PrincipalsPage Thinks This is Funny.


Graduation brings many gifts (the end of school, luggage, and cash to name a few).

The grandest of them all is the fact that I can blog about my experiences with the graduating Senior Class.

As soon as they received their diploma, I’m free (as are they).

Don (if in fact that is Don...).

I’m no longer under any sort of moral contractual agreement not to embarrass them on the world wide web.

Not that they would ever read this drivel, but you never know.

From each class, I learn many lessons.

As I see them grow from snot-nosed kindergarteners to snot-nosed teenagers it is hard not to take something away from our time together.

A recent class (I don’t want to be too specific on the year just in case one of them gets a law degree… or owns a gun) taught me an invaluable lesson during a teacher’s evaluation.

As I watched the teacher work her magic, I noticed one young man paying extra special attention.

His name is Don (not really… the PrincipalsPage Legal Department advised me to change his name… or maybe I’m using his real name just to confuse you…).

He was hanging on every word the teacher said.

Each time a question was asked, his hand quickly went up to answer.

Don(?) seemed disappointed when the teacher called on other students.

This happened about four times before he finally got a chance to participate.

He could hardly contain his excitement.

The answer almost flew right out of his mouth.

Then something odd happened.

He answered the question by going 3rd person.

He said “Don thinks the answer is an adverb.”

Weird.

The answer was correct, but who goes 3rd person right in the middle of class?

Even weirder it was like no one noticed but me.  The teacher and the students never cracked a smile.

No one even acknowledged it.

During the rest of the evaluation this was all I could think about.

High school boy goes 3rd person for no apparent reason in English.

A couple of days later I was walking by this class, so I decided to drop in and get to the bottom of what happened.

I asked the teacher if she had noticed Don going 3rd person during her evaluation.

She said she hadn’t, but by the rest of the class’s laughter I could tell they did (by the way, compliments to them for not making a big deal of it during the evaluation).

So I asked Don (if in fact this is his real name) why he answered the adverb question in 3rd person.

After a long thoughtful and completely respectful pause he said…

…“Don doesn’t know why Don answered in 3rd person".

Fair enough.

The lesson here is don’t go 3rd person.  Ever.

I’m not sure why, just don’t.

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The Power of One.


I know nothing about this organization (or pretty much anything else), but I do like the video.

 

Education is SO important.

And we can’t forget, it’s ONE kid at a time.

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“You’re Still Here? It’s Over, Go Home. Go.”


Ferris Would Never Return.  Never.

The school year is officially over.

Graduation has come and gone.

Seniors have waited their whole lives for this moment.

After 13 long years (long for them, longer for me), they are free.

Free at last!

Thank God, they are free at last! (and thank you, Rev. Martin Luther King).

They are no longer required to attend school.

They are no longer required to roll out of bed 7 minutes before 1st hour begins.

They are no longer required to see their teachers and administrators.

And yet, just when they have their first taste of sweet sweet freedom they get confused.

They forget all of the bad experiences that plagued them during their school years.

The homework.

The discipline.

The rules.

PE.

Dissecting frogs.

The angry over-medicated administrators.

All of the things they hate are quickly forgotten.

Then they do something crazy.

Something unspeakable.

Something so disgusting, I can hardly type out the morbid details.

They do the one thing the swore they would never do.

They show up at school (often quite early).

Just when they think they’re out, they drag themselves back in.

It’s weird, but it happens every year.

Like clockwork.

Their Senior year is over.  They’ve graduated.  They are finished.

And then they return.

It’s odd.

Thank you Ferris Bueller.   Not only for supplying the title of yet another blog, but for one of the 5 greatest movies of all-time.

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Hello, Summer.


Sweet, Sweet Vacation. It’s here.

The quiet sounds of empty hallways and classrooms are music to my ears (silence is golden).

No students.

No teachers.

No bus routes.

No athletic events.

No meetings.

No ties.

No troubles.

Happy Summer Everybody!!!

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Going to a Job Interview? Take This Advice With You.


I’m a little late on this blog.If You're Looking for a Job... Good Luck .

Most administrators (new and old) who are changing jobs have probably already done so by now.

My bad.

If you want, you can sue me (you wouldn’t be the first person to threaten legal action… this year… or today).

In the last couple of months, things have been hectic in the exciting world of education.  Of course, if you work in or near a school you already knew this.

Changing jobs can be a nerve-racking experience (so I’ve been told).

