School is Making Me Sick.


And by “sick” I mean…sickeningly FAT!

It’s become apparent to me that school isn’t good for my health.

And no, it’s not the swine flu.  Although that’s not helping.

It’s the food.

And no, it’s not the food in the cafeteria.I Don't Feel Well.  Or Look That Great.

It’s all of the other food.

Birthdays, holidays, early dismissals, donuts, fake holidays (Bosses’ Day), people baking for no apparent reason, concession stands, Halloween candy, Christmas cookies, vending machines, lunch meetings, breakfast meetings, and meetings just to get together to eat for no apparent reason.

It’s all very exhausting.

And fattening.

I used to eat better at school than I did at home.  Now, it’s just the opposite.

My world is upside down.

School is supposed to be good for you.  Now it’s just one sugar-laced treat after another.

The world of food has improved greatly for students.  The government has “encouraged” us to take out or limit access to pop machines.  We’ve put breakfast programs in place to make sure kids have a good meal to start the day.

We provide lunches with healthier choices.

We limit access to candy bars and chips.

Yet, it is getting worse by the day for adults.

And more importantly (in my mind at least), for me.

10 years ago I could lose 19 pounds during the course of the weekend.  This was accomplished by not Super Sizing my meal(s) at McDonald’s.

Now I gain weight after drinking a glass of water.

How do I know this?

Because I weigh after big meals. 

Which occur on a weekly basis at (of all places…) school.

This isn’t right.

School is supposed to be where you take your lunch.  Where you eat fruit.  Where you don’t snack.

Not a place where you eat 14 cookies, 3 cupcakes, and 8 snack size candy bars during your mid-morning snack.

School is undermining my good diet and exercise program.

I need some structure.  Not a food free-for-all.

Actually, I need some self-discipline.  Any chance someone can leave a cake pan full of that in the lounge?

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Success is Found in the Oddest Places.


For the last several weeks we have been looking for a new couch.

Why?

Because we sold our “old” couch (which we sat on about 12 times). The mancave looks pretty bare without furniture.Our New Couch.  Not Our House.

Plus, it’s no fun to watch TV while standing.

It’s almost as bad as when I was a kid and had the responsibility of turning the channels (all 4 of them).  By hand.  The horror.

I feel really good about selling the “old” couch since we got nearly 30 cents on the dollar.  This couch was the essence of buyer’s remorse.  From the moment we got it, I knew it wasn’t right.

Mainly because it wasn’t a couch.  It was more like three recliners screwed together.

Great for watching movies (which we don’t), but terrible for taking a nap (which Buddy and I do… and as always, don’t judge us because you don’t understand the specialness of the man/dog relationship).

The search for a new couch has taken us to every furniture store within 100 miles.  The only thing we’ve found is there is some really ugly furniture out there (who is buying all of this plaid???).

Actually that’s not true, we have also found that furniture salesmen can be slightly creepy (aka:  borderline stalkers).

Note to salesmen:  I’m quite capable of walking around a store and staring at couches by myself.  I really don’t need you following me.  Especially when your face is within 2 1/2 inches of mine (it’s called personal space, please abide by it).

At Thanksgiving, my wife’s brother suggested we stop by a local discount store.

Discount store?

We thought this may have been the craziest idea since the 4th judge on American Idol (only to be topped when they booted Paula Abdul off the show… sure she’s nuts, but she was our nut).

Needless to say, we had no plans to swing by the discount store (home of the $9.99 fake Christmas trees… lights and ornaments included).

Then we went to yet another high-end store only to be stalked and overwhelmed by the sight of hideous furniture (seriously, who is buying these plaid loveseats???).

We decided just for laughs to stop by the discount store and see what had  fallen off the train/semi truck this week.

As soon as we walked in (past the piles of silly puddy, Star Wars cards, Yo-Yo’s, and 99 cent picture frames)  there it was.  It was an epiphany.

The couch we’ve been looking for.

The couch we thought we’d never find.

It was perfect.

It was cheap.

It was in a discount store.

Who knew?

As an added bonus, our salesman was the nicest, most polite, most professional person we’ve met on our furniture journey.  My best guess is he’s about 35 years old, but he looks over 50. 

He’s the guy that hasn’t cut his hair since he was 12.  Probably cut classes in high school.  Maybe enjoys an occasional cigarette (and so much more).  I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the parent who wants a better life for his kids than he thinks he has.

