Once School Administrators Lose This, They Never Get It Back.


We live in a society where everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame.

This can’t be good.Anonymous

We are raising an entire batch of kids who believe fame is more important than accomplishment.

Plus, all of this lust for fame has made for some really bad reality TV (I’m so old, I remember when MTV and VH1 played music).

I never wanted to be famous.

In fact, I can’t recall one second where being famous even crossed my mind.

Maybe, that’s because I was the student who sat in the back of class and repeated the same phrase over and over.

“Please don’t call on me.” 

“Please don’t call on me.” 

“Please don’t call on me.” 

“Please don’t call on me.”

In was my mantra (at least I think it was… I’m not 100% sure what the word mantra means).

Being famous always seemed like a hassle to me.

Who wants to go the grocery store and be recognized?  Actually, who wants to go to the grocery store at all?

I couldn’t imagine going for a jog and having people honk at you (please stop doing this… it never fails to startle me).

Total strangers knowing your name.  That’s just weird.

I wouldn’t mind being rich, but I’ll pass on being famous (maybe this explains my love of the lottery).

But like so many things in life, what you want and what you get are two very different things (as the Evil Spawn says, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!”).

I’m not rich (truth be told… I have a love/hate relationship with the lottery… it’s a complicated mistress).

But I am famous.

Really famous.

Not a bad TV show type of famous.

Or being followed around by paparazzi famous.

I’m more famous in a 3rd graders kind of know my name sort of way (they know I work at school, they’re just not sure what I do).

I have the kind of fame that makes high school kids look at me with shock, horror, and a touch of sadness when they see me out in public wearing jeans (I do have a private life people…).

My particular kind of fame makes me leery of using my real name when I call and order a pizza (you never know if the kid you just suspended might be the same one about to spit in your food).

I’m famous in a way that makes kids toilet paper my house around Halloween (nice job, Buddy the Dog, of sleeping through this little event on Saturday night).

I have the type of fame that always surprises me.

And by always, I mean every single time.

Students and families sometimes recognize me before I recognize them.

In my very small part of the world, I’ve lost my anonymity.  And I must admit I miss it on a certain level.

It’s nice to be known, but it’s also nice to be unknown.

Buddy the Dog is in the preverbal doghouse until he tracks down the menacing 12-year old gang of hoodlums who wrapped my house in 87 rolls of toilet paper while I was at a football game.

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A Bad Day at School is Still a Pretty Good Day.

goodthingsIt’s that time of year where school employees are getting tired.

And cranky.

School is no longer new and exciting.

It can become old and draining.

The holiday breaks are right around the corner, but they can also seem so far away.

Students and the day-to-day pressures have a tendency to wear us out.

It becomes easy to focus on the never-ending almost unattainable challenges of education (am I the only one who feels like this?).

So, I think it’s time we all took a minute and made a list of good things that happen at school.

Because I don’t know about you, but I can always use some good news.

My List

1. Kindergarteners in art class

2. Corn Dogs (Thursdays!)

3. Recess

4. The last bell on Friday

5. 3-day weekends (does this count?)

6. Snow days

7. Watching the best 1st year teacher you’ve ever seen

8. 2nd graders losing their teeth (always considered an accomplishment)

9. Seniors getting accepted to college

10. Volunteers

11. Alumni who are so excited to tell you about their experiences in your school

12. Students who want to show you their report cards

13. Grants (I love these)

14. The days before a holiday (exciting… even after all these years)

15. About a 1,000 others things that I sometimes take for granted

Please feel free to make your own list. It really will make you feel better.

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Readers Are Still Subscribing. I’m Both Confused and Touched.


People (primarily imates) continue to join over 582 people who receive all the BRAND NEW PrincipalsPage.com Blogs directly in their  inbox (not to mention the 10,000 to 25,000 who visit the site each month).

It’s easy.He's in Better Shape Than Me.

And more importantly, free.

Just sign up (next to my cartoon wife’s right elbow) to receive email notifications when new entries are posted.

That’s it.

It’s so easy, Buddy the Dog could do it.

And he doesn’t have thumbs.

