A Free Shirt and a Magazine Article; Who’s Laughing Now Mr. College Professor?

My Favorite College Professor... Dr. Indiana Jones.Today was a good day.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t solve world hunger, win the lottery, or meet Mike Rowe (that would be winning the lottery!).

But, I did get a free shirt from Land’s End and a Blog published in The School Administrator Magazine (in case you don’t believe me… click here).

The shirt was a very nice thank you for my mentioning the Land’s End Teachers Light the Way Contest. This is officially your last mention, Land’s End. Unless, of course, another shirt happens to make its way into my mailbox (you know the address).

I also don’t mind taking credit for single-handedly saving a lady’s job at a very important public relations firm (by the way PrincipalsPage.com only works with the most powerful companies).

Thanks for the shirt. I can promise you that there will be a lot of bad golf played in it this summer.

As for the Blog, I have the people at the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) to thank.

They are either very nice or a little desperate for material since they have published my Blog as an “actual” article…in an “actual” magazine.

This may literally set the publishing industry in the educational administration field back 20 years.

I have been a big fan of the magazine, but now I wonder. Can I enjoy a publication that stoops to this level?

Chocolate Milk Tastes Better When I Am Not Being Violated has made it into the pages of the April issue (I just had a thought…could this be their April Fool’s joke on their readers?).

I was also excited to find out they placed the article in a very prominent place on page 59 (next time I am holding out for a cover).

So, it was a good day.

A free shirt and a magazine. Usually, just getting a free shirt makes my day.

When I received an advanced copy of the magazine (which made me feel quite important), thoughts of my first college English professor came rushing into my mind.

You are probably thinking that he is the inspiration for me to write. Or he introduced me to all the great works of literature. Or maybe he pushed me to be the best writer possible.

None of the above.

He took my first writing sample of my freshman year and ripped it to shreds.

At the top of the 3 pages that I had spent literally minutes composing, he wrote, “This IS the worst example of writing that I have EVER seen.”

I wish I was kidding. And I bet he wished he hadn’t wasted 12 brand new red pens on my assignment.

So on this momentous day (not really, but thanks for playing along), I remember you… Mr. College Professor.

And you didn’t think I would amount to anything. That I would be a total failure and blight on society.

I have a new shirt and a magazine article that begs to differ.

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Kiss Your Loved Ones Goodbye; The End is Near.

I'm Guessing They Weren't in Love.  And I'm Guessing He Would Get Arrested Today if He Did That.Take my advice and in the next 24 hours make contact with all the people you love and hold dear. Call, email, drive, fly… do whatever it takes.

Don’t let this opportunity pass because you will regret it for the rest of your life.

The end is near.

So, technically the regret won’t last that long. But, I digress.

Why is the world spiraling out of control? Why are we on the cusp of total mayhem? What has happened that is so monumental that life on this planet is about to end?


Guess who scored a goal in her soccer game?

Yes, that’s right. My jobless daughter actually kicked (remember, no hands) a ball past 14 defenders and a world class goalie to put the Orthopedic Clinic up 1-0 on our way to yet another victory (final score 3-0, but who is counting).

At least that is the way I remember it.

I have never seen another soccer team as big, as fast, and as athletic as our opponent.

Their defense was nearly impenetrable as the jobless, slightly lazy one made her way down the field.

She weaved her way in and out of defenders with amazing skill and precision. As she made her way towards the goal you could see that they were going to be no match for her talent (she gets most of her athletic skills from her mom).

Then it happened. She reared back, as only a future Olympian can and took a mighty kick at the ball.

Their team was obviously overmatched, and I don’t mind saying a little scared.

She fired the ball at the goal. As our fans yelled, and theirs screamed in horror, the soccer ball crossed the line and went into the goal at nearly 90 miles an hour.

I felt a little sad for the goalie as she fell to her knees and wept.

The jobless one looked into their section of fans and taunted them with a little move that she likes to call, “The Happy Dance.”

And then I blacked out.

My wife said as soon as she scored, I passed out and hit my head on the floor.

I don’t remember a thing.

But, the wife does. She saw what really happened.

We were playing a team that was missing 4 kids (vacation, trips to the water fountain, 2 in the potty, etc.).

The goalie was evidently distracted (and not world class, but very scrappy for a 31 pound kindergartner). The defense was confused (and a couple were sad because they missed lunch… these games that start at 12:00 pm are not for the faint of heart).

