The Day I Almost Died in the School Parking Lot.


I Had No Chance.I live in a part of the country where the weather has been perfect for the last 2 days.

This has been wonderful considering it has been cold, windy, and rainy for the past 147 straight days. It may have been 148, but I have lost track.

For whatever reason, yesterday’s perfect San Diego type weather reminded me of a cold icy day 11 years ago (don’t ask me why the nicest day of 2008 causes me to remember a nasty day 11 years ago because I really don’t know, it just did).

On that particular day, I was running late for a 6:30 am junior high basketball practice.

I can assure you this wasn’t and isn’t like me.

People are either born with the running late gene, or the arriving early gene. Lucky for me, I have the arriving early one.

Except for that day.

This was a problem. Because you see (or read) as the coach , I was adamant about the players never being late to a practice. It seemed as if they were letting the whole team down by doing so.

And if one of them was even 2 seconds late, the entire team had to run. A lot. And by a lot, I mean until I got tired of watching them. And back then, my stamina level for watching people run was at a world class level.

Sadly, I had forgotten to put a rule in place on what would happen if I was late, or if I forgot to set my alarm, or on the worst of all days, both.

When I woke up, I realized that all of my preaching to the team about responsibility (and double-checking your alarm) was about to haunt me.

So I jumped in my clothes and raced out of our palatial 200 square foot apartment (newly married, poor, and yet we thought we had it made because for the first time in our lives we could afford to have a pizza delivered… once a week… if the finances were carefully monitored during the preceding 6 days).

I had about a 26 minute drive to get to school and I was on pace to make it in 9.

Until the flashing red lights came up from behind.

Just as I thought my situation had taken a turn for the worse, I caught a much needed break.

In my side mirror I noticed the policeman was my principal’s son (as my daughter would say… Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet).

He walked up to the car and I politely explained what had happened. I went through the whole story and at the end added that I really needed to get to school so the youngsters would not be unattended and locked out of the gym on this cold and miserable day.

I really poured it on, but yet I kept my ace in the hole for the very end of the story.

I had him eating out of the palm of my hand. The lad was no match for my superior intelligence and wit.

And then I laid it on him. “By the way, I work for your dad.” I could kiss that speeding ticket goodbye.

Or so I thought.

His response was, “That’s nice. I will be back with your ticket.”

Perfect.

I was late. The team was going to eat me alive. And I was a brand new owner of a speeding ticket for which I had no money to pay (see 200 square foot apartment… plus even worse I just knew there would be no pizza delivery that week).

The good news was I arrived at practice in one piece, barely.

You see, when I finally got there, I jumped out of the car so I could run into the gym.

Sadly, I didn’t notice the patch of ice until it was too late. And by too late, I mean I did 14 complete summersaults and then finished by sticking the landing (by sticking the landing I mean my behind, back, and head crashed into the pavement/ice).

I really had a dilemma now. I was late. I was a lot poorer. I was soon to be hungry. And now possibly hurt… badly.

This is the exact moment I knew that I was no longer a kid, but an adult.

I had fallen and it was 50/50 whether I could get up.

Unfortunately, no one saw me crash into the ground. I was on my own. Why is there never a cop around when you actually need one?

At that point (after I came to), I picked up my clipboard and whistle, what was left of my dignity, and made my way into the gym.

There l came face to face with 25 sets of little beady eyes staring right at me. I hadn’t felt this bad since… well, since I busted my behind 30 seconds earlier (or 12 minutes… who can keep track of time when you’ve blacked out).

What was I to do? I was late. And if you are late, you run.

So I ran. Actually limped would be a better description. I think the kids thought I was faking an injury. And I might have been. But it wasn’t a leg injury like they thought, it was a possible head injury.

If they had only been around to see me fall (and more importantly, help me up).

Moral of this story and possibly the keys to life: double-check your alarm, drive slowly, don’t try to outsmart the police, watch where you step, follow your own rules, and save your money for a rainy day (or pizza).

And most importantly (and I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating), you are officially old when you fall and you don’t care who sees you because having help to get up is the most important thing.

