You Say It’s Your Birthday? It’s My Birthday Too!

Happy Birthday to All of Us.Another birthday has come and gone.

My official age can now be best described as old. I know its official because the last time I was in the sporting goods store looking at running shoes, the young lady helping me asked if I was going to use them to walk.

I said, “Yes, possibly upside your head if you insinuate I am old again.”

I didn’t really say that, although I did think it.

Actually, I don’t mind birthdays anymore. It is just a number and like I have said before, getting older certainly beats the alternative.

Around my house a birthday is cause for celebration, because my daughter loves to celebrate.

Like all 7 year olds, she loves many things… ice cream, pizza, milk, pop tarts, French fries, SpongeBob, her friends, singing, crafting, school, sleepovers, and most of all presents.

She loves everything about presents. She likes to receive presents. She likes to give them. She absolutely loves to open them.

And most of all she loves to give herself presents on my birthday.

Actually, that isn’t completely true. She loves to give herself presents on any day that we should be celebrating me.

Christmas, birthdays, and Father’s Day are all occasions readymade to head off to the mall and buy something nice for herself.

Sure, she says it’s for me. She has to. It would be tacky if she put her own name on the package.

And she would never do that, because we have raised her right (and by right, I mean like most parents we are just trying to survive… mainly the upcoming teenage years).

I hear about dads who get ugly ties for gifts. It makes me jealous. That would be a gigantic step up for me. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about her wearing my tie.

She always buys me something that she has talked about for months.

For Father’s Day, I got the Wii that she has always wanted. For my birthday, she got me Wii accessories. I am the proud new owner of Mario Kart and the 3 steering wheels that she has had her eye on (the whole family can now play “together”).

I am assuming that at Christmas I will be receiving a pink and purple cell phone with a fancy case that sparkles. Or possibly getting my ears pierced (suddenly, the phone doesn’t sound so bad).

I am giddy with excitement.

All of this is bad enough, but I am also paying for my/her gift.

Yes, that’s right.

She goes shopping to buy me/herself something on my dime.

When did I lose control? My best guess is it occurred roughly 4 seconds after she was born and announced that she was now in charge.

She didn’t make this announcement out loud, but there was definitely a look that told me she was now calling the shots.

I can hardly wait for 2017.

For some reason, I am thinking that will be the year I get a car for my birthday.

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“Coach, Don’t Put My Kid in the Game. We are Trying to Win.”

The Agony of Defeat.Am I the only one who may yell at their child’s coach about too much playing time?

I always tell my daughter that it is up to the coach to decide who plays and how much.

I will never complain about her not starting or playing enough. I have seen these situations a 1000 times with parents and coaches. I will never ever be a part of this.

Coaches want to win, so I believe they will play whoever gives them the best chance to accomplish this.

So, you will never be able to include me in that group of pushy parents who demand their child plays more.

Now playing too much, that is a different story.

As my only child has started her athletic career, I have tried to teach her that pressure is a privilege.

It is an honor to be the one who is up to bat in the last inning with the game tied, the player shooting what could be the winning free throw, or the one playing goalie in the last minute of the game with the outcome hanging in the balance.

In these situations, maybe she succeeds, maybe she fails.

As long as she has prepared herself and tries her best, who really cares about the outcome?

Me, that’s who.

I want to win.

You play… to win… the game.

Sure, sportsmanship is nice, but it is seldom the lead story in the newspaper (or on their website… it is 2008 after all).

I want some payback for working with her in the back yard, driving her to practice, and shelling out all of this money for uniforms, shoes, participation fees, and hair bands (why can’t a girl get along with just 1, or 72… why do they have to have 643 of them in different colors with various amounts of sparkly stuff?).

With the game on the line, I don’t want to see her on the field or court.

The coach says he can count on her. He barely knows her. I have a long standing relationship with my child (began about 9 months before her birth) and I realize that she is a loose cannon.

She can’t be counted on… I have seen her room. She has failed on that simple task over and over. What makes the coach think she can perform with the game on the line?

She can’t even hang up her towel after a shower.

How can she be expected to make the winning basket, when she can’t get her dirty clothes in the hamper?

The coach wants her to play goalie and stop a soccer ball coming right at her head. She shrieks when a fly lands on her arm.

You don’t want her in the game with the pressure on.

At least I don’t.

It makes me nervous. Really nervous.

