Adopt a Student.


Don't You Just Want to Take Him Home?

There’s one in every school.

Who am I kidding, there’s one in every class.

Sometimes several in each class.

You know them.

That kid.

The one you think “If only I could take that kid home, he (or she) would have a chance.”

They come in all shapes and sizes.

Some are smart. 

Some not so much.

Some are jumpy (who am I kidding… most are jumpy).

Some are disadvantaged (who am I kidding… most are disadvantaged in one way or another).

But they all have “it” (I have no idea what “it” is but I know it when I see it).

Maybe they have a million dollar smile.  Or a personality that lights up the classroom.

Maybe their grades are better or worse than expected.

No matter what they are, they’re all missing something.

That’s why they’re “that kid”.

And I’m willing to bet you have one.

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Where Good Ideas Come From.


I can relate to this video because I’m king of half an idea.

 

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I Hate Copiers.


Am I the only one who has an intense loathing for copying machines?

Why is it every single time I use one it’s out of paper?

How is it I’m the only person in America who is refilling these machines?

Surely, somewhere a copier runs out of paper and someone steps up and reloads it with a couple of reams of paper.

It’s mathematically impossible that I’m the only one doing this.

But it happens.Copier Down.  Big Surprise.

Day after day.

Week after week.

It’s my version of Groundhog Day (an underrated film by the way).

I’ve even tried to wait these dastardly machines out.

I stand off to the side until some poor soul comes along and actually refills it.

And you know what happens when I go to use it a mere seconds after they’re finished?

Out of paper.

Every time.

It never fails.

These machines hate me.

I’m a college graduate and yet I’m clueless how to undo a paper jam in a copier (to make me feel worse, they even provide a map).

Don’t even get me started on what happens when you need to make one copy right before an important meeting.

One.

Just one.

A single copy.

Machine is broke.

There is always a handwritten sign taped to the top of the machine that says “Out of Order”.

Which really means “The copier knew you were coming and it went on vacation because it thinks you are a gigantic loser”.

But luckily for me, I only need one copy for a meeting starting in 30 seconds.

And the repair guy is coming.

In four days.

As humans we invented them to make our lives easier.

And yet the only thing they do is mock me.

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Best Friends.


I Miss Her.

What does Buddy the Dog do when his best friend stays all night with her best friend.

He waits.

And waits.

And waits.

And then gets in trouble for getting up on her bed (and for unmaking it).

And then he waits some more.

Someone’s heart is going to be broken when someone else goes away to college.

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Cursing is Wrong? I Wish Someone Had Told Me.


I knew when we bought the Evil Spawn there would be some new responsibilities as parents (I like to think of her as an investment in my future… which means free-housing when I’m old and senile… or older and more senile).

I anticipated doing things I wouldn’t necessarily love.

Like watching soccer games.

Keeping the Santa thing quiet.I Always Feel Better After Letting It Out.

Attending school open houses and feeling awkward (me, not her).

Arguments about not buying her a cell phone until she can vote.

Paying for college (college… from my mouth to God’s ears!!!).

Listening to her bedroom door slam for no apparent reason.

Listening to her and her loser friends sing every generic Top 40 song that comes on the car radio (how do they remember all the words???).

Wondering why she can’t tell the difference between a dresser drawer and the floor of her bedroom (one has handles and one is made of carpet… it’s not that hard).

The usual parent-kid stuff.

What I didn’t anticipate was the child to which I gave birth (yes, it wasn’t all her mother) would become the official Judge and Jury on my language.

This is an issue in which the Evil Spawn and I just don’t see eye to eye.

I’m pro-cursing.

She’s anti-cursing.

I blame her babysitter for steering her down the path of righteousness (when the spawn was 4 she was told stupid and crap were bad words… which I think is a bunch of Stupid Crap).

Don’t get me wrong, my language isn’t terrible.

It’s also not good.

Every once in awhile I need a word that is a bit stronger than my day-to-day selection (it’s a free country after all… except in the school hallway).

I really only curse at two things.  Myself and machines.