Or a job (a sore point with me)

Enjoy the rest of summer. School is just around the corner

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Everyone I Know is Getting Older.

It is a well known fact that time flies.aging

Unless you’re at work.

Time speeds up anytime you want it to go slower.

Weekends.  Vacations.  Lunch hour.

Time slows down anytime you want it to go faster.

Dental appointments.  Class periods with a really annoying kid.  Prostate exams.  Staff meetings.

Time is our enemy (as are doctors with big hands).

I think most people are like me and don’t really focus on time.

Because if we did, we wouldn’t waste it.

Time is precious because it’s limited.

Yet, we treat it like it will be here forever.

We watch too much TV.  We sleep too much.  We do things we don’t like because we’re too lazy to change.

I don’t really notice the effects of time when I look in the mirror.

I only notice it when I see the effects on other people.

Just recently, I saw several people whom I’ve haven’t seen in over 15 years.

The good news is they are still around to be seen.

The bad news is they’ve gotten old.

Way old.

I did my best not to gasp and point when I saw their aging and decrepit bodies (I’m not say I didn’t… I’m saying I tried my best).

It’s like they’ve aged 15 years since I last saw them.

Me?  Not so much.

I am exactly the same as I was back in the early to mid 90’s.

It’s amazing really.  I look great.

At least I think I look great.

Then it occurred to me.

How do I look to them?

I guess I shouldn’t worry about it.

With their fading eyesight they probably didn’t even notice.

Time marches on and if I’m lucky I get to tag along.

At least for a while.

RIP Coach.

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When you break it down, it’s really quite simple.life2

This does explain why preschool was so challenging.

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The Magazine Every Principal Should Be Reading: NASSP’s Principal Leadership.


The magazine is great.

The electronic edition is the best.

And as an added bonus, I’m on Page 6 (there is a picture of it right over there…).

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NCLB Made Us Better.


It’s true.

We don’t like to admit it, but it’s true.

In fact this may be the most unpopular position I’ve ever taken on this blog (although I catch a lot of grief when I call The Evil Spawn “Evil”.)nclb

Educators are bred to dislike everything that is new.

This is understandable because so much new stuff is dumped on us and most of it is easily recognized as junk.

Kind of like the new fall TV season (do we really need a new Tim Allen show?).

NCLB wasn’t thought out (surprise, surprise… when the government is involved).

It wasn’t good for kids.

It was doomed to fail from the very beginning.

And even with all of this, it made us better.

Yes, you heard me right.

Schools, teachers, and administrators  have improved significantly 10 years after NCLB was dropped like a big greasy bowl of school spaghetti in their laps .

We may dislike President Bush, mandated testing, and the Department of Education, but if we are honest with ourselves there is only one conclusion.

The world doesn’t need another bad Tim Allen sitcom (I haven’t seen it, so maybe it’s better than I envision… and his movies).

Sorry, there are two conclusions.

The second is NCLB demanded we work harder, pay more attention to curriculum, and made us all more accountable on the local, state, and federal levels.

It was flawed legislation and yet we still improved.

This makes me wonder how much better public education could be if the government actually had a clue about educating kids.

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Evidently, Delivering Undergarments to Your Daughter in Her 5th Grade Classroom is Frowned Upon.

For the record, the Evil Spawn is not going through puberty.puberty for blogg

I won’t allow it.

In fact, this is the main reason I took a job at her school.

I can’t have a teenager in my house.  I just can’t.

I don’t trust their kind.  Mainly, the boy kind.

When the Spawn was born we wanted a baby.  A cute cuddly baby. 

Not a mean-spirited, angry, expensive teenager.

So we’ve made a decision.

She will stay forever young.

And she’s not allowed to move farther than a quarter mile from us (or else her mother will follow her).

There is a strict limit on the amount of immaturity our home can handle.  And I’ve already personally reached the maximum amount.

So she has been sentenced to always being our little girl.


Except for the fact that she seems to be growing.

And not just taller.

And not just in the amount of sarcasm that flows from her pie hole (this seems to multiply by a factor of 12 each and every day… for the life of me I don’t know where she gets this).

But she’s also growing and changing in other ways.  And places.