He was very particular about his work and wanted to make sure we knew exactly what we were getting.  The total cost.  The hidden fees.  What time he would call us so we could pick up the couch.  How he would help us load it when we arrived.

He was thorough.

All of this help without being a stalker.

Who knew you could get such good service in a discount store (not to mention such a nice couch for a low low price).  I wish you could get this kind of service (and low low price) in a regular furniture store.

This got me thinking.

I bet the man who helped us wasn’t the teacher’s pet in school.

I think it’s more likely that he drove his teachers crazy.

He probably didn’t work up to his potential.  He may not have understood the importance of Algebra or English.

Some people might even look at him (and the 25 year old pony tail) and think he’s not successful.

I think they would be wrong.

I would consider him very successful at his job.  He has skills (including people skills) that should be envied.

Success comes in all shapes and sizes.

And on this day, we found it at a discount store.

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The Best Job in Education?


It’s time we get to the bottom of this age-old question that has been hashed and rehashed in teachers’ lounges for the last 100 years (or it’s just something I think about… hard to tell).

Who has the best job in education?The Mystery of the Best Job in Education.

I’m talking about K-12 education, so college professors who “work” 3 hours a day twice a week don’t count (let the emails begin… please include “Don’t Forget We Have Office Hours” in the subject line… ).  I can almost hear my readership on college campuses plummeting.

Who has the best job is a very difficult question.

An easier question is who has the worst job.  I could get to the bottom of this in a matter of minutes (by minutes I mean seconds).

I can ask anyone who works for a school who has the worst job, and they will all say the same thing. 

“I do.”  

Everyone thinks their job is the most difficult and demanding in education.  And the world.  And universe.  And whatever is bigger than the universe.

Since this question is easily answered, we can focus on who has the best job.

Personally, I think a job where you sit at home and blog about nothing (not in a tie, unshaven, and holding a certain unnamed handsome beagle) would be the absolutely best job in education.

Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be an economic possibility (since this unnamed beagle eats a LOT… which is understandable because he needs his strength to… well, nap all day… and sleep all night).

To understand who has the best job in education (which isn’t easy because it’s an enigma wrapped in a riddle tucked in a conundrum), I’ve decided to break it down by position.

First up are Athletic Directors.  This can’t be the best job because fans get angry when the AD hires a bad referee.  Of course, this statement assumes there are good referees (sorry, coaching flashback).  Plus they spend way too much time in a gymnasium.  You can only lean on a wall or sit in the bleachers for so long before your back hurts.

Bookkeepers can’t have the best job because there is far too much responsibility with way too much money (hopefully they have money to worry about…).  Plus employees of the district get SO upset when their paychecks are a few weeks late.

Coaches get fired.  A lot.  And if they don’t get fired this year, it’s very likely they will be fired next year.  So they can’t have the best job because they may not have a job by the time they are done reading this.

Custodians.  Vomit and toilets (individually not too bad, but together they make a horrific partnership).  Enough said on this subject (until a few sentences from now).

Dean of Students.  This job is similar to being a principal, but without any of the good parts (this assumes there are good parts).

Lunch Ladies have to feed hundreds of children who don’t like what they are serving.  This is especially true when the food is green.  Plus, you have to wear a hair net.  Not a good look.

Maintenance Man.  No chance.  Kids break things and while that provides a certain amount of job security, it happens so frequently this job is work.

Principal.  No way.  People yell at the principal and then threaten to sue.  Vomit and/or toilets would be a step up. 

The School Nurse is out because vomit is the least of their troubles.  Illness (Hello, Swine Flu) and huge amounts of responsibility takes them out of the running.

Secretaries are in charge of… well everything.  Definitely not the best job but certainly a candidate for the most challenging job.

Superintendent.  Nope.  You can throw this job in the same category as bookkeepers.  Lots of money (if all is going well) and a ton of responsibility.  Plus, they get paid a lot, so people don’t like them.

Teachers have students in their classrooms all day.  Enough said.  I don’t think I even need to talk about the shear number of papers they have to grade.

Technology People.  I don’t think so.  If a staff member has a computer/printer/SmartBoard/projector/anything electric and it’s not working… they want the Tech Person driven out to the middle of nowhere and left for dead.  If people want you killed, this officially takes you out of the running for the best job.