My daughter didn’t exactly weave in and out of defenders. It was more like she was in the right place at the right time.

And she didn’t exactly fire a shot at 90 miles an hour. She actually bumped the ball… by accident… with the side of her foot.

Our fans didn’t yell. Theirs didn’t scream.

But, she was very excited as the ball trickled into the goal. It was almost like the whole thing happened in slow motion.

Maybe that’s because when she runs, it looks like slow motion.

Anyways, it was a goal. And then she jumped up and down like this was the greatest moment of her life.

Then I fell and hit my head.

She has already forgotten about this athletic achievement and moved on to playing sidewalk chalk.

As for me, I will remember this as the moment when her Hall of Fame soccer career first began.

Go see your loved ones. The end is near.

I am going to take a nap. My head is killing me.

Odds are when I wake up; this will all have been a dream.

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Schools Need to Teach More Technology and Even More Importantly, Why I Hate Spelling.

Spelling Bee.I am here to push the nation’s schools forward with their use of technology. Sure it sounds like a big job, but society is in luck as I have 20 minutes to waste.

Yes, you read correctly, I am going to change the educational world in 20 minutes because I am bored (if it is any consulation, I am seeing a therapist…or 7).

It is possible that I am simply trying to fill up space on the Blog. Or I could be a raving lunatic administrator with anger issues. You can be the judge (my wife has already voiced her opinion… she said lunatic, with a little bit of sad and pathetic mixed in).

The question at hand (until I think of a better one on which to hyperfocus): Should schools spend more time teaching technology? And if so, what subject area should be dropped from the curriculum to make room for more time in the computer lab?

After mulling these two questions over for literally 19 seconds (I have a snazzy running watch with a timer) and poring over exactly no scientific evidence, I have come to the following conclusions.

I vote yes to more technology and vote to drop spelling like a bad habit (much like Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s wife is going to drop him once a huge settlement is reached).

You have probably noticed that my conclusions to complex problems are extremely well thought out. Or not. It is my Blog, so I feel comfortable drawing any conclusion I want with no regard to using an actual process (or facts… or common sense).

Why have I concluded schools need to teach more technology and less spelling? It is quite simple, really. Because technology is cool and I hate spelling.

You must admit, you don’t get this type of insight by taking college courses or by reading some of the fancy educational blogs.

In the last few years it has become apparent to me that some schools do not see the need to focus classroom time on technology.

I hate to break the news to everyone, but I am pretty sure technology isn’t a fad. I don’t think it is going to disappear in 3 years as educators move on to the next magic pill.

In my mind (however cloudy) it is more important than a pencil and a piece of paper.

It will not be a small part of our student’s lives; it will be their lives.

How do I know? Because everything we do in life is now based on technology.

Just a few examples are a trip to the ATM; banking on line; taking a trip by airplane; working on a car engine; renewing your drivers license; and using the internet as our #1 source for information.

All technology; all the time. How the world has changed in the last 10 years.

This doesn’t even take into account how blogs, podcasts, streaming videos, and text messaging are becoming part of our everyday lives.

Schools have to devote more time to technology. And it needs to be integrated into every subject area, preferably on a daily basis.

How can we do that without changing how we presently teach? We can’t. That is the point.

I say drop spelling. Do we need it? After all, technology provides us with spell check.

You have to admit, the English Language is a mess.

Plus spelling got on my bad side when my elementary teachers couldn’t explain the following:

-Why knife had to start with a k

-The word “One thousand” contains the letter A, but none of the words from one to nine hundred ninety-nine has an A (Google it)

-Or the most confusing sentence of my youth… They were too close to the door to close it.

It really is exhausting being me.

Spelling is an exercise in confusion. I say get rid of it.

Or, better yet we can teach students to spell by using technology (here is a free plug for SpellingCity.com).

I think I made my point and helped society, all in less than 20 minutes (without spell check, this Blog would have taken much longer, although it wouldn’t have made any more sense).

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Retirement is not for the Squeemish. So I have a Plan.

It's the Key to Retirement.  Get it?I think about retirement a lot. Mostly on the bad days. Almost always on Sunday evenings when I am faced with the prospect of returning to school the next morning (or running away like a frightened little girl… up to this point I have always chosen to return to school… stay tuned for further updates).

At this point in my career, retirement seems like a wonderful idea. It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (this is my first, and most likely my last, rainbow reference).