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Sometimes it Takes 3 Girls to Hit a Home Run.


Sportsmanship.In continuing with our new found theme of recognizing young people who go above and beyond… I want to share example #952 with you.

This was sent to me by a loyal reader of the PrincipalsPage.com Blog (Thanks Angie… please visit her blog Human Voices Wake Us).

While these are college-aged students, I still think it is appropriate to share their story of good sportswomanship (by the way that is Angie’s line… I have now officially been out-funnied on my own blog… it was just a matter of time).

Is it me, or as I get older (and older) students in college now begin to look like they are 13?

When student teachers show up at my school, I often mistake them for Girls Scouts (at least half of the time).

I never know if they are going to ask me where the office is, or try to sell me cookies (by the way, I do love the Thin Mints).

But my love of the cookies and the fact that I am aging faster than a President is not the point.

Please enjoy the following article and video.

I hope my daughter grows up to be just like these players. Not the young lady who hits the home run, but the two who provide more than a helping hand.

Oh who am I kidding? I wouldn’t disown her if she hit the home run.

Foes carry softball player around bases after her first homer.
By the Associated Press
In print: Thursday, May 1, 2008

Portland, Ore.

With two runners on base and a strike against her, Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon University uncorked her best swing and did something she had never done, in high school or college. Her first home run cleared the centerfield fence.

But it appeared to be the shortest of dreams come true when she missed first base, started back to tag it and collapsed with a knee injury.

She crawled back to first but could do no more. The first-base coach said she would be called out if her teammates tried to help her. Or, the umpire said, a pinch runner could be called in, and the homer would count as a single.

Then, members of the Central Washington University softball team stunned spectators by carrying Tucholsky around the bases Saturday so the three-run homer would count — an act that contributed to their own elimination from the playoffs.

Central Washington first baseman Mallory Holtman, the career home run leader in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, asked the umpire if she and her teammates could help Tucholsky.

The umpire said there was no rule against it.

So Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace put their arms under Tucholsky’s legs, and she put her arms over their shoulders. The three headed around the basepaths, stopping to let Tucholsky touch each base with her uninjured leg.

“The only thing I remember is that Mallory asked me which leg was the one that hurt,” Tucholsky said. “I told her it was my right leg and she said, ‘Okay, we’re going to drop you down gently and you need to touch it with your left leg,’ and I said, ‘Okay, thank you very much.’ ”

“We started laughing when we touched second base,” Holtman said. “I said, ‘I wonder what this must look like to other people.’ ”

“We didn’t know that she was a senior or that this was her first home run,” Wallace said Wednesday. “That makes the story more touching than it was. We just wanted to help her.”

Tucholsky’s injury is a possible torn ligament that will sideline her for the rest of the season, and she plans to graduate in the spring with a degree in business. Her homer sent Western Oregon to a 4-2 victory, ending Central Washington’s chances of winning the conference and advancing to the playoffs.

As for Tucholsky, the 5-foot-2 rightfielder was focused on her pain. “I really didn’t say too much. I was trying to breathe,” she told the Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday.

“I hope I would do the same for her in the same situation,” Tucholsky said.

As the trio reached home plate, Tucholsky said, the entire Western Oregon team was in tears.

For coach Pam Knox, the gesture resolved the dilemma the injury presented. “She was going to kill me if we sub and take (the homer) away. But at the same time I was concerned for her.”

“In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much,” Holtman said. “It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run.”

Please take a moment to watch this Amazing Softball Story.

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Example Number 814: Why I Trust Kids More Than Adults.


Trust Kids... Adults Not So Much.I have no idea if the following will become a big story in education, but it should.

Unfortunately it isn’t as exciting as a teacher dating a student, a death or one of the other tragic things that local news stations and newspapers want to cover about education on a daily basis.

But it does deserve a bigger audience then it will probably get.

I have always held the theory that good kids will almost always make the right choice if given the opportunity (which means if adults will stay out of the way).

The following article (from ESPN.com… my arch nemesis) tells a story of some young ladies who made a great decision. They could have easily just accepted what the judge decided, but they sacrificed their own glory and did what was right.

