Why Do Schools Always Hire the Opposite of What They Just Had?


Summer is here.

If I could sing I would. If I could dance I would.

Since my only marginal talent is rambling ill-conceived blogs, I am going to stick with what I know.

School is out which means it is time to find some new teachers. Which reminds me, interviewing is exhausting.

The process seems simple enough.

Step 1: advertise the open position.

Step 2: get 12 bazillion resumes on 87 different shades of white paper (who knew there were so many shades of white??).

Step 3: open the applications while constantly wondering… how much do these people spend on fancy paper, envelopes, and fancy folders?

This question always leads me to the same conclusion. The applicants really should have put as much time and effort into their college classes as they did applying for this position.

Step 4: schedule the interviews by emailing. No phone calls. It’s 2009.

Tag is fun. Phone tag is not.

I can remember when I was looking for my first job and the time and effort it took to check the answering machine 8,000 times a day.

When schools didn’t call back, I assumed the phone was broken. Turns out the phone was working just fine, the schools just didn’t want me.

There was a time when I was afraid to go out in the backyard because I might miss a call. If I did venture out, I almost always heard the phone ring (in my head) and would run back into the house to find…

… a phone that hadn’t rang and wasn’t broken. It was exhausting not getting hired.

Email seems simpler and less painful.

Which is why candidates shouldn’t hide their email address on their resume. It’s like playing “Where’s Waldo” with some of these people.

Put your email address on the front page of your resume in at least a 12 point font. I am begging you. I am old, which means the only thing that is worse than my eyesight is my patience.

I can barely find my car in the school parking lot. how do you expect me to find your email address if it is hidden on page 3 right next to the fact that you were in show choir your sophomore year of high school?

If I need a psychic, police dog, or a magnifying glass to locate your email address, I am not going to lie to you… the odds of you getting an interview aren’t good.

But I am venting (actually it feels good and could be considered somewhat healthy).

By the way I have another new pet peeve. The emailer who always has to have the last word (it’s like I am married to them).

If you are sending an email with 2 or less words take my advice and don’t. I won’t be confused or offended.

Examples of these emails include: Thanks, OK, Will do, Sure thing, and Got it. Email is not a new technology. It works.

If I have sent you an email, I am 99.9999999999999% sure that you have received it.

Please don’t feel like you have to respond to my email that was sent to confirm your last email. OK?

Got it?

Good.

The fun really starts during the actual interviews.

I think schools and administrators make a colossal mistake when interviewing.

They attempt to hire people who are the exact opposite of the person they are replacing.

And by exact opposite, I mean they are completely different in one area.

You see this all the time.

If the last person was older, the new hire must be younger.

If a retiring teacher was quiet, the replacement must be outgoing (this is good news for you show choir person!!)

If the last teacher thought his or her computer was evil and watching them as they moved around the classroom, the school will look for someone with a ton of computer skills (and no history of mental illness).

If the last coach was considered strict, the school will want someone that is kinder and gentler (then two years from now, this person will get fired because they are too kind and way too gentle).

When hiring an administrator, if the last one wasn’t strict, the school looks for a former Marine with anger issues and a crazy eye.

This happens over and over.

Even bad employees have good qualities. It’s a mistake to just focus in on their faults when looking for their replacements.

Having tunnel vision is not always the best way to find a good replacement.

You may hire a new employee who is better in a specific area, but what about the other 27 qualities in which they need to be successful?

Focusing in on one particular trait can lead schools to hiring people who aren’t complete educators, coaches, or administrators.

A year from now the same school will be looking for yet another new employee because this year’s version was lacking in a totally different area.

Which means, if you don’t get an interview this year you have twelve months to pick out some new white resume paper (or off-white… or ivory… or bone… or …).

And find out about the person you are replacing. You don’t have to be better than them, just different.

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Time For My Dog’s First Evaluation. I Hope He Isn’t Planning on Getting Tenure.


We have a new dog.

I thought about calling him the Always Hungry, Constantly Napping, Strange Smells Escaping from Several Body Parts, Chewing on My Shoes, High Maintenance/High Drama Animal but this didn’t seem catchy enough.

