Taking Vacation the Hard Way.


Like most people, I love vacation.

Sadly, I’m just not good at it.

If I go on vacation for 5 days, I can’t even enjoy it until day 4.5.

I’ve considered practicing my vacation skills, but I never seem to have enough time to get away.

But this week this all changes.

On Thursday and Friday, I will be taking two days of sweet sweet vacation time.  It’s possible I will even take the weekend as an extended vacation.

And I am looking forward to it.

No getting to the office early.

No phone calls to return.

No 75 emails per day in my inbox.

No students or teachers asking "Do you have a minute?"

No making a decision which automatically makes half the people mad at me.

Just peace and quiet.

Just me and Buddy the Dog laying around watching bad TV (technically he just might be sleeping).

I’ve been looking forward to this short vacation for weeks.

What I’m not looking forward to is the surgery.

But my wife is.  She really doesn’t want to have two Evil Spawns running around.

I may write a blog during this vacation.  I’m guessing I’ll think I’m hilarious while hopped up on valium.  Maybe it will be about the bond of shared experiences Buddy and I will now "enjoy".

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Children Should Not Be Allowed to Do Homework in the Car.


I blog about what I know.

Maybe that’s why I don’t blog more often.

These days, the Evil Spawn is the center of our universe.

Not because she’s a good kid.  Or an only child (this only applies if you don’t count my son, Buddy the Dog).

Everything revolves around her because she’s involved in everything.

Basketball.  Softball.  Piano.  The drums.  4-H.  Church choir.

You name it and she wants to be a part of it (except cleaning her room… because I’ve named it… and she wants NO part of it).

She’s busy.

Which means we are busy.

I’m not sure who decided 10 year olds can’t drive, but they obviously didn’t have a 10 year old who needed to be transported to 8 different things on a Tuesday evening.

This new kind of life for children is an adjustment for me.

When I was a kid back in the late 70′s and early 80′s we weren’t nearly this busy.

We had time on our hands.

We rode our bikes.

We played in the woods.

We threw rocks in ponds.  And at street signs.  And at trains (don’t judge me).

We complained about being bored.

Now it’s all different.

There are practices.  And games.  And camps.  And uniforms to wash.  And overnight trips. 

Mostly, there isn’t time to sit around and watch the world pass by.

I don’t think this new world is all bad.

But it’s certainly different.

I can’t imagine what things will be like when The Evil One is a parent (scary, I know… but yes, she will one day give birth to the Evil Grandchild).

I can’t imagine kids will be busier than they are now, but what do I know (to review… I think we established I know little or nothing earlier in this blog).

I do think I have a solution.  A law.

A law that makes it illegal for children under the age of 16 to do homework in the car.

This wouldn’t solve all of the worlds problem, but it would certainly slow down youth sports.

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Why Exactly Do We Want Fans?


The Evil Spawn loves sports

I used to.

I don’t remember the exact date my relationship changed with athletics, but it was around the time I became a principal.

That’s when I started watching the crowd instead of the game.

No longer was I focusing on the players.

Now I got to spend hours and hours watching people scream. 

Scream at the game.  The referees.  The coaches.  The scorekeeper.  The players.  And on very special occasions when they just couldn’t take it anymore… each other.

I’ve never understood this.

If you ask parents (and grandparents), they will tell you they love their children’s games.  They look forward to them.

They plan their schedules so they can be there.  They make sacrifices to get their children to practices.  They commit their hard-earned money to shoes and equipment.

Yet, as I look up into the crowd I don’t see a lot of happiness and smiles.

I see anger, paranoia, nerves, and bitterness.

Why is this?

Why can’t people take athletics for what they are.

They are a moment in time.  They are life.

And just like life, they don’t always turn out the way you want.

Sports should be used as a teaching opportunity on how to deal with success.  And failure.

How to get along with others.  How to find your place in a situation bigger than yourself. 

How to lose (and just for the record… losing is okay).

Kids should grow up and only have wonderful memories from their time participating in athletics.

They shouldn’t leave the experience with a headache from all the screaming.

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It Seems Easier to Be a Great Person After Death Than Before.


I don’t usually write about anything other than education topics.

This is because I realize my limitations are great (in far too many areas to list here).

I’m pretty sure I barely have a concept about what is happening within education. I’m also positive I have no concept about anything else. 