After winner DQ’d, rest of field shows gesture of sportsmanship
ESPN.com news services
May 24, 2008

Bellarmine Prep senior Nicole Cochran should have been celebrating her successful defense of the Class 4A girls 3,200-meter title at the Star Track XXVI meet, Washington’s state high school track and field championships.

Instead, there was controversy, a protest, and then — an ultimate act of generosity and sportsmanship.

Cochran, who is attending Harvard this fall, had crossed the finish line first with a personal-best time of 10 minutes, 36 seconds in Friday’s meet. But minutes later, according to the News Tribune of Tacoma, meet officials notified Bellarmine Prep’s coach, Matt Ellis, that Cochran was disqualified.

According to the News Tribune, officials ruled that Cochran had taken three consecutive steps on the inside line along the far curve on the next-to-last lap of the race, which is when she had made her move to take the lead and break free of the pack.

It is a violation that results in disqualification.

“There’s not really much I can do,” Cochran told the Tri-City Herald. “We tried to appeal it. It’s very unfortunate, but sometimes it’s what you get dealt.”

Shadle Park (Spokane) High School’s Andrea Nelson, who finished in 10:40.04, was declared the winner.

The awards ceremony took place, then Nelson got off the awards stand, walked over to Cochran, removed the first-place medal from around her neck and draped it over Cochran’s.

“It’s your medal,” Nelson said to her, the Tri-City Herald reported. “You’re the state champion.”

The rest of the top eight finishers then held an impromptu ceremony of their own. Exchanging their medals — Nelson received the second-place medal, Sarah Lord of Redmond High School took the third-place medal, and so on.

“That’s not how you win state,” Nelson said. “She totally deserves it. She crushed everybody.”

In making this decision, the girls may have had some guidance from their parents and coaches, but ultimately they were the ones who made the right choice.

Congratulations to the athletes, their parents, coaches, and schools.

And just because I used your article, ESPN.com, don’t think I am not still coming after you.

I am. Be afraid…very afraid.

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ALLTOP is the Best Website Ever; If You’re Not Counting PrincipalsPage.com.


Alltop is Almost as Good as PrincipalsPage.com.As I have mentioned before, when I started this website/blog it was by complete accident. I was between jobs and just needed someplace to store a few forms online (no I wasn’t fired… as far as you know).

Turns out I am better at things when I don’t have an expectation of being successful (and by successful I mean… not taking bankruptcy or being convicted of a felony).

This site has grown way beyond anything I could have imagined. Of course, if you set your expectations low enough, it is much easier to reach them.

When I (by I, I mean my wife aka Queen of Technology) put the website online, my five year plan was to have 3 visitors (and I wasn’t even counting family… that would have made it a grand total of 5).

Sure, 3 visitors was a crazy goal at the time, but call me a dreamer.

I am pleased to announce that as we approach my first year online, the website/blog has had well over 3 visitors. I don’t mean to brag, but the official number is well into the low teens.

Once the website passed this lofty mark of 3, I began to imagine even greater things for myself and PrincipalsPage.com.

So I made a list of goals. Please keep in mind that if you are going to dream, reach for the stars (after typing that sentence I feel less of a man and even more feminine than usual).

My new list of 6 goals for the website:

1. World domination (so far this one has been slow going, but it is early).

2. More website hits than ESPN.com (the worldwide leader in sports seems to be winning… but I get a sense that they are getting nervous).

3. Owning a horse named PrincipalsPage.com that wins the Kentucky Derby (I will probably have to settle for a dog, but maybe I can put a saddle on it).

4. Having someone get a tattoo of the PrincipalsPage.com logo on their neck (school administrators do love their ink and who doesn’t want to hire someone to run a school with a large maroon neck tattoo?).

5. Being notified that someone has named their first born PrincipalsPage.com (this one is a mortal lock as I expect it to happen at any time).

6. Winning a trophy (I just like trophies).

While I await my new goals to become reality, I have decided to focus on getting the website/blog listed on as many other sites as possible (and by focus I mean sitting around and eating donuts, tacos, and Snickers while people accidently add PrincipalsPage.com to their sites).

