My School Tested for a TV Pilot.


This blog has given me a lot of unexpected benefits.Sadly, I Remember TV's Like This.

Free trips.  Fame for Buddy the Dog.  A cool nickname for the Evil Spawn.

The occasional free t-shirt (maybe the greatest benefit of all).

But this week may have been the oddest experience of all and I have this mediocre blog to thank for it (or blame).

My school interviewed for a TV show.

Yes, a TV reality show.

This goes against everything I hold sacred and pure.

I am the last remaining person in America who does not want to be on television.

I’ve never understood why people feel the need to be on tv.  I find the need for fame a little disturbing.

People (especially young adults) seem willing to do anything and everything to get themselves on television.

I don’t get it, but realize I’m probably in the minority.

But as luck (good and bad) would have it, people seem to stumble upon me when they Google for educators.

A production company did just that a couple of weeks ago.

They contacted me and asked if we would be interested to going through some pre-interviews with the possibility of being on a reality show about high schools.

My first thought… of course not.  What type of idiot wants to be on tv?

But then I thought, what the heck.  Maybe this is my entry into movies. 

Or maybe even better.  Maybe, just maybe, my dream of remaking Three’s Company will actually happen (if you are under 40… click the link).

So several members of our staff were interviewed by producers.

And it was odd.

Really odd.

There is no chance they will be making a tv show about us.

Why?

I think we are way too normal.  And we are far from normal.

But "reality" tv is exactly what I expected.  I don’t think it is "real" at all.

I think they want people who they can mold in to characters.

They are looking for big personalities that can be encouraged to be even bigger on tv.

I’m okay with that.  I’m just not that.  And my school isn’t that.

I still think there is a tv show about schools that needs to be made.

But it’s not about fights.  Or gangs.  Or wacky teachers.

It’s about good students.  And committed teachers.  And all the good things that happen in schools every day in small towns all across this country.

It would be about kids and families who are doing the right thing in a world that gets more complicated by the day.

I would watch this.  But once again, I realize I’m in the minority.

One benefit to not getting a TV Pilot… I now consider myself an out of work actor.  So if you need me, I will be waiting tables at Applebees’s.

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Beyond the Textbook Forum Attendees: Weird.


I’m assuming if the good people at Discovery read this, I’ll be banned from corporate headquarters.They Put Up a Sign to Welcome Me.  I Thought That Was Nice.

That would be bad.

But, it would be neat to walk in, only to be wrestled to the ground by a gang of security guards (I don’t know how many they would need, but I’m guessing 7… I’ve been working out).

Plus, it wouldn’t be the first place where I’ve been uninvited.

And what are the odds they would invite me back anyway?

The Textbook Techbook Forum was interesting.

Interesting to say the least.

I got to meet an amazing group of people who are quite famous in the education/technology world (still not sure why I was there… they must have needed a token Superintendent).

If you read blogs, tweet, or stalk this kind of educator, you would have been impressed by the lineup.

Dembo.  Jakes.  Warlick.  Whitby.  Becker.  Sheninger.  Couros.  Laufenberg.  Maiers.

And the Godfather.  Shareski.

Why is he the Godfather?  Because he is.  You don’t get to question why.

It was a Who’s Who of famous educators.

And I discovered something (get it… discovered?).

They are weird.

Every last one of them.

Really weird.

What kind of person is obsessed with the education issues of the day?

Technology.  Curriculum.  Teaching styles.  Textbooks.

Who are these people and why don’t they get hobbies?  Maybe they should take a walk or something.

I would like to think they attended the forum for the free trip.  Maybe even to raise their profile in the Twitter universe?

For all I know, nuzzling up to the people who brought us American Choppers and Shark Week raises their fee for presenting on various educational topics.

But I don’t think any of this is true.

I think they are just weird enough that they were there in the hope of helping provide students and teachers a better textbook (techbook) for 2012 and beyond.

Told you they were weird.

The good kind of weird.

Top 3 Questions I get when I attend these types of events:  1.  Why don’t I attend these types of events more often?  2.  Are you going to make fun of me in your blog?  3.  How’s Buddy the Dog?

Answers:  1.  I like my house.  2.  Yes.  3.  He’s great.  He’s Buddy the Dog.

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A Flight, a Free Trip, Discovery Education, and Food Posioning. It Was a Very Busy Day.


The superintendent’s life can be a busy one.Discovery and Shark Week.

But I know it’s the same for principals, teachers, secretaries, custodians, parents, students, and Buddy the Dog.