And it is not like she needs the experience. As if there is a full-ride scholarship to a Division I university in her future.

Best case, the truck driving school she attends will have some sort of intramural program.

The coach should at least be courteous enough to tell me before he has the brainstorm to send her into the game.

At least with some advance warning, I could go sit in the car or at least look away.

Turns out, I can’t take the pressure.

And it isn’t a privilege for a parent.

So coach, consider yourself officially notified. Do whatever you have to, just don’t use my kid.

Let some other parent sit there with butterflies in his or her stomach.

I want to win.

And you don’t want me yelling at you during the game about too much playing time.

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You Never Forget Your First Love. Especially if He is a Waiter.

This Cartoon Actually Looks Like the Real Waiter.This past weekend I had the unfortunate experience of seeing my daughter’s heart broken for the first time.

She was absolutely crushed and there was nothing I could do about it. As a parent, this is a totally helpless feeling.

You want to jump to your child’s defense, but then you realize that there isn’t much that you can really do.

This was also my first experience as being totally worthless as a dad (alright, not my first but I am trying to make a point here).

The look on her face of total and complete sadness was enough to break my heart.

I know 7 year old girls get their feelings crushed, but I always assumed it involved a dog running away, losing their favorite blanket, or a best friend moving to another town.

But not my daughter.


She doesn’t do things in a normal fashion.

When she does something it is all out (unless you count running or cleaning her room… then best case she gives you a solid 65%… on a good day).

Her first broken heart was brought to her by a waiter at a Mexican restaurant. She should have just gotten a side of rice.

We have gone to this restaurant many times. By my guesstimate about 674 days (although not in a row… not that I haven’t suggested that). Of course, this is only a rough guess. It may have
been many more.

During these trips my daughter looked forward to seeing her favorite waiter, Jose.

If she got lucky, we sat in Jose’s section and they would visit.

They seemed to understand each other considering neither one speaks the other’s language very well. Ah, who am I kidding… neither one speaks any language very well.

Sure, they both tried but I don’t award effort points if I have to say “Huh” 12 times during a conversation.

When he wasn’t our waiter, he always took the time to wave or come by the booth (I do love a booth much more than a table) and say Hi. Or something that sounded like Hi.

Whatever it was, he said it with a great big smile on his face.

Last weekend, we won the waiter lottery and Jose was in charge of our booth.

He came by and took our order in his usual upbeat mood.

Then it happened.

He told us the next day would be his last. He was returning to Mexico to be with his family.

The look of shock and horror on my daughter’s face was disturbing.

I thought she was going to cry, but she held it together. I think she was being strong for Jose.

My point here is… he always took the time to be nice to her.

We should all be so kind to strangers, little kids, old people… and everyone else with whom we come into contact with.

You never really know the effect you have on people… until you move back to your home country.

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Weekends are not Really 48 Hours Long. Trust Me, I Did the Math.

My Weekends Don't Look Like This.I was thinking about how weekends seem to just fly by. It doesn’t seem possible that one minute it is Friday afternoon and the next I am sitting behind my desk on a Monday morning (or under the desk, depending on how the day is going).

What happened to Saturday and Sunday?

There is no other combination of days that go by at this lightening pace.

Not Monday-Tuesday, not Tuesday-Wednesday, not Thursday-Friday, or… I think you probably get the point.

So why do my weekends go by so quickly?

Then it occurred to me. Finally, those teachers who told me that math would be important in my daily life… they were right.


I had almost given up on them.

My loss of time during the weekend is a simple math problem (just don’t ask me what X and Y stand for because I don’t have a clue… and just like high school, I don’t really care as much as I probably should).

During an average work day, I get up at 5:30 and go to bed at 11:00. That is 17.5 hours per workday.

So in theory, I should have 35 hours of sweet, sweet free time each and every weekend.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but weekends just don’t last that long.

The proof lies in the math.

This past weekend is a perfect example.

Start off with 35 hours of free time (in theory).

Take off 4 for sleeping in and a couple of catnaps. That still leaves me with 31 hours to do whatever I would like.

Weekends are great.

2 hours for a Saturday morning soccer game (yes, they won).

1.5 hours for jogging/shuffling/barely more than an old guy walking.

1 hour riding a bike.

3 hours of yard work.

2 more hours for running around town doing chores (wash cars, drycleaners, purchasing those elusive winning lottery tickets).