So we went with Buddy the Dog.

When we got him, I decided it would be a good idea if we ran a 5k together.

After all, dogs love to run. And I could use the exercise and stress relief (especially at the end of the school year). It would be a bonding experience between man and beast.

Like most of my ideas, I considered it sheer genius.

And like most of my ideas, it wasn’t.

We are now 7 weeks into my plan and it’s apparent that our training regimen isn’t going well.

Buddy is evidently more perceptive than me. He decided it wasn’t going well after about 3 minutes.

When we first met him there was no doubt he was a go getter.

His owners told us that he couldn’t get enough exercise. Evidently, they didn’t tell him.

The first few times we ran together, he was a machine. He ran and ran and ran.

I could barely keep up.

There was no stopping him. He could run 4 miles and barely break a sweat.

Then one day it was hot. And humid.

He got tired. And stopped. And layed down. And had a brainstorm.

As he lay under a shade tree on his back with all 4 legs in the air, I could tell his little golf ball-sized brain was really mulling the situation over.

In retrospect, that was the exact moment he decided the human wasn’t in charge.

He was.

And the 5K wasn’t going to happen. Not on his watch.

He hasn’t run since.

And trust me, I’ve tried.

I take off in a full sprint. He sits down and stares at me. And it isn’t just a stare. It’s a mocking glare.

After I regain my composure and my balance, I always try again. I take off. He doesn’t budge.

The glare he gives is easy to recognize because I get it from time to time at school. I must admit, it hurts even when coming from a different species.

This isn’t even the worst part.

In a matter of 6 short weeks, he has gone from a former show dog living in a kennel… to a pampered family pet that not only doesn’t run, but doesn’t even walk outside at night to use the bathroom.

He has to be carried.

I wish I were kidding.

Here are the pictures to prove it.

Sleepy and Lazy.
Buddy the Dog Thinks He Is a Baby.

It’s just a matter of time before we have to put him in the car and drive him down the block to the fire hydrant so he can take care of business.

His business.

On his terms.

Maybe his next evaluation will go well, but as of now he certainly has some areas on which he needs improvement.

Or could it be possible that I have some areas on which to improve? Maybe he and I should’ve had a pre-conference before we brought him home.

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I Have Been Called Many Things. The Good News is I Have a Title for My Autobiography.


When you are a school administrator there is a slight chance that people might not like you.

Of course, this is a very slight chance. If you are just starting your administrative career, please don’t be alarmed.

In most cases you will be honored, respected, and beloved.

Not.

The truth is from time to time people are going to be upset with you. But this only happens occasionally.

By occasionally, I mean when school is in session. Or out of session. Or when they can call get a hold of you by phone (usually during your dinner). Or better yet, when they see you at the grocery store, gas station, or a funeral.

You will know when they are upset because there is a telltale sign.

They call you names. ass-hole-get-it

Usually very loudly so that their friends and family can be impressed by their passion as they stand up to the “man” (or “woman”).

Examples of names you may hear yourself called are not limited to: idiot, jerk, loser, b*st*rd, moron, numb n*ts, dumba**, tool, son of a b*tch, dipsh*t, dork, a**hole, punk, and the ever popular a**bag.

People seem very fond of the word a**.

Or maybe I just resemble one.

You will know when they are finished calling you names when they threaten to sue you and storm off, slam a door, or hang up the phone.

Luckily, most people don’t actually sue (that sound you hear is me knocking on wood).

You should also prepare yourself for pointing. People who are angry and upset seem to point a lot.

In your case, I hope they use their index finger. More often than not, I get another finger.

Over time, I have grown accustomed to being called names so my feelings aren’t hurt. As an added bonus, after 6 years I don’t have any feelings.

But in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit there is one name that has bothered me over the years.

When a former staff member called me… (don’t read this out loud if there are small children in the room and don’t be surprised if the following word is blocked on your computer at school)

… Steve.

For the first 9 years of my teaching career, a fellow teacher called my Steve. Which was fine except that’s not my name.

She wasn’t the problem. I was.