Sadly, I am a long way from my retirement years. I know this for a fact because the countdown to my retirement is on the front of PrincipalsPage.com (this is what I like to call a gratuitous plug).

When I first began my administrative career, a wise old superintendent told me that the idea of retirement was a grand one… when you are young and just beginning your career in education.

He believed that when a teacher or administrator inched closer to retirement, the idea loses some of its luster.

When faced with the actual prospect of retirement, people become uneasy with the idea of this huge change to their lives.

As I get older (and older and older…), I am starting to recognize this as being true.

The thought of giving up my job and never working again crosses my mind occasionally (by occasionally, I mean every 12 minutes), but I really am starting to recognize the wisdom of that old superintendent.

Each year I have the pleasure of seeing one or two staff members enter into retirement.

What I have found to be true with each of these employees is that they are extremely nervous as they enter into this next phase of their lives.

Some are excited. Some are scared. Most are both excited and scared. None of them know for sure if they will be any good at retirement.

They are leaving a school, a staff, and a routine that has been part of their lives for over 30 years. And they are faced with some difficult questions.

They are faced with the idea of redefining themselves. For years they have been part of the school culture and this will no longer be true (at least on a day to day basis…lucky dogs).

As they head into another phase of their lives they are also faced with possible financial and health issues.

But mostly, for the first time in several decades they must deal with the unknown. No school starting in August. No school calendar to follow. No bell will ring when it is time for lunch.

I can envision this being a huge challenge. Let’s face it, retirement and the decisions that come with it add a tremendous amount of pressure to older employee’s lives.

But lucky for them, I have a solution to this problem.

I am proposing that we begin to live our professional lives backwards.

From the age of 22 to 35 should be the retirement years. The true Golden Years if you will.

The government picks up the tab and we will have the good health and energy to enjoy all of this free time.

Golf every day, when we can still hit the ball (and see it). Time to volunteer and help others. Most importantly, lots of free time to nap and eat supper at 4:30 in the afternoon.

On our 35th birthday, everyone would be required to start their careers. People would have the wisdom and experience to be better employees after enjoying 13 years of retirement.

As teachers, we would have a wealth of knowledge to share with students.

From that point on, everyone would be required to work for the rest of their lives. No difficult retirement decision in your late 50’s or 60’s. No awkward feelings about being unwanted and underappreciated as you head into the golden years.

Work until…. well you get the point.

This idea may be just crazy enough to work. I believe that young people would be willing to make this sacrifice.

That is the good news. The bad news is that I wish I had thought of this when I was 22.

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7 (First Grade Girls) + 3 (Unprepared Educated Adults) = 1 Idiot (Me).

That's Me in the Hat.My yet-to-find a job 1st grader just had her 7th birthday party. She loved it. The most exciting thing she has ever done, until the next exciting thing she does (I have never met anyone who is so happy… I can assure you she doesn’t get this from me).

We survived (if you count survival as finding me rocking back and forth in the fetal position in the back of my bedroom closet… oh, I survived).

When my wife first mentioned the idea of a sleepover I thought what a wonderful idea. I am an idiot.

It was 3 adults vs. 7 little girls. The adults have a combined 417 years in education. The 7 girls read Dr. Seuss and worship Miley Cyrus.

I thought this would be easy. Almost too easy. In a way, I felt bad for the girls.

My assumption was we could easily draw upon our experiences as teachers (2) and administrator (1) to outwork them, outsmart them, and eventually break their little spirits.

Did I mention I am an idiot?

When they arrived, all of their parents wished us good luck. I laughed out loud (in my head). They looked at us like we were idiots. Turns out they were on to something.

Once we rounded up all of the little girls in one area (this took a while), I looked all 7 of them directly in their little beedy eyes. I was intent on telling them who was in charge.

They looked back at me and didn’t even flinch.

And then they ripped out my soul.

It wasn’t even close. The 3 adults were overmatched, outsmarted, and the girls eventually wore us down (this all took place in the first 27 minutes… only 17 more hours to go).

The good news is if I made it through this, how hard could my daughter’s teenage years possibly be? Please don’t answer this because in my mind I am visiting a little place I like to call… Dreamland.

I learned a lot over the course of these young ladies’ visit (or attack).

One, for every 1st grade girl you add to the mix; the sound (or screams) go up 18,000%. This formula is not taught in high school algebra, because if it was, no one would reproduce and humans would eventually die off like the dinosaurs.