5 hours on the computer… blogging, emailing, plurking, doing school work, etc.

This takes me down to 16.5. Still a lot of time left to do whatever I want. It certainly beats going to work.

Another 2 hours eating out and going to eat ice cream.

1 hour reading the newspaper.

1 hour picking up the house, garage, or cleaning out the cars.

I’m down to 12.5.

Still not too bad.

4 hours watching TV or trying to sit through a movie (I am a little jumpy).

Roughly 3 hours eating, showering, and doing personal chores (that is nice way of not getting too graphic… you’re welcome).

Only 5.5 left.

I forgot ironing my clothes for the next week. That is another 30 minutes.

Playing outside with my daughter takes another 2 hours.

That leaves a grand total of 3 hours left.

Yes, you heard me (or read me) right. 3 hours is the entire weekend.

The math never lies.

That is why my weekend seems to go by so quickly. They aren’t 48 hours, they are 3 hours long.

What a rip. No wonder I am so tired on Mondays.

I can’t wait for the next 3 day weekend, or should I say 4.5 hours of sweet free time. I need the extra rest.

By the way, never trust anyone who says “Trust me” as I did in the title. It is an absolute guaranteed lock they can’t be trusted. And never believe anyone who says “Honest, I am not lying”. If you have to announce your honesty, odds are you are not.

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A Shortened Version of a Speech to Wannabe Principals.

"Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."Given the opportunity to speak to graduate students who are working on their administrative degree, I would share some of my ideas and experiences.

But first, I would question, what kind of college professor lets me speak to their students?

Mostly, I would warn the future administrators of the upcoming trials and tribulations of their newfound position by sharing some of my many mistakes. I would like to tell them about all of my mistakes, but graduate classes generally last only 3-4 hours.

Plus, the judge says I still have to remain silent about several “incidents”.

Since the students would be forced to sit through this presentation, I would give them real life, practical advice they could actually use when they take their first jobs.

No complicated formulas or hypothetical cases. Just tried and true nuts and bolts of the job.

It would consist of roughly 25 thoughts. Maybe a PowerPoint. Possibly, handouts. If I am in a good mood that day, I might even bake them cookies (not really… in the world of highly paid guest speakers, this is called a tease).

I may even go all out and put my thoughts in the form of a countdown. Because when I think of school administration, I think of Casey Kasem.

So, here are my first 10 (or 25 through 16… yes, I am going all out).

And this list is entirely different from my original The 10 Rules of Survival for a New Principal (I have learned a lot since May 14, 2008).

#25. Understand that all administrators have failed miserably at one time or another. If you haven’t, you aren’t trying hard enough. Remember, it is not the mistakes you make, but how you react and learn from those mistakes (hey, I just made that up… I could be on to something here).

#24. Take your job seriously, but not yourself. People are going to make fun of you. Roll with it. And just hope the “nicknames” they give you don’t catch on.

#23. Find mentors. Yes, I said mentors. I am not a complete idiot and I do have spell check.

My point here is that it will take more than 1 person helping you not to be a total failure. Plus you can learn from their past mistakes.

The more mentors… the more mistakes they have made. This provides a greater chance of them helping you from becoming a failure, fired, arrested, or simply run out of town on the next train (there is a Gunsmoke reference for you, because what graduate student in 2008 has not seen Gunsmoke?).

#22. Use the latest technology in front of your staff. No one likes to be told they should be doing something when their fearless leader has no idea what they are talking about it.

If you want your school to rely on email, stop handwriting your memos.

#21. Be in unexpected places. By this, I don’t mean sneaking up on people in the restroom or hiding in the closet so you can scare the janitor.

I mean be somewhere besides your office or the donut shop. Get out and show up in a classroom once in a while. And not when you have to be there to do an evaluation or tackle a student.

#20. Know a little about everything. This includes curriculum, health insurance, purchasing books, what type of light bulbs are in the gym, who delivers your milk, how student schedules are put together, and where the janitors store the extra toilet paper.

The last one may be the most important (and trust me, this is a fact you need to learn from day one).

Truthfully, it is unlikely that you will ever know everything that is required to run a school. So the most important thing is knowing who to ask to find out these various answers.

#19. Be nice to the people who can help in times of crisis. Luckily for you these crises generally only happen Monday through Sunday.