And in my defense, I usually do it under my breath (at least in my head it’s under my breath).

How am I supposed to go through life doing stupid stuff without cursing?

Occasionally a man stubs his toe, drops a plate, or misses a 2 foot putt to lose $20 dollars on the golf course (most if not all of these have happened in the last 48 hours… as far as you know).

I don’t think cursing at myself can be held against me.

The only other time I curse is when machines don’t work.  A mower, bicycle, laptop, iPad, toilet, and my car have all got a good tongue lashing in the last few weeks.

If I don’t put my machines in their places, how will they know I’m in charge?

There has to be a pecking order or else we are looking at mayhem.

But the Evil Spawn is having none of this.

She has a strict No Cursing Policy in what used to be my house (now it’s hers… and Buddy’s).

Every time I say something she considers inappropriate (see:  stupid, crap, butt, or anything that has a question mark or asterisk in it…), she stands in front of me with her mouth dropped to the floor (just like the clothes/towels in her room) and points at me like I just drop kicked a kitten.

I feel horrible.

Not because she’s disappointed in me.

Because I can’t enjoy a good curse word (or paragraph).

Before I reproduced, I wish someone would have told me about the “No Cursing Rule”.

Evidently, when you bring a child into your home, you have to abide by their rules.

The whole concept makes me so !@#$%* mad!

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Teacher Burnout. And Yet, They Still Keep Going to Work.


I give up.

I’m done discussing tenure (arguing… whatever…).

If you have a blog that revolves around education (and as luck would have it… I do) there’s one surefire way to get more readers (and angry emails).

Write about tenure (actually, there’s a second more powerful way… write about homeschooling, but I’m not going there… at least right now).

Tenure is blog gold.She Doesn't Look Burnt Out.

Writing about it is probably not worth the death threats, but luckily for me I have security (Buddy the Dog).

I’ve come to understand people who have tenure love it. 

I mean LOVE it.  Love, love, love it.

Absolutely love it.

Did I mention they love it (like Buddy loves to nap).

And what’s not to love.

You have a job.  You get to keep the job.

Forever.

And as most of you know, that’s a very long time (if you don’t believe me, Google it).

Tenure is a pretty good deal if you can get it.

Then there are the others.

People who don’t have tenure in their careers think it’s impractical and unfair.

They aren’t familiar with our world (hallways, spitballs, junior high goofiness, etc.)

The concept of educators having lifelong jobs is foreign to them.

They believe tenure should only be for Supreme Court Justices.

But that’s okay.  It wouldn’t be much of an argument if everyone agreed (and I do hate it when I want to argue and no one will join me).

No matter which side of the tenure argument you fall on, I know one thing for sure.  I’m not changing anybody’s mind.

So I’ve given up.

But I would like to ask for one exception.

If you publicly announce you’re “Burnt Out” this statement should lead to an automatic recall of your tenure rights (to clarify “publicly” can be in person, on Facebook, or over the phone).

No exceptions.

My theory is once someone says this out loud there is no going back.

If  a person establishes they are “Burnt Out” they can’t come back (at least in the same career).

So if you are in your 1st year of teaching or 30th year and the “Burnt Out” bug hits you, you’re done.

No tenure.

No job.

No nothing (except your pension and maybe parting gifts, but that’s it).

Because teaching is kind of important and once the passion has left you, so should tenure (maybe I will win this discussion… argument… whatever… but I’m not going to hold my breath).

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Over 40. Overrated.


 

One of the continuing themes of this blog is I’m old.

I get it.

My back gets it.

My hearing (or lack of) gets it.

My eyesight (what’s left… especially at night) gets it.

If I didn’t understand, I would still have plenty of time to think about it on the days I wake up (for no apparent reason) at 4:30 am.

If you aren’t familiar with the Over 40 Challenges, let me explain.I'm Blind.  And Old.  And I'm Okay With It.  At Least That's What I Tell Myself.

Before your 40th birthday your body works.  You can count on it.  Very few aches and pains.  You sleep well.  Your vision and hearing are sharp.