Substitute teachers.  Get serious.  Students who hate school get excited when there is a sub.  Not a good sign.  It’s hard enough controlling kids when you know their names.

All of these positions have issues that disqualifies them from receiving the title of Best Job in Education.

So if not these, which job is the Best in Education?

Easy.

It’s a no brainer.

Assistant Superintendent.

This is without a doubt (like I have a clue) the absolute Best Job in Education.

Why?

Two reasons.  One, who knows what this person looks like?  And two, who knows what this person does?

They are ghosts.

Enigmas if you will.

They work for the school… or do they?

They are seldom seen or heard (again, let the emails begin… please include “You Have No Idea How Hard I Work” in the subject line).

You know who hates this person?

Nobody.

Absolutely nobody.

This qualifies them (easily) as the winner of the Best Job in Education.

No matter what job you hold… Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Great Holiday Season!

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Oprah and Snow Shovels.


I spent the last few days in Chicago at an education conference.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is as soon as I arrived (late by the way… thanks Amtrak), I turned on the TV just in time to hear that Oprah Winfrey is leaving town.I Could Also Use This Snow Shovel to Smack People.

Evidently, Chicago isn’t big enough for the both of us.

I know I shouldn’t take this personally, but this hurts.  I’ve always felt like Oprah and I got along fairly well.

Sure, we had our disagreements about Gayle (Oprah loves her… I find her annoying) but for the most part we saw eye to eye.

I should admit that Dr. Phil strikes me as a little odd, but who am I to judge.  Good enough for Oprah, good enough for me.  Even though he seems like the creepy uncle your parents told you to avoid at family reunions.

But now she is leaving the Windy City.

Off to make her fame and fortune in Los Angeles.

Wait a second.  Doesn’t she already have fame and a little bit of fortune (by a little… I mean she bleeds gold bullion).

Why does she need her own television network?

More importantly, why is she starting her own television network.

She is worth about 8,000 billion dollars (when the market is down), so why doesn’t she just buy one of the crappy 700 channels I get (and don’t watch).

Then all she would have to do is move it to Chicago and rename it Oprah Land, OTV, or Oprah Classic (I would be very nervous TV Land, HGTV, and ESPN Classic… very nervous indeed).

But no, she has to wait until I arrive in Chicago to announce she is getting out.

To the uninformed, it looks like I drove her out.

That hurts Oprah.  That really hurts.

I have to admit that while the conference was excellent, Oprah’s little announcement put a damper on the whole weekend.

I found myself getting angry as I walked the streets of Chicago.

Then I realized I wasn’t upset with Oprah.  She has her life.  I have mine.

Even though we don’t always agree, I think it’s important that we continue to support each other (after all… we both do it for the kids…).

Who am I to say that she shouldn’t move for a job.  Tough times mean tough decisions.  Like all of us, poor Oprah has bills to pay (by poor… I don’t mean poor).

My anger was actually coming from the fact that people don’t know how to walk down the street.

Where has common courtesy gone?

Large groups of idiots would stop directly in the middle of a sidewalk.  Right smack in the middle of a pedestrian walkway on Michigan Avenue.

Why did they stop?  Who knows.  I’m guessing inbreeding, but don’t quote me on that.

I’ve had it with people who seem oblivious to the rest of society and what is going on around them.

So I’m here to ask for your permission…the permission of well-educated, hard-working PrincipalsPage.com readers.

I need permission to carry a large snow shovel around  so I can smack people in the face when they become a bother to the rest of us (mostly when they bug me… if they bother you it doesn’t really effect me).

No questions asked.  No legal liability.  No second-guessing.

Just me, smacking people upside the head to make the world a better place (not my idea… I have to give credit to Mr. Tony on my favorite podcasted radio show).

I’m going to start with people who stop short on busy sidewalks.

In the future, the snow shovel may come into play with people who text while driving, anyone who honks .05 seconds after a stoplight turns green, smokers, loud talkers in movie theaters, people who burn leaves when their city prohibits it, and weathermen.

I’m also going to need permission to add to my list as I see fit.

Thank you for listening.

If you need me I will be in the garage looking for my snow shovel and wondering how my relationship went so wrong, so quickly with Oprah.

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Fired.


When The Suits say it’s not you, it’s them.  It’s you.