When things go horribly wrong, you may need one or all of the following: a lawyer, secretary, school nurse, architect, plumber, insurance company, auditor, janitor, fire department, police, electrician, or all of the above.

If in fact things have gone so wrong that you need all of the above at one time, focus most of your kindness on your lawyer. He or she will be the one sitting beside you at the trial (seldom will the school electrician “cut a deal” for you with the district attorney).

#19. Change 3 things each year. Any more than 3 and you will make your staff nervous. Any less than 3 and the staff will thing you are overpaid and lazy.

Honestly, they will probably always consider you overpaid, but at least this will give you a fighting chance to convince them you are not lazy.

#18. Realize school starts for administrators exactly 30 days before the doors actually open. Don’t think in the summer you can put things off until 3 days before school officially starts.

Your life will go from kind of hectic to completely hectic exactly one month before the students arrive.

You have to keep the last 5 days of summer open, because all the bad things happen at once towards the end of your vacation. This never fails. And by never, I mean never.

#17. Understand that people have relatives. This means don’t make fun of someone to another staff member because you don’t want to hear this response, “You know, that is my sister-in-law.”

This is the definition of awkward. And uncomfortable. And possibly the end of your career if the sister-in-law is on the school board.

#16. Always wear a white dress shirt when it is hot (August, September, April and May) or if you are speaking in public.

Those sweat rings that you don’t think are that noticeable… are very noticeable. And staff members have a difficult time taking direction from someone who looks like a nervous underprepared fat guy at a job interview in an office without air conditioning during late July.

So that is my official countdown of advice.

This is pure gold and you won’t pick it up out of a textbook.

You’re welcome. And no charge. This time.

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How Can I be Expected to “PERFORM”, When There are Tuba Players in the Restroom?

My Musical Ability is... Non-Excistent.Just for the record, if you had told me 2 years ago that I would write a blog with this title… I wouldn’t have believed you.

I went to a college football game this weekend. There is really nothing spectacular about this, but as a school administrator it was awfully nice to be at a game and not be supervising.

In my profession, you “get” to attend lots of events during the course of the year. The good news is that you don’t have to pay admission. That bad news is…well, pretty much everything else.

My philosophy, the only “good” thing about supervising extracurricular events is when nothing “bad” happens. This rule goes for games, dances, graduation, and any other event in which someone can walk up to you as the administrator in charge and ask “Are you the Administrator in charge?”

My advice… always say “No” or at the very least “I don’t speak English.” And as always, when in doubt… run. Trust me, nothing good ever comes out of these conversations.

Nothing good comes out of running either, but at least you have a 50/50 chance of escaping.

In this case, I considered myself lucky because since it was a college game, I didn’t have any responsibilities other than transporting my wife, my daughter, and her little 7 year-old friend (Rent-A-Kid comes in handy when you have an only child).

A beautiful fall Saturday and no supervision for me. Because at college games they have State Police and goofy college freshmen with the words “EVENT STAFF” on the back of their t-shirts (just the freshman… the State Police have their own uniforms).

Just seeing a gangly 19 year old fraternity wannabe with no real authority or power makes me feel safe.

But who am I to judge, because how many people really feel safe when they see me leaning up against the gym wall at a basketball game (occasionally glancing at my watch)?

But, back to the football game.

As soon as I arrived, I needed to find a restroom (because I am old… if you don’t understand this concept you will in 15-20 years). You may feel this is way too much information, but this is when things started to get interesting.

As I walked into the bathroom, I looked up to see not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, but 6 tuba players from the college marching band standing around in a circle in full uniform (yes, that includes the snappy hats).

You may be asking how I knew they were tuba players. Easy… they were holding their tubas (this is not… I repeat… NOT a euphemism).

Now, my mind doesn’t always work well, but it does work quickly.

As I came face to face with 6 tuba players in the restroom, I had several thoughts in about 4 seconds…

My first was… I wonder if they are a gang and if so they are smartly dressed and obviously big supporters of the arts.

Secondly, I thought about saying… “This one time in band camp…” but I thought hey may be too young to have seen the movie and even worse, if they are familiar with the movie this might label me as a weirdo and that’s the last thing you want to be perceived as when in the men’s restroom.

Lastly, I worried how I was ever going to “complete my business” when there are 6 band guys holding tubas standing in a circle in the general vicinity.

So, this is what I said. “Guys, I have a hard enough time going when I am by myself, let alone when 6 tuba players are standing around looking at me.”