Lucky for me, people from across the country continue to make this mistake.

My latest listing is on Alltop.com. It is a website that I can admire for a couple of reasons.

One, they don’t take themselves too seriously and two, they evidently left an intern in charge who listed the PrincipalsPage.com Blog on their education page.

If you haven’t visited Alltop, you should.

They list blogs that you will probably recognize, but they also have links to others that deserve a bigger audience (although how would I know, I don’t read blogs).

I appreciate all of their help as well as others who are spreading my rambling thoughts, theories, and stories around the educational and blog world.

But let’s be honest. While I am appreciative, who would actually find this blog useful?

To paraphrase dialogue from one of the great cinematic classics of the 21st century, Billy Madison.

“My blog is one of the most insanely idiotic things most people in education have ever read. At no point in my rambling, incoherent writings have I even gotten close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who has visited or listed this blog is now dumber for having done this.

I award all of you no points, and may God have mercy on your souls.”

If you name a baby after the website, or get a neck tattoo, please email me. If you have a baby with a neck tattoo, please don’t enroll them in my school district when they reach kindergarten age.

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The School Year is Gone. My Sanity Can Now Return.


You Can't Put a Price on Sanity.I survived. We all did. Even the students.

There was a point where we questioned whether any of us would make it, but we did.

Another school year is officially in the books. It went by so fast. Part of me is thankful while another part of me says my world needs to slow down (I think I just accidently admitted that I have multiple personalities… someone is going to be mad or 7 someones).

As I make my way towards old age (and the sweet relief of retirement), time seems to march on at an unbelievably fast pace.

With the year coming to a close, I have taken inventory and concluded that I am no worse for the wear.

Some minor bruises, facial cuts, a case of exhaustion, and some slight permanent mental damage is all that I have found.

Nothing that a few weeks off can’t cure.

And a vacation. And some therapy. And a shock treatment. With possibly a small dose of medication to curb my hallucinations.

Even my chalk and erasers are feeling better (they have had 8 months to heal).

But, let’s focus on the positive things that have been accomplished during the year.

The kindergarten kids are first graders; the 8th graders are freshman; and the seniors are now officially unemployed.

School year; we hardly knew you.

While it has run its course for 2007-2008, it will return.

From registration to football to homecoming to Thanksgiving to Christmas break to semester exams to prom and graduation… it’s gone for now, but it will be back.

And as with most school years… it was time for this one to go.

Each school year has a very specific feel to it. When you graduate from teacher’s college they give you a diploma, several thousand dollars in student loans, and a sixth sense about the school year.

From the day you graduate, every educator can sense the beginning of school weeks in advance (some call this the July 4th dread) and the exact moment school should be out for the summer.

My gut said school should have been out about 3 weeks ago.

And my gut never lies (honest).

I don’t know what it was about this year. The students were good, the teachers well-behaved, and I kept my head above water for another 185 days.

It just seemed that we all needed a break (did I mention that was about 3 weeks ago?).

Nothing specific happened to bring this feeling on, it was just a sense I got.

Anyway, it is now over.

As much as I have been looking forward to the end of this year, I must admit that I am already looking forward to the 2008-2009 school year.

Man, these pills really work fast.

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What’s a Twitter? And Should I Be Playing With It?


Follow Me On Twitter... @principalspageTechnology is advancing at a rapid rate. I hate to admit it, but I am having a hard time keeping up.

This isn’t an excuse. I am trying. Honest (and just for the record, isn’t it always people who are lying that feel the need to announce they are honest?).

Working for a school district, I see the everyday challenges of trying to keep up with the world of changing technology. This is a battle all teachers and administrators face on a daily basis.

Schools need and want to stay current, but the mountain we have to climb is steep. And that just may be the understatement of the year. I haven’t said anything quite so obvious, since I remarked “its springtime, who knew the junior high boys, would all be in love?”

It seems that the business community has the resources to advance at a quicker pace than we do in schools.