I’ve been fired.  Axed.  Booted.  Canned.  Discharged.  Dropped.  Given my marching orders.  Received a pink slip.  Handed my walking papers.  Let go.  Sacked.  And officially terminated.

This pleases me (it was time… and I have something to blog about).

Several months ago, I was contacted my an educational magazine (that I’d never heard of… but I don’t get out much) to see if I would be interested in having my blog posted once a week on their website.You Represents Me.

After little or no thought, I said yes.

That was a mistake.

I was lured in by the prospect of no-fame and no-fortune.  I forgot the fundamental thing that makes blogging interesting.

I can write whatever I want (within certain moral guidelines and my day job expectations) and post it within seconds.  And much to my surprise people occasionally read it (this is the part I will never understand).

It’s that simple.

No editors.  No publishers.  No Suits.

I answer to no one (other than the PrincipalsPage lawyers).

If I find the subject matter interesting or funny, I blog about it.  No deadlines.  No pack of Suits sitting around a conference table deciding if a topic qualifies as magazine worthy.

Just me and Larry the Laptop.

Now, I understand that’s both good and bad.

It hurts me to say this, but sometimes I’m not as interesting as I think I am.  But that’s okay because it’s all part of blogging (they can’t all be winners).

To be honest, I should have jumped ship about a month ago, but I made a mistake.  I didn’t trust my gut feeling.

If there is a lesson to be learned, it’s always trust those feelings.  They’re almost never wrong.

Why we don’t follow these feelings 100% of the time I will never now.  Even in the heat of the moment, we tell ourselves to follow our gut and yet we still don’t.

That’s what I did.  And now I am magazineless (and I had a chance to be the dumper instead of the one getting dumped… and now I’ve forever lost the power of the pre-emptive break-up).

A few weeks ago the young lady who “hired” me left for a new job.

My immediate reaction was “Ruh-roh!” (we have been watching a lot of Scooby Doo at my house).

I don’t have a lot of experience with corporate America, but I know when the person who brings you in leaves, you may well be next on the chopping block.

And I was.

I’m not sure the new Suits understood what the blog is about.

Which is nothing.

That’s got to be a hard concept for simple Suits to understand.  The blog is about education, school administrators, and nothing.

It’s not high-concept or low-concept.  It’s no concept.

Maybe they just wanted to go “in a different direction.”  Which is of course code for “your blog stinks.”

Actually the official “Your Dead to Us Email” was nicely worded.  It said, “Unfortunately, we will not be able to continue publishing posts for PrincipalsPage the Blog”. 

I was getting fired. 

Actually that’s not true.  I was fired.

What’s worse is they paid me little to nothing for the blogs.  Yes, that’s right… I got fired from volunteer work (how bad do you have to be when The Suits decide you’re not even worth zero??).

What a special moment in a blogger’s life.  If I had emotions (don’t forget I’m a dead on the inside school administrator), I might have cried.

The worst part is they didn’t even replace me with another blogger.

I’ve been replaced by a “Jobs” section.

Buddy the Dog references have been given away to an Assistant Superintendent Opening in Windham.  I’m not going to lie, that hurts.

Not for me so much, but Buddy.  He has feelings after all.

The good news is this isn’t the first time I’ve been fired (wait a second… that may not be good news).

What I’ve discovered through these slightly tragic moments (more on these later in the PrincipalsPage Book I don’t have coming out) in my career is things always work out for the best.

Getting fired only hurts for a second, especially when you realize it’s an opportunity.

One door being slammed in your face generally leads to another one opening (usually a better, much larger door).

That’s what I’m hoping for in this case.  Maybe a larger publication I’ve never heard of will hire me to blog about nothing (or maybe I can direct a movie… because doesn’t everyone eventually want to direct??).

Now I just have to sit around and wait for the next big thing to come along.

And of course comfort Buddy.

He’s taking this really  hard (I am so glad he doesn’t know that at my job I AM the Suit…).

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Maybe It’s Not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. But It Should Be.


It’s that time of year.

The honeymoon is over.

The fat lady hasn’t sung, but she is warming up (is this an insult to fat or skinny people??).

If you work at a school it’s very likely that your patience is getting shorter, shorter, and/or gone.

We’re a long way away from the happiness the beginning of school brings and an even longer way from the next sweet sweet summer vacation.

It’s too early to start the year-end countdown (although I’m willing to bet each and every reader can name the person in their school that will start the countdown… usually by January 1) and it’s too late to remember how restful last summer was.Do You Ever Feel Like You're Getting Buried.