The head tuba player (no euphemism… get your mind out of the gutter) said, “Well maybe it will help if we play a song.”

So they did and as expected it affected my performance.

Yes, I buckled. Couldn’t take the pressure.

I used to consider graduation speeches, proms, and school board meetings to be the most nerve-racking parts of my life.

Not now.

They all look easy compared to being all alone in a public restroom, except for 6 tuba players.

I guess I am better at supervising others than being supervised.

No matter where you go or what you do, there is always a lesson to be learned.

If you finished reading this blog, you have probably figured out that he is an idiot. On top of that it wasn’t tubas, they were sosaphones. The Wife/Editor.

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Google Pays Better Than Teaching. Who Knew?

Google.The following is a comment/response to Greg Bicknell’s Out of My League blog on September 1.

He was kind enough to link my The Perfect School blog. So this blog is about his blog which was about my blog (got it? Kind of confusing, sort of like Algebra)

Besides linking to my blog, he also listed the benefits that Google employees receive and then used those to make his point about education.

He said “Google is doing what I think we should be doing in education. Not just doing for the staff… some of this would be great… some of this would keep the good ones from going into the private sector.

If we are going to transform education… we have to truly transform it… attract the best and the brightest… change it for the better”

That would be great, but I do have another thought…

But first, if you worked at Google this what you could get (taken from his list… as I pride myself on doing absolutely no research… hey, it got me through college).

Health and Wellness Benefits

• Medical Insurance: 3 Carriers
• Dental Insurance
• Vision Insurance
• Flex Spending Account Plan
• EAP – Employee Assistance Program – Services for employees and their dependents include free short-term counseling, legal consultations, financial counseling, child care referrals and pet care referrals.
• Life and AD&D Insurance – Automatic coverage at 2 times annual salary.
• Voluntary Life Insurance – Option to purchase additional life insurance.
• Short Term & Long Term Disability – Short Term Disability Insurance coverage provided at 75% of salary. Long Term Disability coverage provided at 66 2/3% of salary once Short Term disability is exhausted.
•Business Travel Accident Insurance – Automatic coverage at 2 times annual salary.

As he said, this would be enough, but there is more…

Retirement and savings

• Google 401(k) Plan- Employees may contribute up to 60% and receive a Google match of up to the greater of (a) 100% of your contribution up to $2,500 or (b) 50% of your contribution per year with no vesting schedule! We offer a variety of investment options to choose from, through Vanguard, our 401(k) Plan Administrator. To help you with those tough investment decisions, employees can access Financial Engines to receive personalized investment advice.
• 529 College Savings Plan- This plan provides employees with a way to save money for post-secondary education.

Time away (why you would ever want to get away from the Google campus, I don’t know)

• Vacation
1st year- 15 days
4th year- 20 days
6th year- 25 days

• Holidays- 12 paid holidays (sick days taken as necessary)
• Maternity Benefits- up to 18 weeks off at approximately 100% pay
• Parental Leave (for non-primary caregivers)- up to 7 weeks off at approximately 100% pay
• Take-Out Benefit- To help make things easier, new moms and dads are able to expense up to $500 for take-out meals during the first 3 months that they are home with their new baby.

Still not done…

Extra Benefits

• Tuition Reimbursement- We’ll help you pursue further education that’s relevant to what you do. You must receive grades of “B” or better. Why a “B” or better? Because we said so. Tuition reimbursement is $8000 per calendar year.
• Employee Referral Program- Good people know other good people. Our best employees have been hired through referrals. Google encourages you to recommend candidates for opportunities here and will award you a bonus if your referral accepts our offer and remains employed for at least 60 days.
• Back-Up Child Care- As a California employee, when your regularly scheduled child care falls through Google will provide you with 5 free days of child care per year through Children’s Creative Learning Center (CCLC). 13 Bay Area locations serving ages 6 weeks – 12 years.
• Gift Matching Program- Google matches contributions of up to $3000 per year from eligible employees to non-profit organizations. Bolstering employee contributions to worthy causes with matching gifts doesn’t just mean helping hundreds of organizations, both locally and globally; it’s also a tangible expression. We want Googlers to get involved and the company is right behind you.
• Adoption Assistance- Google assists our employees by offering financial assistance in the adoption of a child. We’ll reimburse you up to $5000 to use towards legal expenses, adoption agencies or other adoption professional fees. Parental leave and take-out benefit also apply.