The list of challenges for K-12 education includes; lack of money and resources, quality training, outdated equipment, time, a complicated decision making process, and the struggle to update the mindset of educators who don’t always face change in a very positive way.

Don’t get me wrong, these are not excuses. Honest (and by the way; I have never been lied to by a student who said they were being honest… honestly).

Every day I hear new technology terms being thrown my way. I sometimes feel like I have fallen down a gigantic technology hole and I have no chance of ever crawling out.

I could use a good dog that would run and get help, but I don’t even have that (although the unemployed daughter is putting pressure on me… boo hoo, she is an only child and needs a friend; why is that my problem?).

Twitter, Wikipedia, Blogs (actually, I know that one), Podcasts, Emoticons, Facebook, Hypermedia, Moodle, Javascript, Newsgroups, RSS feeds, Jing, Servers, Streaming, Spiders, Uploading, Downloading, Firewalls, Hubs, Pinger, Memory Sticks, UPS, Plug and Play, Webcams, Skype, Ning, Analog, Binary, Cache, Defragment, Ports, and Networks… and that’s just to name a few.

And I have heard all of these terms in the last week.

From my wife, Queen of Technology (it sounds like an important position; doesn’t pay that well, but does comes in very handy when my computer is being “difficult” and I am “confused”).

Lately, she has been spending her time Twittering. I have no idea what that is, why she does it, or who she does it with.

I swear my parents warned me about the Twittering, but for the life of me I can’t recall why. Something about being illegal in Georgia???

It is just another thing about technology that I don’t understand. But lucky for me, another term, program, or technology thingamabob will come around tomorrow and I will quickly forget how confused I was about the Twittering.

As I finish this blog, my wife is Twittering and my daughter is Skyping her grandmother. I am so confused. And my head hurts.

Maybe I am the one who really needs a friend.

If (I mean when) we get the new dog, I am pretty sure they are going to name it Twitter. Honest.

At least when I play with it in public, I won’t get arrested.

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Famous People Read This Blog. Or More Likely; He Lost a Bet.


Another Opportunity to Post About Mike Rowe.Today, I am proud to announce that the PrincipalsPage.com Blog had its most famous visitor (that I know of… there could be others… but probably not).

Alan November was kind enough to stop by and leave a comment on “Travel Does Stink, But Alan November Was Great” (and no, I didn’t pay him… not that I wouldn’t, I just can’t afford it).

He qualifies as our most famous visitor because he has his own website, people pay to hear him speak, and it’s my blog so I get to decide who is famous and who isn’t. Please don’t confuse Mr. November with Alan Rickman, Alan Thicke, Alan Keyes, Alan Arkin or Alan Jackson (pretty much all of the famous people with the first name of Alan that I could think of).

As I mentioned before, if you get a chance to hear him speak; run don’t walk. You will learn more about technology in education than you could have ever imagined.

I have no idea why he picked that particular blog on which to leave a omment, but I am assuming he lost some sort of bet and was forced to read it (and possibly because his name was in the title).

You would think that he would be too busy to read this meaningless drivel, but life continues to surprise me.

Since I have officially named Mr. November our most famous guest, I want to thank him. And just as importantly, whoever forced him to read the blog.

Hopefully, he has opened the floodgates and the blog will be flooded by even more famous people.

Actually, I have never understood the fascination with famous people. Aren’t they just like us; only with nicer cars and better hair?

I have always been dumbfounded by the paparazzi following them and taking their picture coming out of Starbucks; or people hounding them for their autograph; and especially the fact that they need to thank God for their latest award (isn’t God too busy to worry about this year’s Best Supporting Actress?).

I usually find famous people odd and a little sad.

But if Mike Rowe stopped by and left a comment, that’s another story. Quick, someone bet him.

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New Principals: Free Advice is Worth Exactly What You Pay For It.


Free Advice is Worth What You Pay for It.It is that time of year.

One school year is quickly coming to a close and 1.7 seconds after it concludes, it will be time to start planning for the next one (actually, if you wait that long… you are in big trouble).

Enjoy the much deserved time off.