I didn’t correct her the first time it happened and before I knew it, we were on nearly a decade of me being Steve.

At that point, I couldn’t go back and undue our relationship. So I not only answered to Steve, I became Steve.

One day a couple of years ago, I was telling this story at a golf course. I had just gotten to the part about me planning to call my autobiography “They Used to Call Me Steve” when a man walked in the clubhouse.

I have known this gentleman for at least 5 years.

He walked up, sat down, and said…

“How is everything out at school, James?”

My name isn’t James.

Makes me wish I had also corrected him the first time.

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The High School Seniors Have Graduated. Now It’s Time For Them to Get Out.


Graduation is over. Thank Goodness.

That wild cheering sound that you hear in your head. It’s me.

It’s not that I mind graduation, it’s just that I am out of dress clothes to sweat through.

This is just my opinion, but there is nothing sadder than a broken down school administrator sweating through his tie.

But that’s just me.

There is something about graduation day that brings out the heat and humidity. sunshine

Each year you can count on a number of things. Proud parents and grandparents, students wearing sunglasses, parties, screaming, crying, and me looking like I just ran a marathon.

In the rain.

Wearing a winter coat.

And a stocking cap.

Did I mention it was hot and I was sweaty?

Graduation also draws attention to the fact that there are two distinct types of seniors. Those who loved high school and those that didn’t really care for it.

The students that really enjoyed their high school experiences have the toughest time at graduation.

During the course of their 4 years they liked everything. Their friends, activities, sports, teachers, and sometimes even their principal (alright, this one may be a stretch).

Graduation is a complicated event for them. They are happy, yet a little sad.

It’s time to leave high school, but they aren’t sure they are ready. They tell you how excited they are to be moving on, but part of them wants to stay.

On the other hand, there are students who didn’t enjoy their school experiences.

For whatever reason their time didn’t go as smoothly. In fact, some of them feel like they have been serving a 4 year sentence.

Graduation means they are getting released. And they are happy. Really happy.

At least for now.

High school will look much better to them in about 6 months.

There is one thing that all of these students have in common. The need to get out.

And now.

The ones that loved high school need a little push to get out in the real world. The ones who didn’t enjoy school just need to go.

In both cases, it’s time for a little break.

Time to see what life has in store for them.

Time for me to dry out my clothes.

Time to get ready for another senior class.

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High School Graduation. What’s With the Screaming?


All across America, school administrators are preparing for the graduation ceremonies at their schools.

And dreading it. graduation-cap

You may be wondering why they’re not looking forward to this exciting day in young people’s lives? Well, there are several reasons.

The signs. The whistling. The horns. The noisemakers. The silly string. And dozens of other things that can be disruptive.

Did I mention the screaming?

Most of all, the screaming.

People often say that kids have changed over the years. I don’t know about that, but I’m almost positive that graduation ceremonies have.

They are no longer highly structured classy events.

They are rock concerts (it wasn’t this loud at the Def Leppard concert I attended in 1987).

The crowd used to be in attendance to watch the event. Now they are there to participate.

People used to get dressed up for graduation in their finest outfits and applaud when their sons or daughters walked across the stage.

Now, they show up mainly to scream.

I do wonder… is there a direct correlation between how much parents love their children based on how loud they scream during graduation?

And am I the only one who has noticed how graduation ceremonies have changed over the years?

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Technology is Only as Good as the Idiot Using It. Even in Schools.


The following story is true. As far as you know.

I wish it weren’t, but it is.

In my estimation, the story is also borderline sad. Actually there is nothing borderline about it. It’s just sad.

It’s not sad like a lost puppy, but close.

Or sad like a player on the opposing basketball team during the Regional Championship Game hitting a shot in overtime to beat your team with 3 seconds left.

Did I mention the shot was from behind the backboard as the player fell out of bounds (I can’t make this stuff up… because I really wish this hadn’t happened)?

It’s not even sad like the creepy guy at the gas station who says your lottery tickets are all losers, than sticks an actual winning ticket into his pocket. This causes you to get into a screaming match with him and throw a pack of Twinkies right at his Aerosmith baseball cap wearing head.