This might be especially true if you like your present position (and there are actual school administrators who like their jobs).

Eventually everyone moves on to bigger and better (unless you’ve been fired… then you may have to move on to smaller and worse).

The lifespan of a school administrator is roughly… not very long.

I don’t have actual statistics (too lazy to Google), so just for the sake of this blog let’s say it’s 3.64 years (I thought if I threw in a decimal it would seem like I actually knew what I’m talking about).

Once you hit this magic number it may be time to move on.

The challenge is where do you go?

What job should you take?

First, you need a school that is willing to hire you.  Personally, this makes me nervous because do I really want to work for a district that would hire me (think about it)?

I think this is where some administrators make a mistake.

Don’t just take a job to take a job.

Don’t get mesmerized by the money, benefits, or the offer of a brand new stapler (which I desperately need by the way).

There is something far simpler that is more important.

You want (and need) a job where you are surrounded by people who have a vested interest in your success.

This may seem kind of basic, but it’s important.

Without this type of support, you are almost certainly doomed to fail.

You may want the new job to go well, but if the people above, below, and around you don’t want it to be a success… it won’t be.

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Graduation Math.


You see… math is important.

The amount of noise made by family members during the ceremony algebra-cartoonis inverse to the amount of success the graduate may experience later in life.

The higher the temperature inside the gymnasium/auditorium increases the length of the graduation ceremony.

The number of programs printed equals the number of programs being used as fans during graduation.

The larger number of graduation party invitations sent out increases the odds of the graduate receiving luggage as gifts.

10% of all graduates wish they could remain in high school.  That number only increases with time.

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Acceptable Behavior.


Once a teacher, always a teacher.

When you teach, you get more than a paycheck.

You get special powers.I'll Give You Something to Cry About.

The most sacred of all of these powers is the ability to correct a child with a “look”.

Any child.

Any time.

Any where.

Restaurants, movie theaters, ballgames, and church are just a few of the places where this gift comes in handy.

If I have to explain this concept (or the “look”), you have never been alone in a classroom of 25+ students (please feel free to replace the word “students” with something more descriptive).

Having the gift also means you have the innate ability to judge others on their parenting skills (I’m not proud of this and I’m not saying it is right… I’m just saying it happens).

The other day I heard a parent say to their child “Your behavior is not acceptable!”

I wanted to say (although you will be proud of me for biting my tongue…) “His behavior is completely acceptable or else he wouldn’t do it.”

And that is teaching and parenting in a sentence.

Most kids do exactly what is expected of them.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

Discipline is the gift that keeps on giving.

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High School Seniors Are Clueless.


The End.

Actually there is more to this blog than just the title, but there doesn’t have to be. 

If you’ve been around the strange animal (“The Senior”), the title is pretty self-explanatory.Good Luck.  You'll Need It.

Seniors don’t have a clue.

About anything.

This is painfully obvious to just about everyone (especially their parents).

Everyone recognizes this fact, but the Seniors.

They think they have it all figured out.

Actually, they know they have it all figured out (if you don’t believe me, just ask them)

The only thing holding them back are those annoying adults.  Those people who surround them with only one purpose…to tell them what to do and how to act.

Who are “those people”? Teachers, administrators, coaches, mom, dad, and every other old person they’ve encountered since they first stepped foot in kindergarten

All of those people with their annoying advice, experience, and perspective.

Constantly trying to warn them about the challenges life has in store for them.  Trying to alert them that the world is about to smack them upside the head (and Seniors… consider yourself lucky if you only get hit in the head…). Trying to tell them life gets more complicated after high school, not less (sad, but true).

Seniors don’t want to hear it.

They don’t want anymore advice.

They don’t want to hear any more stories about how life used to be “in the good old days”. 

Enough with the guidance.

They want out.

Out of high school.  Out of their houses.  Out of the towns they grew up in (no matter how big that town may be… it’s still too small and there’s nothing to do).

They want sweet sweet freedom.

And they want it 6 months ago.

They want to make their own decisions and be in charge of their own destinies.

As we established earlier, they have all the answers.

What they haven’t figured out (yet) is they don’t know any of the questions.

I feel relatively confident speaking about this phenomenon because I was once a Senior.  Man was I stupid (and by stupid, I mean more stupid than now).

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The Dust.


The Evil Spawn is 9 years old (at least today she is 9… when I wake up tomorrow she will be 27).