With the approaching new year, I am reminded that there will be a whole new crop of eager, young principals who have been hired and will be starting their new jobs in the fall.

Welcome, newbies. And be careful out there.

This reminds me of my theory that the school calendar is broken into 5 very specific seasons.

The Vacation Season (summer… possibly my favorite). Then there is the Cold Season when the leaves change and I will freeze to death at one (or 9) football games (fall).

Next up is the Depression Season which lasts 4 months and has really bad TV (winter).

The fourth is the Pre-Vacation Season which always cheers me up because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (spring… vacation is coming… did I mention it could be favorite?).

And then there is the last season of the year. It is the little known and always vastly underrated Season of The Hiring of New Principals.

While not widely known outside of the world of education, this particular season happens every year like clockwork.

Somewhere between March and July the new principals emerge from their classrooms (or gym) and are hired for the following school year.

They are so excited and full of ideas. They have their whole careers ahead of them (sadly, some will be shorter than others).

Good for them. Did I mention to be careful out there? It is like sending a new born deer out on the interstate (don’t feel badly, I was that deer once… and I only got hit by
about 97 cars… I am happy to say no physical scars were left behind, but a few mental ones still haunt me).

Now if they (or you) want my advice (as if you have a choice if you have read this far), I am more than willing to share.

To the brand new crop of principals and future leaders of education, I have come up with The 10 Rules of Survival for a New Principal.

Some were passed on to me while others I learned the hard way. Please keep in mind that you are getting these free, so no complaining when 157 other things go wrong (I am only one man and I can’t prepare you for the unexpected… I have problems of my own after all).

The 10 Rules of Survival for a New Principal.

1. Never speak in 3rd person. It creeps people out. And you are just not that important.

2. If you are changing school districts, don’t constantly refer to your old one. As in, “We used to do it this way at my old district.” That angers people.

3. Make sure that if you say you are going to do something, do it. Don’t make people ask you 14 times. Secretaries are big fans of this rule.

4. Much like students, always be where you are supposed to be. Never skip a meeting and “take the rest of the day off.” You will be watched and people will be more than happy to catch you doing something wrong.

5. Return you emails promptly. And by promptly, I don’t mean 9 days later.

6. Don’t spend more money than you take in. Sure your salary is going up, but it doesn’t mean you have to buy a new car immediately. Save a little for a rainy day or in case things don’t work out (although I am sure they will… for most of you).

7. Stay out of the coach’s office. Or wherever you came from. Spend time with the entire staff, not just those with which you are most comfortable.

8. Be out and about. You don’t want students to refer to you as the “new guy or lady” three years from now. Head to the hallway and meet some kids. You might like them.

9. If you have to announce student names in public (Honors Day, Graduation, etc.), make sure you pronounce them correctly. Parents loooove it when you butcher their child’s name.

10. Lastly, don’t spend $18,000 redoing your office. Let the students and staff get the benefits of the new computer or furniture. You can wait. Refer to rule #1 about not being that important.

There is my best advice. If you want better, it is going to cost you. The PrincipalsPage can only do so much (crap, I just broke my number 1 rule… now the PrincipalsPage feels badly… oh, I did it again).

If you are starting a new job in administration… Congratulations. Enjoy the Vacation Season and rest up.

A year from now you will realize why the rest was so important.

Actually, you will realize it after the first day, but I am here to help; not frighten.

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Teacher to Administrator: Who Needs More Cash?


Being a School Administrator is Like Printing Money.  Not.Lately, the PrincipalsPage.com mailbox has been overflowing with questions (okay, we have only gotten one, but let’s not get bogged down by semantics).

The question was from our friend Tim and was posted on the blog, I Didn’t Know How Much I Didn’t Know.

He asked, “Is it worth it? Leaving the classroom I mean.”

That’s an easy one. Yes.

I didn’t even have to think about it (not that I put time into thinking about much of anything).

While the answer to the question is a simple one, the reasons behind it are far more complicated.

Teachers leave the classroom for a variety of reasons. They will tell you that making the move into administration allows them the opportunity to be a change agent, to overhaul curriculum, or to be an instructional leader over an entire school.