I for one am okay with this.

Secondly, 1st graders are starting to become embarrassed by their parents, yet they still want to call them at 12:30 a.m. if their belly hurts.

Third, I have the ability to stand in front of high school students, teachers, staff and somewhat hold their attention while I speak.

First graders mock me. To my face. A lot.

Fourth, as adults we have created a younger version of us that is far more intelligent than we were as 7 year olds. Technically, they are smarter than us now, but you need to find this out on your own. May I suggest a sleepover?

Lastly, listening in on 1st graders’ conversations is an education in itself.

They talk about computers, cell phones, travel teams for athletics, their teachers, being President when they grow up, and boys. Hours and hours of talking about boys.

Did I mention all the talk about boys? This doesn’t bode well for the teenage years does it? I am an idiot.

Eventually, they stopped talking long enough to sleep for 3 hours. When they awoke, they were refreshed (and even more evil; if that is possible).

We were tired. They were not. We were ready for them to leave. They were just getting started.

How can 7 girls who don’t have the energy to fall off the couch and pick up their rooms, be able to run and run and run through the house? All while giggling?

Plus you should see how much 7 1st grade girls can eat (even more than the third adult supervisor… the mother-in-law). They not only broke my spirit, but they tried to break me financially.

When I went to Pizza Hut to pick up the girl’s first snack, the nice man behind the counter asked me what I was doing with the 4 pizzas and 4 orders of breadsticks.

I told him, 1st grade sleepover. He asked boys or girls? I answered, girls. He laughed out loud. And then he said good luck.

This is my last time hosting a sleepover. Ever.

Until our daughter asks us to do it again.

I know; I am an idiot.

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This Blog is Not for Sale. On Second Thought, Make Me an Offer.

This whole blog writing thing is getting out of hand. Why you ask? (and thank you for asking, otherwise this blog would be over after one sad little sentence)

Is it the pressure of producing a humorous, intelligent, and well-thought out blog 2-3 times a week? Hardly. If you thought that, this is obviously your first visit.

I have been meaning to make the blogs humorous, intelligent, and well-thought out but I must admit I have been busy (and lacking talent).

This less than mediocre attempt at half-hearted writing comes relatively easy. I know… most of you aren’t shocked at this admission. In other earth shattering news… the sky is blue and Simon Cowell is opinionated and sometimes mean (and usually right on the money by the way).

I have gotten hundreds of emails (actually 3) asking for career advice about administration, requests to publish, and product placements within the blog.

Actually, that is a lie. I have gotten two, with the other one being best classified as a “threat”. I would like to say more, but the whole thing looks like it will be tied up in the judicial system for years.

Why companies want their product or award included in this blog, I will never know. Maybe they are hoping to sell fewer items or have fewer people apply for their awards.

Hard to tell, lots of crazies out there.Turns Out It's Hard to Find a Not For Sale Sign.

My latest request came from a big-time public relations person who is obviously going to be unemployed in the next week (job tip- don’t spend so much time on the internet during work hours reading blogs about nothing).

The request was to have me include information about an award for teachers being given by Lands’ End. Evidently, the PR firm she works for (or used to work for) has Lands’ End as a client (or a former client once they read this… oh who am I kidding?… like they will ever read this).

But, I am not surprised. It was just a matter of time before big-time corporations came begging for the PrincipalsPage.com Seal of Approval (that was hard to type without laughing and/or throwing up).

Anyway, here is the plug. It is the least I could do for all the great teachers out there who read the blog.

Lands’ End is announcing the Teachers Light the Way Contest. The company will recognize outstanding teachers that have made a difference in the life of a student, a school or a community.

Forty-five (45) teachers will receive the coveted Lands’ End Lighthouse Award… representing the company’s 45-year history.

Three (3) Grand Prize winners that will receive between $4,000-$10,000 for the teachers to split with the winning school.

Forty-two (42) Honorable Mention winning teachers will receive a $100 Lands End gift card.

But that’s not all: readers who nominate a Grand Prize winning teacher will also receive a $250 Lands’ End gift card. Readers who nominate an Honorable Mention winning teacher will get a $25 Lands End gift card.

If your readers would like to recognize an extraordinary teacher or get more information, they can submit an essay up to 500 words and fill out the online entry form at www.landsend.com/teacheraward.

The contest will end at midnight, April 17, 2008.