Before you know it, the police have to get “involved”.

Alright, maybe I made the last one up. Notice I said maybe.

But back to the main sad story. road-in-woods

In fact, sad may not be a strong enough word. But since this is a family blog, I can’t use the word that best describes it. Or phrase. A really long bad phrase with lots of adjectives and verbs (my next New Year’s Resolution really needs to address my language…)

A couple of years ago, some genius had the idea to drive to a neighboring state to watch my niece play high school basketball.

Since I conveniently don’t remember who the genius was, I will continue to assume it wasn’t me.

At first, the trip seamed harmless enough.

Just get in my truck and drive to Missouri. What could possibly go wrong? It’s not like we were going to Kentucky (please keep in mind that I delete all emails that directly insult or threaten me in the subject line).

This trip had all the makings of being a real winner.

Life on the road. Eating out. High school girls’ basketball. Missouri.

It’s like I’d won the lottery and got to keep the ticket (turns out possession is 90% of ownership).

Oh, it gets better.

My traveling party consisted of the wife, my very young evil spawn, and the in-laws.

I anticipated smooth sailing (this should not be construed as sarcasm if you were on the trip… if you weren’t on the trip, it is dripping with sarcasm).

The trip had to go well because I had just purchased a brand new GPS. This was a mortal lock that I would never be lost again.

If you don’t have a GPS, you need one. You also need to make sure it is set so the very attractive British woman’s voice is bossing you around by telling you where to go.

How do I know she is attractive? Trust me, she is.

But enough about my love of accents.

The trip was going just fine until we got close to the school. At least we thought we were close to the school.

Being the new owner of a GPS when it (she) said to turn, I did.

This was a mistake. Soon I would find out how big of a mistake.

If there is one thing I do well, it is follow directions (it is possible this sentence contains just a hint of sarcasm).

The GPS kept telling me to turn and turn and turn.

So I did and did and did.

Before I knew it we were on the side of a mountain. Or as much of a mountain that you can find in rural Missouri.

The GPS had led us down what appeared to be some sort of “road”.

It was more of a muddy path used by wild animals. The last time I saw a road/path like this, Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty were running down it in the movie Deliverance.

And Ned was squealing. Not in a good way.

It was obvious we were lost. To everyone but us.

I had put my faith in the very attractive British GPS woman and she had failed me. She had led us off the beaten path. And then we went another 8 miles. Straight up.

We were so far astray that I couldn’t even turn around. The hunting path had gotten too narrow. And muddy.

You know what happens when you can’t turn around?

You got it. We had to back down the mountain.

Except, I couldn’t. You see, we were stuck.

And the British woman had gone surprisingly quiet.

Wild animals were walking by shaking their heads in disgust.

This story could go on for another hour and 15 minutes (which is about how long it took to back down the mountain), but I don’t want to relive it.

At the time I said, “One day in the future, this will all be funny.”

That day hasn’t arrived.

When we eventually made our way to a main road (at this point with everyone in dead silence), I drove about 1 mile and there was the school.

We had driven right past it. On the way up the hill.

But the British lady didn’t bother to point this out. And I didn’t notice because I had technology on my side.

And there were a total of 4 teachers in the car. All with Master’s Degrees. And close to 100 years of teaching experience.

But yet, none of us were smart enough to recognize a school building that had a huge electronic sign in front that said “Girls Basketball Game Today!”

We followed the British GPS lady. Like lambs to the slaughter. Like idiots. Like Ned Beatty to… well you know (and if you don’t… and are male… take my advice and avoid watching Deliverance as it will haunt your dreams… or should I say nightmares).

I think you see this same type of behavior in schools.

No, not Ned Beatty’s.

The blind use of technology.

It’s purchased. Then it’s dropped in a classroom. With absolutely no training. Much like me with the GPS (as I look back, reading the directions might have been helpful).

Before you know it, the teacher is lost. Maybe not on a dirt road on top of a hill after driving right by their destination 2 hours earlier, but none the less… lost.

So how can we avoid this “lost” feeling when it comes to technology?

