Schools Can’t Change.


Change is hard.

That’s why I’m not interested.

When you work in a school there is always a lot of talk about changing things (by talk, I mean it rhymes with witching).  As educators we are faced with the choice of jumping on board with the latest fad or sticking with the tried and true method that we’ve used for the last 20 years.

For me it’s a no brainer.

If it was good enough when I was in school, it’s good enough for the students in 2009.What I Would Look Like If I Taught in the 1950's.

When the word change is even casually mentioned, it can provoke a strong reaction.

In some cases anger.

Luckily, the bad feelings are never directed towards administrators (for the last time… sarcasm is the lifeblood of this blog).

After much thought, I have chosen my final answer on change (I do love Regis Philbin but rest assured not in the same way I love Kelly…actually in the EXACT same way I love Kelly). 

I’m against it.

Don’t even think about trying to talk me out of it.

I don’t like change.

Why?

Because I don’t like it.

You need a reason?  I gave you one.  I don’t like it.

In my estimation, progress is way overrated.

Schools were good enough for my grandparents (if they attended… and some did… at least until the 6th grade), so they should be good enough for today’s students.

Progress is for the next generation.  It’s for the person who takes my job (I know you’re out there…).

As for me, I’m going to stick with what works.

I’m way too busy to worry about the latest fads.  My career is on borrowed time.  I just don’t see the point in making a lot of unnecessary changes because I’ve only got 20 years left until retirement (like I’m going to make it…).

I’m going to focus on the present.

In the next week or so I need to do the following:

Run off copies on the ditto machine.

Take a quick smoke break in the Teacher’s Lounge.

Use some corporal punishment on a student in the hallway because he was talking in study hall.

Finish a report on a typewriter (I hope I don’t make a mistake; I am all out of correction tape).

Hand write some memos.

Use the phone tree to contact teachers.

Drive students in my car without seatbelts.

Take some pictures for the yearbook and send the film off to be developed (I should be getting them back in a couple of weeks).

Write grades in my red spiral grade book.

Show a movie on the 16mm projector.

Or possibly a slide show (don’t forget to turn to the next slide when it beeps).

Finally, I need to not exercise (all the studies say it’s bad for you).

I think I’ve made my point.

Schools don’t need to change.  Things are just fine the way they are.

Comments: 29
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m Not Sure I Want to Work for a Magazine That Will Hire Me.


In the last few weeks, I’ve been writing more blogs about a subject that makes my skin crawl.

Me.

I feel sick just thinking about it (I was going to say I just threw up in my mouth… but that’s just gross and has no place in a family friendly blog).

People (high-powered, very influential corporate types that I’m not at liberty to name… mainly because they are neither high-powered nor influential) tell me that I need to reap some benefits from my work here at PrincipalsPage.com.

Under their extremely complicated marketing plan, I need to turn the tremendous amount of traffic this Blog doesn’t have into name recognition.

Step 2 is to take this name recognition and cash it in (I must admit, I do like cash… and free t-shirts… hint, hint…).

To accomplish this, I have to self-promote. This involves writing blogs about my experiences as I travel, speak, or get interviewed.

This marketing strategy brings up a couple of questions.Converge Magazine Headquarters????

One, instead of name recognition wouldn’t a nap be more fulfilling?

And two… actually I don’t have a second question.

Frankly, I am too tired to come up with anything which means I could really use a nap.

Writing the Blog has become strange to me. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel like I’m an employee of the Blog.

A caretaker if you will.

Which is why I go out of my way not to anger the Blog.

I need this writing gig… actually I don’t. Especially since the income it provides me is somewhere between Jack and Squat.

Then it happened.

I started writing (as always the thought of me “writing” cracks me up and embarrasses every English teacher I ever had) for the suits at Converge Magazine.

Technically it’s not the actual magazine but their website (I’m at the card table at the Converge Family Thanksgiving dinner).

A few months ago I sent a nasty hate filled email to the suits at Converge demanding they address my contract situation.

I envision the suits sitting in their corner offices in big leather chairs smoking cigars as they decide the future of the magazine and the peons who blog for them.

For some reason, I think they all have mustaches.

And drive Corvettes.

And wear thick gold chains from the 70’s.

But who knows since I have been banned from the Converge Campus (you see, I also daydream they have a big glass building that sits high upon a hill on 15-acres where they can look down and crush all the little people… or maybe I just had too much pepperoni pizza for dinner last night…).

Back to my mean spirited email.

Which if I’m being honest, I forgot I sent.

And it wasn’t actually angry or mean-spirited.

It was really more of an off-handed smart aleck comment (go figure). I didn’t give it a second thought after I sent it.

Low and behold, the suits put their cigars down just long enough to get back to me.

Much to my surprise, they have offered to pay an insane amount for my weekly blogs.

Through a series of highly dramatic emails, we negotiated a salary that is much higher than I could have ever imagined (technically two emails… they offered… and I accepted).

They are now paying me 10 times what they were (since I was getting $0, you can do the math).

While getting paid is nice, it has occurred to me this opens up a whole new set of problems.

I now get paid to write (or whatever you call it).

I’m in the same profession as John Grisham, Stephen King and J.K. Rowling (except they write books… and sell them… and have a little thing I like to call talent… other than that, we are exactly the same).

While the cash is nice (didn’t they know they could have had me with a free t-shirt?) it does bring added pressure.

Being a “highly” paid blogger is bound to be stressful.

What if the suits start demanding quality instead of just quantity?

What if they proofread what I write (?) before they post it on their website?

What if they fire me when they discover I’m a no-talent sham?

Actually, what do I care?

If they fire me, I can write a blog ripping the out-of-touch suits and their crazy decision making.

I will certainly have a good case.

After all, they did hire me. So how good can is their judgment…really?