Now I will just sit back and wait for the big checks from Lands’ End to start rolling in. What? I am not getting paid?

That is a rip.

How about a free t-shirt? I am an XL.

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Great Principals Do This. I Don’t.

I have been contemplating (better word than thinking… thanks thesaurus) what it takes to be a good principal or school administrator.

After much thought, I have concluded that I am lacking in a most important area.

Principals must have certain traits to succeed at what can be a very challenging job.

The qualities that came to mind quickly included organizational skills, leadership, and time management. To be successful, one must make good use of time and be able to take care of details.

Then I thought about decisiveness, a sense of fairness, and the ability to control one’s temper (sometimes easier said than done).

As I continued mulling this topic over, it occurred to me that the qualities needed to lead a school were almost endless.I am Not Allowed to Wear Theme Ties.  Ever.

A great principal must have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish and even more importantly how the staff and students should get there. Then have the ability to guide by encouragement and sometimes even a little arm-twisting.

Principals must always be believers, in themselves and the students, and certainly in what they want to accomplish.

Next, I thought they must be willing to work longer hours than most. This is really a requirement of all people who are really good at their occupations.

When working in schools one must be available to work days, some nights, occasional weekends, and certainly be flexible enough to change your personal plans on a moment’s notice.

While the job pays well, an administrator needs to work harder than the people around them. For those who are paid the most; a lot is expected.

If you are going to be a great principal, you need to accept responsibility for all of your decisions. And then be prepared to accept the responsibility for the decisions of others, whether good or bad (just a head ups… not usually good).

Just as important is being prepared to hand the credit to someone else when things go well and take the blame for almost anything or anybody when things go badly (and things always go badly, sooner or later).

All of the really good administrators that I have met are understanding, kind, enthusiastic, driven, and have a sense of humor.

The ability to laugh may be the most important skill of all. To be successful in education, one cannot take themselves too seriously (if you can’t laugh at yourself, someone else will).

Lastly, it occurred to me that most successful principals regularly exercise. You have to make your health a priority. A structured exercise program also helps with mental health.

I thought that I had come up with a pretty good list of qualities about what makes a great school administrator until… it was pointed out that I don’t wear theme ties.

No ties with drawings from small children. No ties with baseballs, soccer balls, or basketballs on them. No ties with pictures of crayons. No Bugs Bunny, SpongeBob, or Superman ties. And none with addition, subtraction, or multiplication problems on them.

Worse than this, I can never remember to wear the appropriate color on holidays. No red on Valentine’s Day, green on St. Patrick’s Day, or orange on Halloween.

A great principal should dress the part.

And I can’t even bring myself to wear a theme tie. I hate to admit this, but I don’t even own one. Not a single solitary theme tie. I am truly a failure.

Kids don’t care about organization, time management, vision, or work ethic. They want to see a colorful and cool tie. I am not fit to work in a school or be around children.

The state should repossess my administrative degree.

Worse than this, I don’t even have my school keys strapped to my belt. I am such a loser.

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Will I Ever Run Out of Things That Bug Me? Talk Amongst Yourselves.

I have some thoughts that I need to get out of my head. Hopefully when they are out in the open, I can then move on with my life.

Please feel free to discuss (or not, if you insist on not being a team player).

The school year has gone by so quickly. Every year that I work in education this seems to happen at a faster pace.

I have come to grips with the idea that I have to get older each year (beats the alternative) and that the school days are going to fly by quickly. I just don’t like it.

Some may think this is why I am grumpy. But let’s not kid ourselves; I was grumpy way before this started happening.Some Things Just Bug Me.

Early in my career I would start a countdown to summer as soon as the calendar hit March. Now I wish it will all just slow down.

It is almost like I want the school year to last longer or not (let’s all keep our heads before we say something foolish).

Yet, on the other hand I feel like winter has been here forever. I am ready for spring and warmer weather (which brings the end of school).

As you can see, I am a torn man. It is not easy being me (or green, I have heard).

Another thing that I have had to make peace with is wearing a suit each day. I am a huge proponent of teachers and administrators dressing and looking like professionals.

My belief is that we must separate ourselves from the students. To be treated and respected, we must dress the part.

Yet, I hate dressing up with a passion. When it is time to get my school clothes ready each evening, I am overtaken by sadness (or it could be laziness, it’s hard to tell).

