I think when you become a school administrator it is inevitable that sooner or later (probably sooner) you will say something that you may regret. The best you can hope for is that it is not caught on tape. If it isn’t, you can always follow my 3 most important rules: deny, deny, deny. If that doesn’t work, fake a head injury.
I speak from experience. I have been involved in “incidents” twice, no let me think, not twice, but 417 times in the last five years. At this point you may be asking yourself two things, how does he remember all 417 times and why is he allowed around children?
When a principal says something intelligent it is quickly forgotten, but when you say something slightly ignorant (okay, completely ignorant) everyone remembers it.
Actually, you can be sure that the story will be told at your retirement party. And keep in mind everyone will be laughing at you, not with you.
A job in school administration lends itself to falling in love with your own voice. When you are in charge (at least you think you are, you may want to turn around and see if anyone is actually following you), there is the tendency to think you always need to say something.
When given this constant opportunity to speak, this can only lead to one thing. The opportunity to say something so dumb, so stupid, so competently inappropriate that you want to cut your tongue off with a dull letter opener right there and then.
I won’t share all 417 (as of 8/20/2007) moments with you, mainly because I don’t want to run out of material.
One “incident” that sticks in my mind is when I was invited to Daddy/Daughter/Donut Day in the first grade classroom.
What an honor I thought. A young lady needed a fill in because her dad couldn’t make it and they asked me. I thought what a great way to spend a few minutes on a Friday morning and get out of the office for a few moments, plus get a free donut (or seven).
It had all the makings of a win/win situation for both of us. I was patting myself on the back all the way down the hallway as I made my way to the first grade room.
When I arrived the teacher said the only thing I had to do was let this cute little blond, big eyed, young lady, read me a book. Then I could have all of the donuts that a principal could eat.
At this point in my mind, I was trying to figure out which shelf to put the Principal of the Year Award on, because seriously, what could go wrong?
It went like clockwork. Nice girl, good book (lots of pictures), the way too small chairs that are fun to sit in for short periods of time, parents commenting on how nice it was for me to help this young lady out, and finally the free donut(s).
I must admit at this point in the proceedings I was feeling awfully good about myself.
Nothing left to do, but stand up in front of the room and introduce my “daughter” for the day. We made our way up front. I could just sense that everyone in the room was thinking- what a good guy.
In her cute little 7 year old voice she introduced me, and then it was my turn. I said her name. Everyone applauded. So far, so good.
Then it happened. I was finished, but I didn’t stop. I felt the need to speak some more. Evidently, I just had to hear more of my own voice. I wish I hadn’t, but I did.
As usual I thought I was being charming, but in mid-sentence I caught the teacher’s eye in the back of the room and she was frantically shaking her head. She did everything but scream, “Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!”
It was in that split-second that I knew something was horribly wrong. My brain said stop, my mouth didn’t listen. It just came out.
“So, why don’t you tell everyone where your daddy is today?”
She replied, “He’s in prison.”
After that, all I remember is a complete silence coming over the entire room and the feeling that I needed to throw up 6 1/2 donuts.
At that moment I would have given a year’s salary for a good head injury.