What Do You Do For Kids After 3:30?

You can learn so many things in a school hallway.apple-question-mark-300x272

What’s happening in school.  What’s happening out of school.  Who’s dating whom.  Who just broke up with whom by text (welcome to what I consider an extremely bleak and odd future).

If you listen closely between classes, you could probably learn the true identity of D.B. Cooper (kids are smarter than you think).

Of course, most of the stuff I overhear from kids makes me say “Huh?”.

Which is a whole lot better than the things I overhear that make me say “Eww.”

The key is to listen, but not listen too closely (How to Be a School Administrator 101).

Once in a while, I feel like my time in the hallway is extra productive.

These are the times when I gain real tidbits of knowledge.

It could be from a student or a teacher.  But there are definitely things said that make me smarter.

Some might argue this isn’t too difficult.

I would tend to agree.

One day in the not so distant past, I asked a coach if he was actually a teacher during the day, or simply a coach waiting for his next game to begin.

Without hesitating, he said he was a teacher who coaches, not a coach who teaches.

I thought that was a great answer.  Especially, since he didn’t hesitate (plus, he seemed a little annoyed… which is a good sign).

Then he said something that made me smarter.

He said “Instead of asking about what I do during the day, maybe you should be asking what other teachers do after 3:30 to make kids better.”

Coaches commit hours to students after school and on weekends (as do other teachers).

He made a good point.

It’s not good enough that we just give our best during the school day.

The teaching profession is becoming more and more of a 24 hour a day job.

Whether we like it or not, we have to do more for students to help them be successful.

Which means,  all of us have to not only give our best during the school day, but also after 3:30.

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Principal Leadership Magazine. I Have a Column.


Someone thinks I’m qualified to write a monthly column for school administrators (is it a column or a blurb?).

I wonder if they know what they’re doing (don’t answer that).

But, who am I to question the suits in their big fancy offices out East.

Check out the magazine.

Better yet, check out the digital version.

I’m on page 6.

At least for this month.

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The Evil Spawn Calls Me Names at School.

The Evil Spawn and I are sharing the same hallways for the first time in history.

Maybe it’s not a historical event, but it is an event (at least in our house).DadD_2

This experience has been interesting to say the least.

Turns out sweaty junior high kids smell bad in every school district.  I had no idea.

I am particularly disgusted when the sweatiest kid in school stands in front of a fan in what I think is an attempt to make the entire school smell like a giant armpit.

For the record, I’m not saying this kid is related to me… but I’m not saying she isn’t.

I see the Evil one about 47 times per day.

This is nice.

And awkward.


Because she is far more affectionate at school than at home.

It’s weird.

And did I mention awkward?

Lets get this straight once and for all.

I don’t want to be touched.  Or hugged.  Or touched.  Or hugged.

It’s called personal space.

Over the years I’ve never swayed on this issue. 

This is especially true when I’m around sweaty kids.

Even my own.

Rule #1:  Don’t Touch Me.  Rule #2:  See Rule #1.

Another issue that’s reared it’s ugly head is what she should call me.

Pre-sweaty hug, should she address me as Mr.?

Or Dad?

Maybe, Hey You?

There has been some confusion on her part.

She did refer to me as “Tie-Guy”, but that doesn’t seem appropriate.

Last year, when she had her mother as a teacher, she called her “Mom”.  But having her call me “Mom” just seems odd.

Maybe I shouldn’t even worry about this.

After all, I’m sure how she addresses me as a 5th grader will be entirely different than what she calls me when she’s 16


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Beloit College “Internet Class” of 2015.


Our annual blog about the Mindset List.


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

It was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation.


1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.

2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.

3. States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.

4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.

5. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.

6. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.

7. As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.

8. Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.

9. “Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?

10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.

11. More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.

12. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.

13. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.

14. All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”

15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

16. Women have never been too old to have children.

17. Japan has always been importing rice.

18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.

19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.

20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.

21. They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.

22. John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.

23. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.

24. “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.

25. Video games have always had ratings.

26. Chicken soup has always been soul food.

27. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.

28. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.

29. Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.

30. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!

31. Women have always been kissing women on television.

32. Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.

33. Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.

34. They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”

35. The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little whacko.

36. Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.

37. Music has always been available via free downloads.

38. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.

39. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.

40. Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.

41. The United States has always been shedding fur.

42. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.

43. No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.

44. They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.

45. They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.

46. Russian courts have always had juries.

47. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.

48. While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.

49. Public schools have always made space available for advertising.

50. Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.

51. Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.

52. Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.

53. Charter schools have always been an alternative.

54. They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.

55. New kids have always been known as NKOTB.

56. They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?

57. They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.

58. Their parents sort of remember Woolworths as this store that used to be downtown.

59. Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.

60. Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime.

61. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs.

62. Nurses have always been in short supply.

63. They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.

64. Altar girls have never been a big deal.

65. When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.

66. It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.

67. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi Cola.

68. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.

69. They’ve grown up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.

70. They’ve always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.

71. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.

72. Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.

73. McDonalds coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.

74. “PC” has come to mean Personal Computer, not Political Correctness.

75. The New York Times and the Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.

Copyright© 2011 Beloit College

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Dress Code for Sweaty School Administrators.

Come on.  We’ve talked about this.

Have we learned nothing over the course of 530 blog posts?sweat


One more time, then you’re on your own.

If you are a school administrator, it is considered a social faux pas to wear a blue dress shirt before the first Monday in September.


Because it’s Labor Day.

Actually, Labor Day has nothing to do with it.  Labor Day has to do with the deaths of factory workers (not a lot of laughs in this blog…).

My point is when school starts it’s hot.

Really hot.

Like surface of Venus hot (Google it).