Comments: 6
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Parents Hate Principals.


This isn’t completely true. Not all parents hate the principal at their child’s school.

I thought it was important to clarify because I don’t want to be responsible for scaring off teachers who are considering a career move to school administration.

We need good quality young people to go into the profession.Can't We All Just Get Along.

Actually, we (or I) need a good young person to take my job.

You know the word “Retirement” means “Sweet, I Can Go Golfing” in Latin (if you don’t believe me, look it up… on the other hand, just take my word for it).

This needs to happen soon, while I’m still young (I’m not kidding… get yourself in a Master’s program and get your degree… NOW!).

Theoretically, it’s possible for a parent to like a principal.

In fact, once in the late 1970’s there was a parent in one of the western states (can’t remember the name of it but it has snow… or mountains… or maybe cowboys live there… not exactly sure) that loved their school principal.

Alright, I’m exaggerating.

This is a little something I like to do to move the blog along. I learned this when I was an English major in college.

Actually, that’s just an out and out lie. I couldn’t have been an English major because I couldn’t spell it (and by it, I mean the word “English”… I have been able to spell “it” for as long as I can remember).

Also, there wasn’t a parent out west who liked his or her principal.

That’s also a lie.

No one likes principals.

They are despised by everyone. Including parents. In every state. Including the states where it snows and cowboys live.

Parents and principals have a very special relationship. (Science teachers, this is your one and only symbiotic reference).

And by special, I mean they are sworn enemies.

It has to work this way. It’s like Good vs. Evil. Kardashians vs. Good Taste. Jerry vs. Newman (Seinfeld reference… Yes!!!). Buddy the Dog vs. Rabbits (another lie… Buddy loves rabbits… it’s really quite pathetic).

Parents and principals need each other.

Without the other, neither exists.

Parents need someone at school in which to direct their thoughts (i.e. anger) on the educational system and its treatment of their child (this is commonly referred to as “You Will Be Hearing From My Lawyer!”).

Principals need parents. Without a mom or dad barging into the office yelling and threatening to sue, why would schools even need a principal?

Honestly, couldn’t a secretary just run things?

As long as there are children and schools, parents and principals will be tied together.

So don’t worry that they don’t like each other.

It’s supposed to be that way.

Comments: 5
Tags: , , , , ,

The Golden Rule: Scream at Others and They Will Scream at You.


I can neither confirm nor deny any or all of the following is true.

Parents are crazy.

I’m not talking about all parents, just the ones who are insane.

The actual percentage of parents who suffer from this disease runs from 32.4% to 99.9%.

The parent in this story is not affiliated with my school in any way, shape, or form (and if my luck continues they will never purchase a house, rent, or visit a town where I work or reside). The Woman in Question is Not Nearly This Nice.  Or So I Heard.

In fact, as far as you know this story was told to me by a complete stranger who I inadvertently bumped into on a busy street in a city that I’ve never visited.

As the story goes, the woman gave birth to a young man who I don’t even know.

If I did know him, I can promise you I would want to thump him right upside his little head in the hope of closing that mouth which is constantly running but has yet to say anything worth hearing.

The woman, who may be the loudest most obnoxious person I have never been in contact with, is roughly 25 years old.

Did I mention she was loud?

And obnoxious?

I’m not being mean (after all I’ve never seen her… as far as you know), I’m simply passing on a story.

You might wonder how I know she’s loud if I’ve never been around her. That’s a fair question.

The answer is… trust me, she’s loud.

At least that’s what I’ve been told.

The first time I didn’t meet her she was screaming at her son. The second time I didn’t meet her, she was screaming at her son.

The third time he was standing on the hood of her car and yes… you guessed it… she was screaming at him.

In fact, every single time I haven’t seen her she has been screaming. At her son.

If you’re like me, you are starting to notice a pattern.

I’m no parenting expert, but sooner or later even the worst kids have a day when they don’t deserve to get yelled at.

I was almost starting to feel sorry for the young man (if I knew him) and then it happened.

He started screaming at her.

You might think I would experience some sort of joy from watching (or not) him stand up for himself, but that’s not the case.

It just made me want to thump them both upside their heads.

The latest screaming match took place (allegedly) during an 8 year olds soccer game.

While I had gotten used to the mother screaming at her son (if I had been present at this soccer game that didn’t take place), I was dumbfounded to hear him scream at her.

As he was playing in the game.

As he was dribbling the ball up the field.

Right in front of all the parents. Of both teams.

Right in front of all the players. On both teams.

The horror.

The language.

The decibel level.

At that very moment (if I was there), I thought the referee should have thrown them both out of the game.

Then I came to my senses.

He should have thrown them both out of society.

In her defense, I don’t think she has any idea that she is treating him in a way that isn’t productive. In fact, I’m willing to bet she thinks her actions are those of a strong disciplinarian.

On the other hand (if I knew him), he is an idiot.

He treats his mom worse than she treats him. The sad part is, his attitude will undoubtedly get worse as he gets older.

I’m afraid her troubles will be compounded (times 47) by the time he makes it to high school.

Neither one of them has any idea how to treat one another.

I’m far from perfect, but I feel pretty confident in the following statement. My daughter has never cursed me during the course of a soccer game as she was dribbling the ball up the field in front of 75 spectators, 4 coaches, 3 referees, 2 old ladies walking, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Now behind closed doors… in her room… who knows? .

Maybe I’m wrong about these two.

Maybe they have a great relationship and they will both thrive as they grow older.

Maybe she won’t be in a high school principal’s office asking for help in controlling his behaviors when he’s a sophomore.

Maybe he won’t have kids of his own and treat them just as badly as he is getting treated.

Maybe.

Comments: 1
Tags: , , ,

Disclaimer

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.