrincipalsPage.com originated last spring while I was in the process of changing buildings as an administrator. Because of this, it occurred to me that I wanted to save and have access to all of the forms that I had used, created, and borrowed from others in the last four years. Why in the World Would I Blog?

The original website was only going to be a listing of forms that I could access off the internet. Then one thing led to another and as my wife worked her web mastering magic the website started to build itself. The site is free and will always be that way. I can’t imagine charging people for information that has been shared between administrators in the past. In school administration, I think the only people who truly understand what we deal with on a daily basis are other administrators.

After the first version of the site was complete, we got the bright idea to add the forum. The thing that has surprised me about the forum is the number of guests we get compared to the number of members who register. We have approximately 200 guests before we get a new member. I am amazed that in a short time, by word of mouth only, that people stop by just to read the new content that has been posted.

Now that we have the informational website, forum, and the blog- I am not sure what is next, but I am sure something will come along. My hope is we can make PrincipalsPage.com as interactive as possible, so teachers, administrators, and soon-to-be administrators stop by the site and share information. I think I would like to start a guest blog, where administrators from around the United States can write a short blog on an issue facing them in their part of the country.

If you have suggestions for me on what should be on the site or how it should look, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. Any and all suggestions will be considered.

Thanks for taking your time to visit PrincipalsPage.com. Please share the website with your friends in education.

My next blog will be about my thoughts regarding a small town not allowing candy to be thrown from floats in a parade (safety issue)… don’t get me started.

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Disclaimer

While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.