Well, not Buddy.  He’s not that busy.  Unless you count 17 hour naps  as busy (I’m so sick of holding a mirror under his snout to see if he’s still breathing).

Everyone is busy, so I’m not complaining.

But lately, I have been unusually busy.

School.  The Evil Spawn’s athletic career (I use athletic… and career… loosely).

This week I added to my troubles by throwing in a one-day trip to Discovery Education in Washington, D.C.

One-day and trip should never be used in the same sentence (and I just did it twice… idiot!!).

I really didn’t have time, but I knew I needed to make the time.  After all, it’s Washington D.C. (you can never turn down a free trip to your nation’s capital… unless you are a communist… and if you are… I’m not judging).

The trip was good.  Not great.

Blog sarcasm karma reached up and slapped me in the face.  Again.

When will I ever learn?

Note to self:  Don’t write a blog about what type of person you don’t want to sit next to on a flight because karma will mock you by sitting someone worse next to you the very next day.

I get on the plane.  Take my window seat (which is an opportunity to be the first one to notice an engine is on fire).

And then it happens.  Nope, not a lady with a baby (that’s a different blog),

Worse.

A young strong woman (freakishly strong) sits down and announces "I’m the worst flyer you’ve ever met.  I apologize in advance for screaming and I’ll probably grab you at some point".

Well, thanks for the warning.  And for cranking up my stress level because people with brand new vasectomies always hope to be grabbed by perfect strangers on a plane.

Here’s a sentence you almost never hear people say… "I wish I had MORE swelling!"

The worst part?  She screamed so loud on take off there was no way anyone was going to hear me crying like a little girl when she grabbed my man parts like a grocery bag.

Let’s just say, it was a long flight.

But it got worse.

The airline "misplaced" my luggage.  Which I’m told (by them) is better than "losing" it.

I should have known there was going to be trouble.  It’s never a good sign when you get off the plane on the middle of the tarmac.

The good news is they "found" my luggage.

Since I arrived at the hotel late, I got to eat dinner by myself in their ridiculously high-priced restaurant.

Who pays $14 for a hamburger?

After dinner, I retired to my hotel room to get a good night’s rest before going over to Discovery Corporate Headquarters.

I was excited.

And cramping.

You see, the $14 hamburger turned on me.

It’s 1:00 am.  I’m in Washington by myself.  And I’m face down in the bathroom eating tile.

I thought I was dying.  At one point I was hoping I was dying.

I just knew I was leaving this world like Elvis.

How sad.  A small school superintendent found alone in a hotel in a compromising position.

People were bound to talk.

I didn’t care.

Just stop the cramping.

Luckily, I eventually fell asleep.  In bed, as far as you know.

I got up and felt like a million bucks.  Food poisoning evidently doesn’t last long on the East Coast.

Maybe it’s the time change.

I made my way to Discovey and had a wonderful time.

But that’s another blog.

I’ll get to the Techbook Discovery people.  I promise.

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Fear of Flying.


Tomorrow, I get on a plane for Washington, D.C.

I will be visiting the headquarters of Discovery.

I’m very excited.  I’m hoping to meet Mike Rowe, the Mythbusters, or maybe the nut jobs from Storm Chasers (really… it’s pouring down rain… go inside already).

Meeting important people (even unstable ones) will be the fun part.

The bad part is flying.

I don’t fear flying, I just have some concerns.

On the list is the inevitable groping I always have to endure at the airport.  This time could be especially painful since I’m still trying to bounce back from my "vacation".

Another thing I always worry about is changing time zones.  It’s confusing.

When I travel and have to go from one time zone to another, two things invaribly happen.

One, I’m always hungry.  And two, I’m always doing math in my head to figure out why I’m starving at 9:30 in the morning.

But the biggest thing that scares me about flying is the unknown.

And I don’t mean how does a giant metal tube hurtle through the air.  Or will a flight attendant slam a metal cart full of nothing good to eat into my elbow just as I doze off?

My biggest concern is who I will sit by.

I can’t be the only one who gets on a plane and then waits.

Waits while passenger after passenger boards.  I check them all out to see which one I might not want to sit by.

Don’t get me wrong, 99 out of 100 people I’m good with sharing a row.

It’s the one percent that concerns me.

And you know who I’m talking about.

The mom.

The mom with a baby.

The mom with a newborn baby.

The mom with a newborn baby who has never flown before.

The mom with a newborn baby who has never flown before and the baby has a terrible ear infection.

There’s one on every flight (or maybe it just seems like it).