It can be 42 degrees the day before school starts and I will guarantee you it will be 112 when the students show up.

In the shade.

It has to be, it’s the law (Google it).

Yet, every year some hotshot young principal shows up at school with his brand new blue dress shirt he just bought at Kohl’s (free plug… so feel free to send me some free stuff).

The shirts are fine.

The color is not.

You cannot stand up in front of several hundred students and preach to them about the consequences of their behavior over the course of the next 9 months and not sweat.

Trust me, I’ve tried.

Your back basically becomes a waterfall.

Which in turn makes your underwear droopy and your socks soggy.

Or so, I hear.

Now think what this does to your brand new precious Kohl’s blue dress shirt (seriously… two free plugs and I’ve got nothing).

So do what I do.

Wear white.

At least until Labor Day.

You’ll still sweat, but at least the rest of us won’t have to see it.

This blog has been brought to you by Right Guard.

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Class of 2015.

They are different than us.

By different, I mean smarter.



33% get dumped by text?  Really?

87% are dropping cable?  Really?

I’m so old.

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Start School. Stop School. Start School. Stop School.

School is about to start.

It just ended.

But now it’s beginning again.

And soon, it will be over (time flies as I age at an unnatural pace).

The longer I’m in this business the more I realize this is a waste.

The amount of hours and effort we put towards opening and closing school borders on insane (crazy like Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann).

This may come as a shock, but I’m a big fan of summer vacation.

Big fan.



Maybe the biggest.

I’ve been this way, since… forever.

As a kid, who doesn’t love summertime?

No homework.  No structure. 

As a teacher, my love grew even stronger.

No homework.  No structure. 

As an administrator, I hate to admit it but I’ve had a falling out with sweet sweet summer.

No homework.  No structure.

I can no longer convince myself students need a long summer vacation (did I just type that?).

I could be talked into convincing myself I need a summer vacation.

But just this once, it’s not about me.

It’s about the kids.

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Summer and Little Girls Both Have an Expiration Date.

Summer is almost over.

By almost, I mean it’s over.asthon_laundry





I guess you get the point.

There are 3 major parts of summer.

The beginning, which everyone looks forward to and loves.

The second part which is July 4th.

And the end of summer, which if you’re in education begins promptly when the last firework falls from the sky.

When the sun rises on July 5th, it’s all over.

Time to get back in school.

No more summer for you.  Come back one year (this would be a random Seinfeld reference… which means I’m really starting to date myself with the kids).

I love summer vacation, but like with so many good things in life, it comes and goes far too quickly.

I’m starting to think The Evil Spawn is sneaking up on her childhood July 4th.

She’s grown up so much in the last year (in sarcasm and height… and I have no idea where she gets either).

It’s quite evident she’s no longer a little girl.

She’s not quite an adult, but you can tell it won’t be long.

There’s less carrying around stuffed animals and more time talking on the phone.

She spends more time outside of the house than inside.

She talks less about today and more about the future.

She’s even taken it upon her self to become more responsible about her chores (I hope I just didn’t jinx this).

All too soon, her mom and I will be seeing her go.

These days, it’s on her bike.  One day, it’s going to be in a car.

Eventually, it will be a plane.

In eight years, she will no longer be ours, but the world’s.

I’m looking forward to the next few years.  The opportunity to watch her go through school is a special one,  but I know from past experiences with other students, the time is going to fly.

Junior high goes fast.  High school is a blur.

As a dad, you might think this would be hard on me.

It isn’t.

All I can do is enjoy the days and weeks as they come.

I find a certain amount of peace in her telling me she doesn’t like boys, will never marry, and plans to live at home while she attends college.

I know it’s not true, but if she can have dreams, so can I.

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Hiring a Teacher to a 35 Year Contract Makes Me Nervous.


As a school administrator I have lots of challenges.

Which tie to wear.

How to keep lunch off my tie.

Getting the stain off my tie after lunch.

It never ends.

Tomorrow is another day and I will need another tie (today’s has something on it). 

And if history tells us anything, it’s very likely I’ll be eating lunch.

It’s a vicious cycle.

But you will be glad to know this isn’t my biggest challenge.

There’s one thing that makes me more nervous than eating spaghetti in the cafeteria wearing a white tie while sitting between two 5th graders with sharp elbows and attention problems.

It’s hiring people.

Any time you have an opening within your staff, it’s an opportunity for your school to get better.

This isn’t to say whoever is leaving the position is bad, but as an administrator, the goal is to find someone who is at least a little better.

Because if you think about it, none of us are looking to take a giant step backward (if you are… you might be in the wrong profession).

But this is where it gets tricky.

Interviewing isn’t a science, it’s an art.

Which is a nice way of saying, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t (feel free to quote me on this).

This isn’t what makes me nervous.  I know I’m not going to hit a home run on every new hire (I think I just invented a baseball analogy).

The mediocre hires don’t worry me as much as the pretty good hires. 

This is because a brand new pretty good teacher may be employed by the district for the next 35 years (a mediocre one hopefully won’t).

35 years.

That’s three and a half decades.

That’s 8.75 Presidents.

Or think of it this way.  In 35 years, I will be 73 (if I’m lucky).

Even more disturbing, 35 years ago it was 1976.  I was in the 4th grade (for the first and only time… as far as you know).

This means a teacher who was hired during my 4th grade year is still teaching.

Meanwhile the world has changed ever so slightly (you’ve probably heard of the internet… since you are on it right now).

But have they?

I would say most have changed, but the ability to be progressive in your career is a hard thing to project in a 30 minute interview.

To sum up, a new teacher who is hired this year could be with the school district for a very long time (check my math… but I’m guessing until approximately 2046).

And that makes me nervous.

Not nervous enough to skip lunch, but nervous.

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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.