Each year fall arrives and brings a special feeling I like to call “I’ve Got to Find a New Job” or “I Hate Everyone Shorter Than 4’10”” or “I Should Have Been a ________________ (fill in your dream occupation here).”

This feeling is so recognizable.

It has an unmistakable look.  A sort of fake smile (or grimace).  There’s also an overall brooding.

This time of year, every school has employees who absolutely hate their job, their class, their school, and anything resembling a child.  It’s like every family has a crazy person (and if you think your family doesn’t… that means it’s you).

In general, teachers are tired.  They are beginning to feel like they are getting buried.

To compound the problem, parents have also had it.

And Principals need a vacation.

Notice I didn’t mention students.  That’s because they aren’t infected with this feeling, but they are carriers.

If the general malaise of the school year isn’t bad enough, we have two major catastrophes headed our way (and I use the word catastrophe in the best possible way).

The holidays and testing.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and Festivus (and any other holidays you may or may not celebrate) ruin November and December (I use ruin in the nicest way possible).

Actually the holidays aren’t so bad, but the music stinks (I hate those holiday songs… every last one of them).

Testing gives us all a giant noogie around March and April (I use giant noogie instead of a kick in the …).

These events (and 20 more just like them) are exhausting.

There is no other way to say it… working in education is flat-out tiring.

People who have regular jobs don’t understand this.  They get less time off than we do, so it’s hard to relate to our working conditions.

Educating students is draining.

That being said, I think we can often be our own worst enemy.  It’s easy to fall into the trap where we think our jobs are harder and more stressful than any other profession.

They aren’t.

Being an educator is hard.  It’s just not that hard.

Lawyers, doctors, trash collectors, waitresses, construction workers, welders and everyone else (if they are lucky enough to be employed in this day and age) also have difficult jobs.

It’s not just us.

It’s not just our class.

It’s not just our school.

It’s not just this year’s parents.

Shockingly, it’s not even the administrators (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

All jobs, when done correctly are difficult, time-consuming and tiring.

Teaching (or anything in education) is no different.

I don’t think we are wrong in pointing out the challenges we face.  I just think we are wrong when we throw ourselves a pity party.

Maybe this year’s class is more difficult than usual.

Maybe they don’t listen or aren’t as respectful as they should be.  Our job(s) is to make them better.  At least a little better before we send them on to their next grade level (if we send them on… and if they are really bad… they are so getting sent on…).

Administrators face some of the same challenges.  Maybe our employees aren’t all perfect.  Our job is to help them improve.

If it was easy, everybody would go into education.

And we don’t want that.

Because if that happens, they just might figure out how good we really have it.

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The Weather is Too Nice to Blog.


I’m taking the day off from blogging.  Laying (lying… whatever) low.  Going incognito if you will.

It’s the weekend and I deserve some time off (plus my garage is a mess and Buddy is starting to complain about his unsanitary living conditions).I Don't Cantore Would Wear a Stocking Cap in San Diego.  But I Can Hope.

At least for today, no sitting at Larry the Laptop and trying to blog about something amusing and/or entertaining (often failing miserably, but you have to admire my effort).

Where I live the weather is perfect.  Sunshine, no wind, and 72 degrees.  In my part of the world, that’s pretty good for early November.  Actually, that’s pretty good wherever you live.

Ok who am I kidding?  This type of weather has only happened twice in this part of the US…and one of those times I missed it because I was on vacation!  Undoubtedly, I was sitting somewhere really HOT watching the Weather Channel only to find out it was perfect weather where I live.  I HATE THAT!

Of course, if you are reading this in San Diego you probably don’t understand why this is a big deal.

Of course, if you are in San Diego please realize the rest of us hate you.

Why my anger towards San Diegans?

Because I watch the Weather Channel for 2 reasons.

One, to see if my state is going to get hammered by some sort of once every 100 years weather event.  And two, to see what other part of the country is going to get hammered (if the map is dark purple over your town… that’s not good).

San Diego never comes up in these reports.

Not once have I seen Jim Cantore (maybe I have a man crush… maybe I don’t) standing on a pier in San Diego wearing a free Weather Channel parka about to get blown 40 miles into the ocean. 

To review, if you live within 100 miles of San Diego, I hate you because you never feel weather suffering (or I am extremely jealous… I get these two confused).