It takes more than just buying computers, SMARTBoards, etc. It takes assistance, mentoring, training, and maybe even hand-holding.

But I am begging administrators and schools everywhere, please don’t let your teachers end up like me.

Or even worse. Like Ned.

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Retirement and Death. They’re the Same Thing.


Happy Retirement!I continue to be fascinated by the idea of retirement. And not just my own.

Everybody’s.

Although admittedly, I think about mine more than I contemplate others. I think about it a lot. And by a lot, I mean about every 12 seconds.

And by every 12 seconds, I don’t actually mean every 12 seconds.

It’s way more often than that.

If you work in a school there are always 1 or 2 employees that get to retire at the end of the school year. I say “get”. Some of them say “have to”.

It seems retiring is a wonderful idea when you can’t (and it seems so very wonderful to me). As employees get older and closer to this big decision, it seems to weigh on them.

Plus, I think it is more difficult for those teachers and administrators who are still great at their jobs.

You have to admit, it’s not like we are pouring concrete, working in a coal mine, changing oil in cars, or digging ditches for a living.

I wonder if it’s stressful because the school year ends so abruptly. It reminds me of the feeling I used to get when I coached.

When you are coaching a team all your effort goes into accomplishing year long goals. Then it never fails. You end up losing the last game of the season and it all suddenly comes crashing to a close.

Even though you know this is going to happen, it still comes as a surprise.

While you actually had looked forward to the last game, as soon as it is over, you miss it and feel a little lost.

Then a two week funk overtakes you…

…which includes restlessness, binge eating, watching way too much TV, and rocking yourself to sleep while laying in the fetal position in the corner of your bedroom often times only wearing your favorite Batman underpants (of course this is just an example… I never actually watched too much TV).

Retirement seems to sneak up on people in much the same way (hopefully, without the Batman underwear).

I have come up with a theory (which I may have shared before, but since I don’t read my blogs once they are finished… it seems like a new idea to me).

Retirement is like a death. People have to go through a grieving process.

The older I get, the more this makes sense to me.

Some teachers/administrators spend over 30 years in one school district. Sometimes in one building. And occasionally even in one classroom.

While they are ready to let go and retire, it is still difficult.

The good news is that in my own very unscientific study, retirees feel much better about their choice 6 months into the next school year than they did when they walked out of school for the last time.

As they conclude their careers in education, they haven’t had a chance to sit back and reflect on what their new lives will be like.

They haven’t had the opportunity to NOT grade any more papers, or NOT babysit a study hall, or NOT telling their kids to be quiet in the hallway, or NOT emailing an angry parent.

Once they get to NOT experience these things, they are able to enjoy their new lives.

Sweet, sweet retirement (it’s like the mistress I haven’t met yet).

But before they get to this stage there is a process they may have to go through.

Denial, anger, and depression. Then and only then comes acceptance.

The good news is the grieving process always comes to a close. But it can take time (as the results of my unscientific study show).

A person’s career is like an old friend or a beloved family pet. No matter how much you prepare for their passing, it is still extremely difficult to let go.

Especially after 30 years.

So if you are retiring at the end of this school year, congratulations. And please know, I am jealous.

And if you are having second thoughts about your decision. Be patient.

You haven’t gotten to the good part yet. That happens next fall when I am going to work and you’re not (if you need me, I will most likely be somewhere in the fetal position).

There is always another way to retire. My way. It is a two-step process. First, don’t tell anyone and secondly, make sure to leave your keys on the desk as you sneak out quietly.

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Calm Down Citizens. Schools Can Remain Open Despite the Swine Flu. Duh.


School Closed?  I Don’t Think So.On May 5, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they were no longer recommending that schools close based on a suspected case of Swine Flu.

In a nutshell their recommendations are now:

* Students, faculty or staff with flu-like symptoms should stay home from school.

* Students, faculty or staff who have continuing flu-like symptoms should see their physician.

* Students, faculty or staff who get sick during the school day should be isolated from other students and sent home.

* Students who are ill should not go to child care facilities with other children.

* Students, faculty and staff should frequently wash their hands with soap.