More Benefits (do they need more?)

• Food- Hungry? Check out our free lunch and dinner at our gourmet chefs create a wide variety of healthy and delicious meals every day. Got the munchies? Google also offers snacks to help satisfy you in between meals.
• On-site Doctor- At Google headquarters in Mountain View, California you have the convenience of seeing a doctor on-site.
• Shuttle Service- Google is pleased to provide its Mountain View employees with free shuttles to several San Francisco, East Bay and South Bay locations.
• Financial Planning Classes- Google provides objective and conflict-free financial education classes. The courses are comprehensive and cover a variety of financial topics.
• Other On-Site Services- At Google headquarters in Mountain View, there’s on-site oil change, car wash, dry cleaning, massage therapy, gym, hair stylist, fitness classes and bike repair.
• Other Great Benefits- Ski trip, company movie day, summer picnic, Halloween & holiday party, health fair, quarterly group offsites, credit union, sauna, roller hockey, outdoor volleyball court, discounts for products and local attractions.

I have to admit as an educator, I would settle for the free food and roller hockey. Keep the rest, as I am easy to please.

My thought on this: Google employees get these benefits for one reason and one reason only.

Because they can.

And it doesn’t make America anti-education. Or teachers underappreciated. It is all very simple.

It is supply and demand (see, I did learn something in college… they don’t just give away those Bachelor Degrees in Business Administration… actually they do, so please disregard the first part of this sentence).

Because there are more people qualified to teach than there are people qualified to work at Google, the amount educators get paid is less (okay, far less and no doctor on site).

Supply and Demand.

Lots of people want teaching jobs, but there are a limited number to go around.

Competition always drives the price down. Schools don’t pay more because they don’t have to.

If we want teachers to earn higher salaries, we need to have a system in which great teachers are allowed to shop their services and school districts are allowed to negotiate individually with employees.

And for a variety of reasons, this is not going to happen in the near future.

Google has this ability. And therefore, their employees are paid more and have better benefits.

The downside (if it is a downside) for their employees is being under Google’s control.

They can be dismissed, transferred, or demoted at a moment’s notice.

As educators would we be willing to allow changes to our present system to receive the benefits under Google’s system?

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My School Year Has Lasted Forever, and That is a Very Long Time.

We have just concluded our 19th day of school. It feels more like we should have 19 days left.

It has been a long year.

A very long year.I Feel Your Pain Garfield.  I Feel Your Pain.

It seems like the 2008-2009 school year has already lasted forever… and as I mentioned in the title… forever is a very long time (don’t quote me on this because I am not that good with measurements… I am not a science, math, or a shop teacher).

I can’t remember a time when the beginning of a year has given me this type of a feeling.

Usually, once we get started, the just time flies. If anything, I am usually hoping things will slow down a little bit.

I generally look up from my desk and it is already Thanksgiving. Not this year.

It is September 12th and we have such a long way to go. Did I mention the whole “forever” thing? Again, it is a veeeery long time.

Every one of the 19 days has felt like a Monday morning. A Monday morning with a full-moon. A Monday morning with a full moon and some bus troubles.

Maybe by now you are starting to understand the feelings I have been experiencing.

I wish I could put my finger on what has made this year feel differently than years of the past, but I can’t.

Things just seem to be a little out of sorts.

I haven’t been this out of kilter since I was the only father at the Girl Scouts Orientation Meeting. Or at my Senior Prom when I was fast dancing only to realize 25 seconds into my flailing the DJ was actually playing a slow song.

I just can’t get in a routine. And I thrive on the routine of school. On most days I couldn’t even tell you what time it is. Or even worse, I can’t remember what day it is.

The good news is I do know it’s September (it is September right?).

Nothing has gone terribly wrong at school (please do me a favor and knock on the closest piece of wood), but there has been enough bumps in the road to throw me off my game.

And by game, of course I am referencing my ability (or complete lack thereof) to just hold on for dear life.

I guess the good news is things are likely to improve as the year moves forward.

Suddenly, I am filled with hope and good feelings.

But I guess there is always a chance that things will continue to spiral down into the bottomless pit of hopelessness and despair that is the life of an administrator.

Wow. I just got really depressed.

I feel like grabbing a pillow and smothering myself.

I am glad it is the weekend. It is the weekend isn’t it?