During this stage of her life, I am required to be somewhere watching her do something at least 3 nights a week.

Different seasons bring different sports.

Every season brings on a case of bleacher butt, but that’s an entirely different blog.The Evil Spawn.  Softball Stud (or Not).

Soccer (ugh), basketball, golf, and softball all have a place on the family calendar.

Sometimes I coach.

Sometimes I get lucky and don’t have to coach.

Summer means softball.

It also means I’m not that lucky.

I’m coaching.

Every practice presents a new challenge.

One night it’s parents.  Another night it might be me spending 30 minutes trying to figure out why half the girls didn’t bring gloves (yet they NEVER forget their pink helmets, pink batting gloves, and pink shoes).

On a bad night I might stand in the outfield and wonder how mosquitoes get as big as cats.

Normally, I just wonder why I agreed to coach.

Coaching little girls must be similar to childbirth.

A few months after the painful parts, your mind goes blank and you forget what a horrific experience it was.

But it’s not all bad.

Once in a while something happens and I’m thankful I was there to see it.

Or hear it.

Like tonight.

I told a young lady to go play first base.

She was so excited.

She pointed and said, “Last year they (coaches) never let me play here!”

I said, “First base?”

“No”, she said, “On the dust.”

“On the dust?”, I responded.

“Yes, here on the dust” as she pointed to the ground.

Then I got it.

She never got to play in the infield.

Or now as it’s known.

The dust.

Coaching is fun.

At least until the next labor pain.

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Times Change, Do You?


Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List.  It’s a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college.

It’s a reminder of how quickly the frame of reference changes for the next generation. Born in 1991?  When Did I Get So Old?

I love the list because it brings together two big concepts from this blog:  change and the fact I’m getting older (and older… and older).

You can see all 12 lists HERE.

 

My favorites from The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2013 (just so you feel worse about yourself… most students entering college for the first time in the fall of 2009 were born in 1991).

1.  For these students, Martha Graham, Pan American Airways, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, The Dallas Times Herald, Gene Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead.

2.  Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian, and Mike Tyson have always been felons.

3.  The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables.

4.  They have never used a card catalog to find a book.

5.  Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister.

6.  Salsa has always outsold ketchup.

7.  Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.

8.  They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives.

9.  Rap music has always been main stream.

10.  The KGB has never officially existed.

11.  Text has always been hyper.

12.  Babies have always had a Social Security Number.

13.  They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer.

14.  American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing.

15.  State abbreviations in addresses have never had periods.

16.  McDonald’s has always been serving Happy Meals in China.

17.  Cable television systems have always offered telephone service and vice versa.

18.  The American health care system has always been in critical condition.

19.  There has always been a Cartoon Network.

20.  They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen.

21.  Women have always outnumbered men in college.

22.  We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time.

23.  Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, and Estonia have always been independent nations.

24.  It’s always been official: President Zachary Taylor did not die of arsenic poisoning.

25.  Ozzy Osbourne has always been coming back.

26.  Kevin Costner has always been Dancing with Wolves, especially on cable.

27.  There have always been flat screen televisions.

28.  Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the Evening News came on.

29.  Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?”

30.  Most communities have always had a mega-church.

31.  The status of gays in the military has always been a topic of political debate.

32.  There has always been a Planet Hollywood.

33.  For one reason or another, California’s future has always been in doubt.

34.  There has always been a computer in the Oval Office.

35.  Two Koreas have always been members of the UN.

36.  Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been outlawed.

37.  The NBC Today Show has always been seen on weekends.

38.  Vice presidents of the United States have always had real power.

39.  Conflict in Northern Ireland has always been slowly winding down.

40.   There has always been blue Jell-O.

 

My frame of reference (1985):

1.  Stamps cost 22 cents.

2.  A gallon of gas was $1.09.

3.  The first mobile phone call was made in the United Kingdom.

4.  President Reagan and Soviet Leader Gorbachev meet for the first time in Switzerland.

5.  Live Aid Concerts in Philadelphia and London raise over 50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia.

6.  Compact Discs were first sold (Night Ranger and Dokken never sounded better).

7.  New Coke was introduced (in retrospect, not the best idea).

8.  Dire Straits… Money for Nothing (and Chicks for Free…).

9.  President Reagan was in charge.  America was cool.

10.  I started college with a plan.  And 25 years later, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

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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.