But occasionnally something bugs me and I’m fascinated to know if it bothers anyone else.

Today it’s Whitney Houston’s death.

I remember when she was a big star.  Maybe the biggest.

I remember the albums (casettes), movies (VHS), and the National Anthem at the Super Bowl (sorry Buffalo).

She was rich and famous.  And evidently miserable.

Her life became complicated (but whose isn’t).

I’m not judging her, but I do have a question.

As I watch TV and cruise the interweb, it seems like the focus is on how great she was and what a terrific talent has been lost.

I’m sure this is true.

But I’m always amazed how no one ever dies with bad qualities.

We always remember the best in people, but what about everything else?  What about the kids?  And in the future, her grandkids?

What has her behavior done to them?

It was great she could sing, but she had a more important job.

You see this same type of situation happening far too often in schools.

An adult’s life (for a variety of reasons) has a traumatic effect on their children.  You can just see the kids being set up for a more complicated life than any of us can imagine. 

And while educators can help at school , we can’t always help them when they’re not in school.

I don’t think Whitney Houston was a bad person.  But I do think for all of her talent, her lasting impression on the world will be how her child raises her kids.

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My Daughter Hates School. I Did Not See That Coming.


The Evil Spawn has officially announced she doesn’t like going to school.She's Sleepy.

By officially, I mean she said it in the car when we were traveling back from yet another evening of supervising an athletic contest (as the child of a school administrator… she was born into the family business of sports supervision).

Her statement was short and to the point.  "Dad, I don’t want to go to school anymore."

This led to my rebuttal which was a long-winded rambling sometimes incoherent monologue about how hard I work and did she realize there are days when I don’t want to trudge into the office at 7:00 am and work until10:00 at night.

After about 27 minutes of hearing myself talk (she stopped listening pretty early on), I realized there must be more to her story.

She likes her friends.  Sports.  Reading.  Playing on her iPad.  Writing.  Corndog Thursday.  Math and science.  Assemblies.

And sleep.

Lots and lots of sleep.

School?  Not so much.

But she used to love it.

Turns out after only 5 years of education, she has decided she’s not a big fan of the daily grind of nearly 8 hours a day of sitting in a desk (of course… minus passing periods, homeroom, lunch, study hall, PE, library, computers, and music/art).

This worries me.

It’s weird because she loves to learn.

She likes the History Channel.  You Tube.  Discovering new things on the Interweb.  Going to the public library.

But sitting in class she finds a little boring.

It’s not her teachers.  She loves them (there are at least 3 on her Mt. Rushmore of Important People who have impacted her life… sadly, Buddy the Dog and I didn’t make it…).

In the teachers’ defense, they just can’t go fast enough.

Public schools are set up to teach to the middle.

And I think they should.  We’re in the business of producing taxpayers and good citizens who know how to stand in line and wait their turns.

We aren’t there to push the top 20%.  We count on colleges to do that.

I’m okay with this, but I do worry why a 10 year old who loved school has started to go the other way.

Maybe it’s just a phase.  Maybe she’s just starting to transition from tween to angry and bitter teenager (and if my mediocre parenting keeps up… one day, a angry bitter sarcastic adult).

Maybe she still loves school, but this is her way of fitting in with the other kids and slightly rebelling against the man (by the way… there’s a good chance I might be the man).

I may have no idea how the mind of a pre-teen girl works (actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t know how the mind of a pre-teen girl works).

But I do know, I miss the little person in my house who eats all my food who used to fly out of bed on school days because she didn’t want to miss a thing.

I just wish I knew for sure if it was her or if it’s us.

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NASSP Principal Leadership Magazine: Discipline.


What’s better than the February 2012 edition of Principal Leadership?Principal Leadership:  February 2012.

The February 2012 digital edition.

It includes my take on discipline.

Remember:  Discipline is what you do to a student.  It’s what you do for a student.

I wish I had invented that saying, but I didn’t.

I stole it.  Which is where I get all my best ideas.

Enjoy the magazine.

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AASA: Best of the Blogs.


School Administrator Magazine.AASA School Administrator Magazine:  February 2012.

February 2012 edition.

Best of the Blogs by Superintendents.

Not sure how PrincipalsPage made it, but I’ll take it.

Click here.

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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.