My only hope is they won’t sit by me.

It’s not that I dislike this mom. In fact, I feel sorry for this mom.

I survived (barely) 6 months of a colicky Evil Spawn.

And I don’t want to go back there.

Ever.

So keep a good thought for me.  I know I can’t avoid the groping, so I’ll just ride that out.

But the crying.

I can’t take the crying.

"Please walk by me… please walk by… please… I promise you God I’ll be good… if they just walk by… please… please…"

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Discovery Education: Beyond the Textbook Forum.


The easiest blog to write is on the topic of how I love free stuff (but I think I’ve already written that blog… a couple of times).

Any day I get free stuff is a good day (for the record these days don’t come nearly often enough).

A free trip to Washington, D.C. is a very very good day (I’m a patriot after all).

So when I received an invitation to attend the Beyond the Textbook Forum at Discovery Communications in the District of Columbia, I immediately thought one thing.

There’s obviously been a mistake.

When I saw a list of the other attendees, it confirmed there had been a huge misunderstanding.

I could list the other attendees, but I want to protect their reputations at least until I meet them.

In Discovery’s words, the forum was put together to bring an eclectic group of educators together for a conversation about digital textbooks (I think they just called me weird).

It’s a full day of brainstorming.  Not sure how much I can help, but I know this.

If you pay for my flight and hotel, I’m more than happy to share my thoughts on just about any subject (note to others putting together forums or conferences… I can be bought and I’m really quite cheap).

Best case scenario, I fly in, stay at a fancy hotel, and share my thoughts on digital textbooks.

Better case, Discovery offers me a job (I prefer to start out as a Vice-President of Something… with at least 16 weeks of vacation.. and hopefully very little actual responsibility).

Perfect case, they buy my "Road School" televsion show idea.

Actually, who am I kidding.

Perfect case is my flight is on time.  They feed me.  And I get some dirt on 20 of the top educators in the world that I can use in future blogs.

I’m pretty sure no one will sit by me or talk to me in fear I will disparage their hard-earned reputation in a future blog. 

They would be right by the way.

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NASSP Principal Leadership Magazine: Principals and Busses.


It’s March.

Another edition of Principal Leadership Magazine.

This version has me breaking the bad news about busses.

If you don’t know what I mean, you’ve never been a school principal.

New principals discover what I know roughly 10 minutes into their first day on the job.

Actually, that’s an exaggeration.

It’s within 5 minutes.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Principal Leadership is the best digital magazine in our business.

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Turns Out Following Directions is Important.


I write this blog for two reasons.

One, so people will stop contacting me to ask how my "vacation" is going.

And two, as an open apology to every student and teacher who I have accused of having no ability to follow directions.

You see, I haven’t yet experienced my "vacation".

I was ready.

I was prepared.

I was even hopped up on a handfull of valium (by the way, I think I’m hooked).

My lovely wife (as lovely as one can be considering she drove my to the butcher with a giant smile on her face… she looked sort of like the Joker from the last Batman movie) was even prepared to look after me and Buddy the Dog on our days off.

But it didn’t happen.

I got up early.

Popped the prescribed pills.

Which of course made me feel pretty good about the upcoming procedure (and if I’m honest… at that point I felt pretty good about everything from famine to communism).

I wobbled into the doctor’s office and only bumped into one person I knew (that wasn’t awkward).

I hopped (crawled) up on the table and waited to get gutted like a newly caught fish.

The very nice nurse (or two… since I was seeing double at that point) asked me if I had taken any aspirin lately.

Normally, I would have lied but since I was under the influence of so much free prescription happiness, I said yes.

They said come back in a week because if we cut you open you will bleed to death (I’m summarizing the official medical conversation).

They also mentioned maybe I should have read the directions they sent me a month ago (whoops).

So I went home.

And Buddy and I promptly slept for the next 19 hours (turns out free meds come with a price).

It’s the closet I’ve come to death.

If you are wondering, it’s peaceful.  Very peaceful.

I just closed my eyes and went towards the light.

Then I woke up in a pool of my own drool.  As an added bonus I couldn’t feel my left arm.  It had evidently got trapped under me during my coma.

I’m glad I didn’t experience any halucinations because I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have shoed away any monkees crawling up my legs without the use of both arms.

Actually, when I came to, I felt great.  It was like a mini vacation (no wonder Buddy is always so happy during those 14 minutes a day when he is awake).

Everything would have been great if I hadn’t remembered my real "vacation" is in a few days.

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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.