Yeah, right.

If most administrators were honest, they would admit to moving into administration for a far less academic and romantic reason.

Most people make the move out of the classroom for the money

I am sure that many readers of this blog won’t want to believe this, but I am here to spread the truth (as I see it).

At first glance, this reason may seem a bit selfish; but I don’t think there is anything wrong about taking a new job primarily for the money.

Good teachers get to the point where they don’t want to grade any more papers, tell students to sit down for the thousandth time, or teach the same lesson for the 15th year in a row.

They need a change; and more cash.

Teachers are just like everyone else; they have responsibilities, bills, and kids who are going off to college in a few years.

So taking a new position with a considerably higher salary is often too good to turn down.

And who has ever found themselves in a position where they have too much money? Not me. Not yet (but just like retirement, keep your fingers crossed for me).

That being said; my advice is never make the move from the classroom to administration just for the money. It isn’t worth it.

You can’t put a price on your time or sanity. And if you do, you will regret it.

In a few short years, I have already seen a lot of new administrators come and go.

They take an administrative job for the wrong reasons and then find themselves making decisions just to keep their new position. And that almost never works out.

In an odd way, I think you have to treat the job as something you may not have tomorrow. And with every decision you make, you are one step closer to that becoming a reality.

So after all of this incoherent rambling my advice is; yes, it is worth it. While tiring and stressful, it is a privilege to be in charge of a group of students and teachers.

You have an opportunity to make real changes that impact the entire student body.

Every teacher should have this chance at least once in their career (more regarding my theory on rotating principals later).

Becoming an administrator is the best decision I ever made.

I am just not sure it is forever. And I am pretty sure that won’t be my decision.

I just try to remember that I went into education to teach; not write handbooks, suspend students, work on construction projects, supervise games, or evaluate staff.

It is worth it; just don’t do it for the money.

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I Didn’t Know How Much I Didn’t Know.


So Many Questions... So Few Answers.As I move into the twilight of my career (I wish), it has occurred to me that I once was a huge and complete moron.

This is drastically different from today, when I am just a medium and partial moron.

Before my long (okay, short) career as a school administrator, I was a teacher. This is before I took a very secretive oath and moved over to the dark side of administration. I could go into details, but I have been sworn to secrecy.

During my years of teaching, I had the pleasure (not really) of sitting through about 4,000 teacher’s meetings. They were quite productive and I learned a lot (again, this is a little thing I like to call sarcasm).

I realize these meetings are a necessary evil. However, I am unsure who dislikes them more; teachers or administrators?

But that is an argument for another day (and blog… as you see I am banking up material for the slower summer months).

When attending meetings as a teacher, I was impressed by how incredibly smart I was. Or so I thought. I had all the answers. Just ask me.

The decisions being made by administrators seemed so black and white.

I would sit there (half paying attention) and ask myself; how could they be so stupid? How could they make such bad decisions? Why didn’t they make choices that seem so simple to me? Why did they always make everything so difficult?

In a nutshell, why didn’t the administration have a clue?

Honestly, how hard of job could a principal have? In fact, how did they even keep busy throughout the day? You can only walk down the hallway so many times.

So, I was smart and they were stupid. I could easily do their job.

So I did.

Did I mention the part about being a moron?

Here is a small portion of what I learned in my first 17 minutes on the job; I wasn’t nearly as smart as I thought, previous administrators weren’t nearly as clueless as I believed, decisions about students and staff are rarely black and white, and I may be in over my head.

And then the rest of my first day took a turn for the worse. You will be happy to learn that I survived my first day; although barely.

I learned more in the first 4 weeks as a principal than I did in 2 years of classes while getting my Master’s Degree plus 8 years of teaching.

But I did learn an important lesson and that was…

…you should never judge your intelligence by how much you know; you should judge it by how little you know.

And in my case that was a lot.

So if you are considering leaving the classroom to become an administrator, remember this; you can do it because of everything that you know, but don’t be surprised by the immense number of things you will have to learn.

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