You can run.  And jump.  You can walk without fear the next step off a curb will almost certainly result in a broken hip.

On the day you “celebrate” your 40th birthday this all changes.

Not the day before.  Not the day after.  On the exact day, 40 years after you were born, your body start to mummify.

Basically, you start dying.

And sadly, not a quick death.

A slow, painful one.

Activities you used to take for granted now require at least 20 minutes of stretching before you begin (yes, EVERY activity).

If you are younger than 40 years old, this blog will seem like the dithering thoughts of an old man.

Trust me, I speak the truth.

Old people used to try and convince me of what life would be like after 40, but I didn’t listen.

I thought they were fools.

All of their talk about watching what they ate so they didn’t gain 12 pounds after eating a cookie, falling asleep in front of the TV three minutes after a show starts, and being in constant pain because they sneezed the day before.

In my mind, they were weak.

After the age of 40, even the simplest activity is complicated.

Tying your shoes can cause back spasm.  Mowing the yard is an invitation to visit the chiropractor.

Playing any game may result in missing work for up to six weeks.

Basketball.  Tag.  Monopoly.  Petting the dog.  They all put your health at risk.

I’ve come to grips with the idea… I’m old.

I’m okay with the fact the next 40 years of my life aren’t going to be pretty.

Luckily for me I will be asleep for part of this.  And when I’m not, I won’t be able to see or hear much of what’s going on around me.

But this doesn’t mean I need other people pointing out the fact I’m not as young as I used to be.

Or want to be.

This is why I dread going to the optometrist.

And it’s not because I’m blind.  I’ve been blind since the 4th grade, so this comes as no surprise to me.

Every year I get my eyes checked and since I turned 40 it’s the same song and dance.

I’m on year 3 of them looking at my file and the doctor always has the same reaction.

The head shake.

The “this doesn’t look good” head shake.

The “this doesn’t look good” head shake followed by a sigh.

The “this doesn’t look good” head shake followed by a sigh then me screaming “What!!!”

Same story different year.

The doctor always says “Now that your over 40, we may be looking at bifocals.”

Excuse me?

We?

I’m pretty sure the doctor is looking at MY file, not OUR file.

Young punk.

He has no idea what he’s getting for his 40th birthday.

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I Have Nothing to Blog About.


I’ve got nothing.nothing

No ideas.

No stories.

No wacky misunderstandings.

Nothing.

Not a blog in sight.

It’s going to be a long school year unless the excitement level picks up (and truthfully, quiet is kind of nice… and why do I get the feeling I just jinxed myself).

So for this blog I’m going with Plan B.

Actually, I don’t have a Plan B.

Well, on to Plan C.

Blogging 101.

Since I’m constantly (ok… occasionally) asked how I come up with topics for entertaining blogs (like I know), I will share my ideas in this blog.

Plus, since the Evil Spawn is attempting to root into the family business, there’s no better time to talk about blogging.

 

1.  If you want to be rich or famous, don’t start a blog.  Reality show, maybe.  Blog, no.

If you decide to take that first blogging step, don’t expect anyone to read it. 

At least for a while. 

It takes a few hundred entries before people might notice you have a blog.  The key here is “might notice.”

The truth is they probably won’t.

 

2.  Pick a niche and stick with it.  Mine is school administrators with anger issues who like technology, kids, and Buddy the Dog. 

This one’s all mine.

Find your own.

The interweb isn’t big enough for both of us.

 

3.  Don’t steal from other bloggers. 

Especially me.

Come up with your own mediocre ideas.

This is why I don’t read blogs.  I want to make sure my junk is all mine.

 

4. You have to blog consistently. 

Not monthly.  Not whenever.  Consistently.

It’s like having a second job.  One you can do in your underwear.

If you go more than 5 days without posting a blog, you aren’t a blogger. 

You’re a slacker.

If you actually blog in your underwear, you’re just creepy.

If you blog without underwear… well, I’m not even going there.