It sort of feels like a Monday.

Next week, I really need 5 straight days of Thursday afternoons. Nothing ever goes wrong on a Thursday afternoon.

Why do I have the feeling that I should be knocking on wood?

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Do I Have a Minute?

Do I Have a Minute?  No.I am seriously considering the purchase of a stop watch.


Because at least 237 times a day someone asks me “Do you have a minute?”

Since I was raised right (????), my usual response is “Yes”. That, my friends, is a little thing I like to call a “colossal mistake of gigantic proportions”.


Because no one wants just a “minute”.

Not when they stop you in the hallway, the cafeteria, outside on the playground, in the office, at the copier, when you are eating lunch, on the way to your car as you make a mad dash in a tragic and quite sad attempt to leave school on time after a normal 10 hour workday, or even when you are nonchalantly sneaking your way to the restroom (usually just to hide for a sweet sweet 3 minutes of peace and quiet).

What they want is 37 minutes.

And a friendly ear.

Or a favor.

Or money.

Or your job.

And sadly, sometimes your soul.

At the very least they (or someone they know) want your head on a stick.

So, I am going to solve this problem by purchasing a stopwatch.

I will wear it around my neck and when someone asks “Do you have a minute?” I will politely respond “Yes”.

Because I was raised right (again, that is up for discussion).

Then I will click the button and they will have 60 short seconds.

When their time is up, I will walk away.

Or run.

Or worst case… throw the stopwatch at them.

No matter what happens, I will have at least saved myself 36 minutes. And possibly my soul.

Comments: 5

Class, We Have a New Girl at School Today, Her Name is Sarah Palin.

Mrs. Sarah Palin.The entire country seems to have the same opinion on the Republican nominee for Vice President, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.

People seem to absolutely love her. And by love, I mean looooooove (the same feeling I get when I come face to face with a new package of Oreos).

These feelings that the country has for her strikes me as a little odd.

Why? Because we don’t know her. Everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, have heard her speak in public once.


That’s right. Our opinion on a person who will be one heartbeat away from running the most powerful country in the world is based on one speech.

A prepared, practiced, rehearsed speech. The only thing this tells me is that she can read.

Granted, it was a good speech, but please. The Republican Party isn’t even allowing her to take questions from reporters.

Why? Because they know she isn’t ready or prepared.

I am sure she will work hard to learn everything she needs to know in a short amount of time, but I prefer that the leader of our country doesn’t have to pull an all-nighter to get up to speed on the issues.

Plus, I hope things turn out better for her than when I pulled all nighters. All I ever ended up with was a dull headache, a great big need for a nap, and a C- on the test (that is exaggeration… I would have killed for a C-).

It’s like she has missed the first 5 weeks of school and now we have to give her time to make up her work.

How did our country become so simple. Are voters this naive? Are we so desperate to find a leader that we will put our faith in someone that we don’t even know? Does the country as a whole want a woman to succeed in national politics so badly that we are willing to let them cut corners?

The country’s reaction struck me as odd, until I realized where I had seen this before.

Like just about everything else in life, it all goes back to school.

She is the new, smart, pretty girl that just moved into the district.

These kids (could be a boy or girl) are always very popular at school when they first show up. Usually, for one reason. The other kids don’t know them.

The “townies” have grown bored with their classmates because they have known them their entire lives. The new kid brings excitement. And mystery. And new ideas and experiences.

New generally equals popular. Even school administrators are popular when they are first hired (okay, bad example… we are never “popular”).

I am not here to put her down. She seems very confident, intelligent, informed (actually we won’t know this one until she actually speaks in public without a teleprompter), likeable, funny, passionate, upbeat, and positive… all of the things a Vice Presidential candidate should be.

I just don’t know how long before the class… I mean country turns on her.

What goes up, must come down.

My advice to her: Go out for cheerleading or run for student council president (or vice-president) before it is too late.

Generally, when you become this popular this fast, it all comes crashing down just as quickly.

I wish her the best of the luck. And a warning.

You are only the new, popular student once. It is impossible to tell how long it is going to last. If you think this extreme amount of good will is forever, you are wrong.

Any day now, a new student will move into the district.

And when that happens, the old new student must transition into just another kid in class.

Enjoy the immense popularity while it lasts. Could be a day, or a week, maybe even a month.

It just won’t be forever.

Comments: 5
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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.