This brings me back to no blogging.

I have the garage to deal with.  The Weather Channel to watch (have to see who is about to get crushed!!).

I also need to mow my yard for the last time (this is the 4th time I’ve mowed it for the last time… what’s a guy have to do to get a good hard frost???).

Buddy the Dog also needs a bath.  He’s not that dirty, but I live in fear that his next cleaning could be his last until mid-June.

He is going to be one ripe beagle after playing in the snow for the next 4 months (and I also anticipate… quite tired).

Normally, I try to blog at least 3 times a week.

This is my tried and true method of getting readers.  It’s a little something I like to call “Quantity over Quality.”

3 a week equals roughly 10-12 a month.  My odds of getting one “not terrible” entry is pretty good.

Today, under normal circumstances, I would have slopped together something about one of the following:  Swine Flu (ready made for sarcasm), the ever increasing unemployment rate (I thought when I voted for you Mr. President this was supposed to go down…), the impending financial crises of 2010 in education (always a ton of laughs in this material), or maybe the Health Care Bill (what could possibly go wrong with a trillion dollar program when the government is in charge???).

But not today.

No blog.

No sarcasm.

Just chores (but at least the sun is shining).

So if you stopped by to read something educationally related or borderline humorous, I apologize.

Maybe next time.

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Sick Day. Work Day. Sick Day.


My Evil Spawn missed 3 days of school this week. Thermometers Have Come a Long Way.

Much to our surprise she wasn’t suspended.  Just sick. 

Maybe the suspension will come later.  Or maybe she will just be incredibly sneaky and not get caught.  Either way, any chance of her having perfect attendance is gone.

Someone will undoubtedly email me to let me know that I’m way too negative when I blog about my Evil Spawn/daughter (odds are the email will be long, angry, hate-filled, use abusive language, and question my ability to parent… and it’s 50/50 that it will be from her mother).

I’m not negative.  I’m a realist.

While she is a very good little girl (even though she thinks she’s 37 and my boss), there is no doubt in my mind that she will have some ups and downs as she makes her way through what will no doubt be several school systems (some she may leave… some she may be asked to leave…).

I’m the exact opposite of those parents who think their kids will never do anything wrong.

My job is not to make excuses for her.  It’s to help prepare her to deal with the mistakes (and trust me, they are coming… between the ages of 12-18… in bunches).

At least for this week, no suspension.  Just sick.

Much to our surprise she didn’t have the Swine Flu.  Not that we would know because we are way too cheap to shell out the cash to have her tested for H1N1.

So we just decided it wasn’t the Pig Disease (really no different than people deciding they have it…).

She had a sore throat, headache, high temperature, and was really lazy.  Although it’s hard to tell if the lazy thing was part of the illness or just regular behavior.

Since she didn’t feel well, it meant one of us had to stay with her.  Evidently, the government has some sort of rule that says little girls can’t stay at home by themselves and watch 72 straight hours of Nickelodeon unless they are accompanied by an adult.

This makes no sense to me, but neither did all of the financial bailouts.

We have a system at our house in which we take turns staying home on the spawn’s sick days.

Since I lost the coin flip, I got days 1 and 3.  My wife got day 2.

I learned a lot during my 48 hour stretch in sick prison.

One Regis Philbin has dyed his hair a disturbing color of dark brown.  This would have been appropriate about 60 years ago (when he was 18).

Secondly, thermometers have come a long way.  I had no idea the ones with batteries were so easy to us.

When I was a kid, my mom stuck a cold glass tube that was filled with mercury in my mouth.  I then had to hold it under my tongue (while gagging) for 37 straight minutes.

That’s if I was lucky.

If I wasn’t lucky she stuck it someplace besides my mouth.

I would blog about these incidents, but I’ve done my best to suppress most of those memories.

In today’s world of technology, kids can take their own temperature.  Which mine did about every 8 minutes (during each and every commercial break).

While her temperature went up and down, she wasn’t sick sick.  I was very thankful for that.

I want to be a good dad, but I’m not overly interested in the throwing up process.

Evil Spawn calls this “spilling”.

The very first time she got sick (at the age of 2… or 7… if you need to know the exact time line you will have to ask her mom… I’m just the dad), she was so apologetic for “spilling” and making a mess on the floor.

And on her pajamas.

And the couch.