 

5.  Ignore advice from other bloggers about how to blog.

We have no idea what we’re talking about (especially me).  If we write a blog about blogging it just means we have nothing else to do (what does a guy have to do to witness a wacky situation where someone throws up in the hallway???).

Just blog about things that pique your interest.

If you think it’s interesting, there are people out there who will agree.

If you think it’s funny, turns out there are others who have the same morbid sense of humor (thank goodness…).

If you are angry about it, I can promise you’re not the only one (ex:  Fox News).

 

Don’t make it complicated.

It’s not brain surgery.

It’s blogging.

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My Daughter’s Teacher and My Wife.


The Evil Spawn has finally arrived in 4th grade. 

It’s her Senior year of elementary school.

Things are about to get “very interesting” (my first and only Arte Johnson reference).

When parents think about his or her child’s class, they have a tendency to focus on the teacher (when I think they should focus on the group of kids… far more important… but that’s another blog).

Everyone wants the “right” teacher.It's Going to Be a Looooong Night.

Some families want the nice teacher.

Some want the mean teacher.

Some want the teacher who loves technology.

Some want the teacher who puts on skits that the parents get to take off work so they can attend (ugh).

Some want the teacher older siblings had.

Me?  I always hope the Evil Spawn is promoted to the next grade so she gets a new teacher.

This year, I got lucky.

The Spawn got promoted!  I don’t mean to brag, but that’s 5 years in a row!  The streak continues!

That’s the good news.

The bad news is she has been placed in my wife’s class.

Yes, the Tech Queen and the Evil Spawn are combining forces.

This can’t be good.  For me.

It’s a lot of pressure to have your kid in your spouse’s class.

My wife is about to find out what I’ve always known.

The Evil Spawn is made up of half of me.

Not good.

Not good at all.

The quips.  The sarcasm.  The constant references to “comedy gold”.

This isn’t going to end well.

My wife is going to see what I’ve created.

It’s going to make for one long Parent-Teacher Conference.

I could be a failure as a father and a husband… all within 20 minutes (which would break my old record by 14 seconds).

I will no doubt spend the entire meeting sweating, looking at my watch, and cursing the day my daughter didn’t get held back.

As if things couldn’t get worse, my wife has her whole class blogging.  Now a bunch of 9 year olds are trying to root themselves into my line of work.  Double ugh.  Click HERE to read the future.

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300 Subscribers. I Owe Somebody an Apology.


Sad really.

The PrincipalsPage.com Blog now has over 300 email subscribers.

This means each time I post a half-thought out incoherent barely readable blog, over three hundred people receive it in their inboxes.

My assumption is 296 of them can’t hit delete fast enough.

And I’m okay with that.

When I got my first subscriber (back in the late 1960’s), I was moved to tears (not really, I’m a school administrator … we have no feelings because we are pretty much dead inside).

When the number reached 100, I assumed a rather large group of total strangers secretly got together to pull a cruel (and quite funny) practical joke on me.

At 200, I figured most of my readers were spammers and/or prison inmates (Shout Out to Cell Block 17!!!).

Now at 300, I’m starting to feel a sense of regret.Thanks.

I feel like I should apologize.

Apologize for wasting everybody’s time.

Way too many people read this blog (18,315 unique visitors last month… not that I’m counting).

How many precious hours have been wasted by superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, tech people, and prisoners reading this junk?

It’s quite obvious (to me at least) that I have nothing intelligent to say.

The Evil Spawn is evil.

Buddy the Dog is lazy.

I’m not fit to be married, raise a child, run a school, or own a pet.

Old people don’t like change.

Schools need to implement more technology.

We get it.

Enough already.

Shouldn’t people have something better to do with their time than read this drivel?

Shouldn’t they be working to make education better for kids?

Shouldn’t they be selling illegal contraband to inmates in the next cell?

It’s quite possible I’m making the world a worse place in which to live because my followers are not being productive when they read this blog.

So if you are a subscriber or a visitor, thank you.

And I’m sorry.

I promise to stop.

If you promise to stop reading and get back to work.

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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.