The first thing I am going to do after I cash in a winning lottery ticket is burn all of my dress clothes.

Technically that will be the second thing. The first will be to buy a $50 tie and strangle the guy who invented ties (this is not a threat as I am assuming this gentleman passed away long ago… it is getting harder and harder to gain approval on these blogs from the PrincipalsPage.com legal department).

Again I am torn. Big fan of professionalism, yet hate ironing. Hope to win the lottery and live happily ever after, yet capable of attacking an innocent inventor. I live a complicated life.

Lastly, it is time for March Madness. You might think I am going to write about how this is such an exciting time for the whole country. Nope.

Or how there will finally be something decent to watch on television. Again no.

I prefer to focus (my anger) on the fact that for the next week we will all be subjected to news stories on one topic.

Not the “student” athletes participating in the tournament. Not the exciting finishes to the early games. Not even the small schools that will get some much needed publicity and a chance to shine in front of a huge audience.

Those are all nice, but they don’t bug me (hence, a boring blog… and we can’t have that).

The story we will all have to hear and read about is the one about how employees watching NCAA basketball games at work will cost businesses 957 quadrillion dollars.

Who is the nerd who decides this? Does anyone double-check his math?

Why can’t they just let us be happy for a couple of weeks? Why do all newscasts have to lead with stories about fires, accidents, what the local school district is doing wrong, and how much money IBM is losing because the janitor is watching Tennessee vs. American University (by the way my money is on a scrappy American U. squad… go Eagles!).

Feel free to talk about these topics amongst yourselves. I have to go iron my clothes and watch the news.

Another weekend has flown by and tomorrow is a school day.

And I am sad? Or lazy? Again, hard to tell.

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Schools Have What They Want, But Not What They Need.

I constantly read newspaper articles regarding the government inadequately providing money to K-12 education.

This has made me wonder, how much money would it take before educators thought they had enough to guarantee success?

Schools are a business. Most people don’t think of them in that way, but they are.

We tend to view them differently than a grocery store, a gas station, a factory, or a construction company.

Education has more in common with these other businesses than most people think.This is My Money Bag.  I Don't Trust Banks.

School districts have a budget, employees, insurance, and customers. All issues that every business must face.

Since students are our customers, schools are guaranteed not to run out of business any time soon. This is a wonderful position in which to be placed, but it can also have a downside.

A guaranteed customer base has the tendency to promote bad service. If you don’t believe me think about cable companies, airlines, fast food restaurants, and auto dealerships.

When you think of these businesses, is your first thought; Wow, they have great employees who provide even greater service!! (or is it, in another sure fire sign that the world may end soon… that kid behind the counter can’t even make change)?

These businesses have tried to improve their service in the last few years, mainly because it was so poor. Actually, poor is not the right word. Horrendous fits better (I believe this to be true mainly because the kids at Taco Bell keep messing up my order).

Their challenge is that they provide items most people feel they must have. The bigger challenge is that the people will continue to purchase these items regardless of the quality of service.

Schools have to beware of falling into this trap. And it is an easy trap in which to fall when you know that you will always have a customer base.

The economic definition of business is the social science of managing people to organize and maintain collective productivity toward accomplishing particular creative and productive goals, usually to generate profit (man, I wish I could write sentences like this… not mine, Google it).

This definition can be applied to schools, except that we are not in the business of generating a profit but expanding a student’s knowledge (in theory… I am not counting that student from 3rd hour who drives you crazy).

Even though schools have an endless supply of customers, we do lack something. Most people involved in education think it is money, but I don’t believe that finances are our biggest challenge.

It is not that I wouldn’t take more money for my school; I just don’t think it is the solution for all of our problems.

While schools are a business, we are also a government entity.

Being part of the government is always a recipe for success. What could possibly go wrong when the government is involved? I have a warm and fuzzy feeling just thinking about it (this is a little something I like to call sarcasm).

Would every school in America be better off if our budget was doubled next year? If every teacher had their salary increased by $25,000? How about if administrators had better health insurance?

If all of these things happened, would students be smarter, better-rounded, produce higher test scores, and be more prepared for their lives after a K-12 education?

I think in the immediate future that more money would help to improve education, but in the long term, I am not so sure.

If educators had more money with which to work next year, we would be thrilled… for a while.

Then human nature would take over and we would want an even higher salary, an even better retirement plan, and more respect for all of the wonderful things that we do for students.