* Students, faculty and staff should cover their mouths when coughing.

Now this is the type of quality advice that you can only get from the federal government.

What would we do without their competent leadership and direction.

The next time a pig sneezes on me, I have all the confidence in the world that our government will protect me.

Of course, I also believe the news media will fairly and accurately report the information.

Now that we have the Swine Flu Saga behind us, we can focus on more pressing issues.

Such as:

* When it rains, go inside. And don’t look up with your mouth open.

* Don”t take a nap inside your oven.

* Don”t eat glass.

* Never mow your yard while holding a baby.

* And most importantly, never smell anything moments after someone says “Eeewww, smell this”

Actually I am lying about the Swine Flu Saga being behind us. I am sure we will get to do this all over again next fall.

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Swine Flu. Just When Schools Thought They Had Heard of Everything.


Common Sense.

You may not have heard, but there seems to be a problem with Swine Flu. It hasn’t really been covered by the news media, so don’t feel badly if you’ve missed it (this is a little thing I like to call sarcasm).

The way it has been explained to me, it could be a pandemic.

I am not sure what a pandemic means, but it sure sounds scary.

There must not be anything else newsworthy at this time of year in order for this story to become so big.

While I don’t want to take this situation lightly, I have grown up in the generation that has been beset by the end of the world on at least 20 different occasions.

The Cold War. Shark attacks. Hurricanes. Fires. Wars. Cigarettes. Y2K. Bird flu. Terrorists. O.J. Anthrax. Planes crashing into stuff. The Unabomber. Global warming. Banks. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Pirates. Drug cartels. Sarah Palin. Gangs taking over schools. Paris Hilton. Michael Jackson and that creepy monkey (or creepy Michael Jackson and that monkey).

There has been a chance all of these could affect me directly and in some cases deliver my untimely death. I was especially concerned about bumping into O.J. at a golf course.

On top of that, the good people at the National Weather Service now tell me a tornado or some sort of storm is going to attack me.

Every 15 minutes. Right in the middle of my favorite TV show.

I have become numb.

As usual the focus of health and safety is dropped directly in the lap of public schools.

The government in all their wisdom (again… for the uninitiated, this is called sarcasm), has recommended that public schools be shut down for at least 14 days if there is a suspicion that a student has a headache, bellyache, or the sniffles that were contrived from a pig.

Easy enough. Students seldom complain about not feeling well while they are at school. Shouldn’t be too hard to tell if a child has picked up the flu from a farm animal.

President Obama might have been more helpful if he had insisted, during his speech, that all schools should clean (w/ bleach) all desks, door handles, bathrooms, etc. each and every night. No exceptions.

Put us all on notice.

To me, this is a better plan of action than just saying this new flu strain is “bad” and we should be careful.

And we need to remember to wash our hands.

Closing schools or even talking about it should be a last resort.

In these difficult economic times, asking parents (especially single parents) to find and pay for extra day care for up to two weeks is a huge burden.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t take the Swine Flu seriously, because we should.

But taking students from schools and putting them around other kids in day care doesn’t really seem like progress to me.

I wonder if our country’s efforts to educate people through the media crosses the line, and we end up just scaring ourselves.

And our children. And older people.

There are so many other issues that don’t seem to qualify as “breaking news”. Most have been on our radar for years and unfortunately don’t have a catchy name like Swine Flu (it should be noted flu is so much scarier when it comes from an animal… I am dreading the Dog Flu next winter because all Buddy the Dog wants to do is lick me and nap).

In 2008, the following are numbers of people predicted to die from each disease or event (yes, I did actual research for this blog… please don’t come to expect this type of extra effort in the future… information taken from the Disease Control and Prevention Database).

In the United States 307,655 people would die of cancer.

7,258 of skin cancer. 21,289 of colon cancer. 26,987 of prostate cancer.

Oh, it gets better. Or worse if it happens to you. Especially if you were one of the 12,372 people who were murdered.

57 people perished by falling off a cliff. 1 person “bit” it by a shark attack. 40 were killed when struck by lightning.

4,624 died in a motorcycle accident. 1,062 unfortunately fell down steps, and didn’t get up.