And the windows.

And the ceiling.

You have probably figured out why I’m not a big fan of the “sick” sick.

The third and last thing I learned was even when you aren’t at work, you are still at work.

While technology has made thermometers better, it hasn’t improved some other parts of my life.  Like making things simpler.  I thought the ability to access information, email, and be in constant contact was supposed to help.

It doesn’t.

A sick day used to mean I was totally cut off from the world for a day (or in this case, two days).

There was something peaceful about that.  It made you slow down.  And rest. 

And enjoy the Price is Right uninterrupted.

It today’s world, you just keep going.

And going.

And going.

It’s almost like there isn’t time to be sick.

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Student Teaching: “You’ll Be Fine, I’ll Be in the Lounge.”


I’ve almost hit the mid-point of my career in education.  At least I hope it’s the mid-point.

It could be nearing the end, but time will tell (as always, if you hear anything let me know… resumes don’t update themselves).

A few days ago it occurred to me it’s been over 15 years since I student taught.

To a young person that probably seems like forever.Teacher's Lounge.

But not to me.  It seems like it was only yesterday.  Then I look in the mirror and realize it wasn’t.

My path towards teaching wasn’t a straight one.  I had a couple of careers (i.e. jobs) before I stumbled upon my love of teaching (i.e. summers off).

As I look back it was a big step to return to college and obtain a teaching certificate.

I found the class work easy compared to my first trip through higher education (i.e. no longer a complete idiot).

After two semesters it was time to student teach.

I can distinctly remember filing out the form to apply.  They gave you a choice of 3 geographic areas.  You had to rank them in the order of preference and then they placed you in a school district.

My choices: anywhere but a large school, anywhere but a large school, and anywhere but a large school (in no particular order… after all, I didn’t want to be demanding or high maintenance).

As I awaited for my student teaching assignment, I must admit I was a little nervous.

By a little, I mean a lot.

I was hoping (and praying) for a small school.

You can probably guess where they put me.

A large school.

It was 5 times bigger than the one I attended as a student.  So naturally, I assumed I would be stabbed.

This provided me with a bit of nervousness as I reported to work on my first day.

My student teacher coordinator was old school, so I knew he wouldn’t be happy if I bled out in the middle of the hallway (that would have caused him to do a ton of paperwork).

Basically, I was scared to death.  It was a combination of teaching, a large school, and getting shanked while writing on the chalkboard (yes, chalkboard… I told you it was over a decade and a half ago).

I was absolutely positive that getting stabbed with a homemade knife was not a good way to begin (or end) my career.

As I arrived in my new cell block, I mean classroom, the teacher with whom I was working was very excited.

He said he loved having student teachers.

He was almost giddy.

I assumed he was excited because he loved sharing his knowledge.

Nope.

He was excited because his workload was about to decrease by 100%.

The first thing he did was give me a tour of the classroom.  He did this while sitting at his desk with his feet up.

He showed me the plan book, grade book, and the phone.  He said to call the Assistant Principal if I had any trouble (i.e. knife wound).

Then he said he would teach 1st hour so I could get the feel of the class.  This should have been a clue, but I didn’t pick up on it because I was too busy trying not to cry.

I sat in the back of the room as he taught.  Everything went pretty well.  The students were relatively well-behaved and no one died, so I had that going for me.

He even had me participate by handing out papers and explaining the students’ homework for the following day.

The bell rang at the end of the period and he called me up to the front of the room.

He handed me the plan book and said, “You are going to be fine.  If you need anything, I’ll be in the lounge.”

Call me crazy, but I sensed a problem.

One, I had no idea what I was doing.  Two, I had no idea where the lounge was located.  And three, I didn’t want to die alone.

Then he walked out of the classroom.

That was it.

I had been in his room for less than an hour and he was leaving (for good… I only saw him a few times after that).

I was on my own. 

Now I was beyond nervous.

Petrified was more like it.

As I look back it was a challenging way to learn how to teach (The Thrown to the Wolves and Pray You Don’t Get Killed Method), but I survived and learned a lot (and didn’t die… which pleased me greatly). 

My cooperating teacher retired from the profession a couple of years later, so that was a good thing.

I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to experience student teaching in the way I did, but I’m glad I did.

By the second day, I was no longer focused on being in a large school or dreading getting stabbed because I had other things to worry about.

Like teaching.

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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.