This really isn’t noticeable, except to her mother and me.

That’s why a family decision was made.

A decision that made my skin crawl.

A decision that made me question everything I believe to be true and sacred.

She has to wear a certain female undergarment that shall remain nameless (I just can’t say it…).

Her mom doesn’t want things popping out.

I don’t want boys noticing things popping out.

So we are all in agreement.

It was unanimous.

Except for the Evil Spawn’s vote.  Since she voted “no”, I made a new motion that stated she doesn’t get a vote until her income is more than mine (sadly, in my line of work… this could be any day).

Now, she’s a rule follower and a good girl, so she generally does what she’s asked.

Except when she “forgets”.

And the other day at school, I noticed one of these times.

She was all decked out in an outfit that relied on lime green t-shirt as the major component.

This really drew your attention to her new growth spot(s).

And you might have guessed she “forgot” her new uncomfortable undergarment.

As a superintendent, I played the dress code card on her.  As a dad, I played the put your coat on card.

I think we were both mortified.  For different reasons.

She went back to eating her lunch and I went home to retrieve her extra layer of clothing protection.

Being a good father, I was going to deliver it to her class.

I put it in my pocket and swung by the office to let them know where I would be.

But I was stopped.

In the office.

In my tracks.

By 47 female staff members who explained (yelled) that this single act could force my daughter into at least 47 years of therapy and possibly result in an inability for her to have any sort of healthy relationship with boys.

Who knew?

But I was okay with that.

Until a discussion took place within this angry mob of mothers/employees about beating me to death with a stapler.  The hate in their eyes was scary.  Blood curdling scary.

My blood.

Needless to say, I wasn’t allowed to go to her class.

Her mom was sent in my place.

I have a feeling this won’t be the last time she needs her mom instead of me.

I also have a feeling I have a lot to learn about teenage girls.

And no, she’s not allowed to read this blog until my death.  Which at this rate could be any day.

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Why Has This Blog Been on Vacation? Ask My Computer.

This is one of those blogs only I care about (but this works out well because it is my blog).

Let’s just get this out in the open.

No need to sugarcoat things.

We‘re big boys and girls after all. (if you are under 18 and reading this… get a life).

I can no longer coexist under the present circumstances in which I am forced to live.

Sure, I can put on a happy face.broken-laptop1

I can act like everything is okay.

In fact, I don’t mind saying I feel some pressure to do just that.

Pretend like things are great.  Pretend like things are wonderful.

Act like we are the happiest couple in town.

Well, we’re not.

And I’m tired of living a lie.

Sorry, you had to read it here but you’ll eventually get over it.

After the tears.

And the sleepless nights.

And of course, the self-loathing.

All stages I’ve had to work through.

Well, here it is.

I hate my computer.

Hate it.  Hate it.  Hate it.

I know you aren’t supposed to hate things (except for Hitler, door-to-door salesmen,  stubbing your toes, people who tailgate you on the interstate, and diarrhea).

Well, I hate my computer.

And all of those things listed above (especially the last one… which is incredibly funny if someone else has it).

My whole life is on my computer and yet it fails me at every turn.

Have a big report due?  Computer isn’t working.

Leave the computer on the bed for 2 short days and what happens?  Buddy the Dog eats the N and the M keys.

Have a PowerPoint presentation to give to 200 people?  Computer ate it.

Need to write another low-level mindless blog?  Computer won’t hook up to the internet.

I’m in the habit of writing(?) a bad blog every 3 days.  If I don’t, I get jumpy.

And you don’t want to see me jumpy.

Now, you might be asking yourself, why do I need the internet to write a mildly amusing (only to me) blog?

I don’t.

I just like to check out www.espn.com a couple thousand times instead of doing something productive (by the way, you’re welcome for the free plug ESPN).

The point is, my computer is only broken when I need it the most.

I don’t like this.

I don’t like it one bit.

My iPad never lets me down.  It always works.

So consider this a warning laptop computer.

You are officially on notice.  Get your crap together, or else I just might start using a Mac.

My love for technology is turning to hate.  Luckily for me, I realize the first step to recovery is admitting I have a problem.

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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.