8,432 passed away from HIV/AIDS. Remember when this was the “breaking story”? Now old news.

It’s not as exciting to report on anymore. But people are still sick.

It goes on and on. 7 died from an incident with sports equipment. 1,737 in a fire. 2 got it when their idiot doctor left something in them during surgery.

28 in an earthquake, avalanche, or landslide.

55,105 had a stroke from which they didn’t recover.

43 got stung by a bee and didn’t recover.

My point here… research is exhausting. And it is evidently not safe to leave your house, play sports, or have surgery.

Americans get sick, hurt, and die from lots of things. What we shouldn’t do is scare children needlessly and close schools because it makes people feel better temporarily.

Schools certainly have to do their part, but why are we the only ones being mentioned that need to help slow down the pandemic.

What about malls? And churches? And businesses, factories, colleges, the Kentucky Derby, NASCAR, Major League Baseball games, the NBA playoffs and even CNN?

I wouldn’t be surprised if more people work in the CNN building in Atlanta than there are children attending school in the 5 closest counties to me.

Any chance they will close? Didn’t think so.

Can’t we be proactive with our safety and still use good judgment?

I think the only thing that won’t recover from this latest drama is our common sense as a country.

It may be dead forever.

Please remember to cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands, and stay at home if you are sick.

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School Pictures: How Many Friends Do They Think I Have?


My desk is a mess. End of the Year Desk.

But so are my house, truck, and garage.

I’m not a slob. I’m a school administrator.

This means the months of April and May are busy. Really busy. So busy that I shouldn’t even be taking time to write this.

I should be working on curriculum, handbooks, or school finances. Or at least watching a Dirty Jobs episode that I have only seen 17 times.

Graduation. Prom. Retirement parties (not mine unfortunately). Daughter’s events (unfortunately soccer). Spring concerts. Baseball games. Musicals. Meetings.

It goes on and on.

But the end is near. Although I’m not counting down.

Actually the end isn’t near for me. Working year round takes some of the excitement out of the end of school.

But I will have a 3 month summer break from kids and adults, so I have that going for me.

Until then it will be busy.

Way too busy for me to have time to clean out my desk.

It has taken an entire school year to collect all of the stuff that now resides in, on, under, and around my desk.

And by stuff I mean crap.

It is going to take time to clean this mess up.

And 47 trash bags.

And a putty knife (there is something sticky in one of my desk drawers).

I am also going to need at least 2 Advil. My back is bound to be sore from lifting all the crap in and around the desk.

From the beginning of the school year to the end, my desk reminds me of my dorm room at college.

Clean and neat with very few items at the beginning of the year.

Messy and not so clean with all kinds of junk at the end. At least there aren’t any concert posters on my desk.

But there are pens. Lots of them.

Seriously, how many pens does one man need? 10, 50, a 1000?

If you plan on giving me a free pen in the next 20 years, please don’t. Although I could use a letter opener.

Another item that is taking over my desk is school pictures. Not of students.

Of me.

Sad but true. I have hundreds.

Actually that is a lie.

I have way more than that.

The question is why?

Why do they give me so many pictures of myself?

There are wallet size photographs of me falling out of my desk like snowflakes. Except the pictures all look the same.

Bad.

You would think with digital cameras they could get one good picture of me.

Yet, I don’t have the heart to throw them away.

So I have become a collector. Of bad school pictures of myself.

Sure it’s creepy. And a little sad. Even borderline pathetic.

But what am I to do.

The picture company gives me these pictures every year and I have no one with whom to exchange them

I am a school administrator, not a popular junior high girl.

It seems a little cruel they continue to give me these year after year.

When I do get around to cleaning out my desk, I am going to be faced with the prospect of what to do with these pictures.

If I drag them out and lay them on top of the desk it will look like I’m staring into a carnival fun house mirror.

Except I am 15 different ages. In the same pose.

Feet on the floor. Hands in my lap. Shoulders back. Chin up. Smile.

Next year I am going to ask if they can’t just use last year’s picture.

And I know where they can find one. Or a thousand.

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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.