More money makes humans happy… in the short term.

It is similar to buying a new car. It is a fantastic feeling when you first get it, but as time goes on, it just becomes a car (when the new car smell goes, so does a small part of your love for it).

At first you wash the new car every weekend and treat it like a member of the family (one that you like), but over time we begin to take it for granted.

I think we would see the same type of reaction if educators had an unlimited supply of money. It would definitely be cherished in the moment, but time has a way of wearing down our appreciation.

Don’t get me wrong, schools could certainly fine a place for more money. There is no argument about this, but over the long haul something would still be missing.

I believe that the major thing that lacks in education that other businesses benefit from is competition.

That is the secret (in my mind, not necessarily in a “normal” persons mind).

Competition would benefit students more than testing, newer desks, technology, or even higher property taxes.

It is what pushes humans to be successful. It is difficult to be self-motivated enough to demand progress without competition.

Competition helps us judge one thing against another. That is why we keep score at games (except little kids’ soccer), give grades in class, and get a raise for working harder than other employees (except at schools).

Without the competitive factor, we give our best. At least what we think is our best. And that usually falls well short of what we could actually accomplish.

America is built on the idea that if you work harder then you can be better than your competition. And if you are better, you will be rewarded.

This has helped us build the greatest country in the world.

It could help us build the greatest K-12 educational system in the world. Or we can just continue to throw money at the problem.

Side note… Soccer team won 1-0 in our first game, but who is counting, because they don’t keep score. Except for the kids. They keep track to judge if they were successful or not.

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It’s Going to be a Long Week at School and I Blame You, Time Change.

And I Thought Changing the Clocks in my House was Bad.As you begin to read this entry, please don’t get your hopes up. I am working with little to no sleep. It is hard for me to focus when well-rested, so this may be an adventure.

That’s right; I am typing through the pain for you, the reader.

I can almost hear everyone sighing in support as I struggle to do my best. I am hunting and pecking my way through yet another blog about… I am not sure what it is about just yet… I am only on paragraph #3… I am as interested as anyone to see how it turns out.

Sadly, even if I do my best it is going to be somewhat mediocre and more than likely a little sophomoric.

The people who take, or waste, a few minutes a couple of times each week to read this nonsense are a loyal bunch. The best I can tell they aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, but loyalty counts for something.

I appreciate their support; especially in such a difficult time.

I could write several more paragraphs kissing up to my readers, but I am about to doze off (and I am already losing interest in my own thoughts).

Before I head off for a nap, I need to thank you again for your loyalty and encouragement.

Actually, the more I think about it you are probably rolling your eyes to mock me. If I knew where you lived… so help me… I would come over and… bore you in person (but, I do need that nap).

The reason that I seem to be struggling more than usual is that we just set our clocks ahead one hour.

This makes me sleepy. And a little grumpier than usual.

Is there any reason that we have to do this all on one night? Couldn’t we slowly set our clocks ahead, like 1 minute a day for 60 days?

Or maybe 15 minutes a week for a month. Why a whole hour all at once? Especially during the sacred time of the weekend.

Is this some sort of cruel joke by the government (or the Time Police as I like to refer to them)?

I only get to sleep in once a week. It seems to me that it is just mean to rip this little bit of happiness away from me.

They couldn’t take an hour away during a work day? Or in the middle of soccer practice? Or better yet, while I am sitting in a meeting.

It gets ripped from my grasp as I sleep.

My week is getting off to a bad start. And it is going to get worse.

You see, for the next two weeks we will all be subjected to that guy who feels the need to constantly remind us of the time change.

Such as, “you know it is 4 o’clock, but really it is 3.” Or, “the meeting starts at 9, but that is really 8.” Or even worse, “lunch at 11 means you’re really eating at 10”.

That guy drives everyone nuts (not as bad as the weatherman, but close).

I am tired, so I am going to take my 2 o’clock nap (it is actually 1 o’clock).

You see, I am that guy. Didn’t see that coming did you?

If my weekend is ruined, I am going to torture everyone around me for the next two weeks (by torture, I mean more than usual).

Enjoy the extra hour of cloudiness (time change in April is great, in March it just extends the depression).

I am grumpy. Wish me luck on my nap.

The twist at the end of the blog was inspired by the movie, The Usual Suspects. It is easily 1 of the top 5 man movies of all time. If you haven’t enjoyed this classic, you are living a life without meaning.

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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.