The Scariest Feeling You Can Experience in School.


Working in a school is more fun than a real job.Shock and Horror.

But there are times that can be unsettling.

1.) The sad day that is July 5, when you realize summer is almost over (downhill from there).

2.) The morning you wake up expecting a snow day and it’s 52 degrees and sunny.

3.) Anytime the government gets involved in education.

But all of these pale in comparison to the worst feeling an educator sitting at his or her desk can experience.

It happens every year.

I know this because people email me within seconds of this tragic event.

The tone of the email is always the same.  Shame mixed with fear wrapped in an apology.

5.) It’s when an employee using a school computer goes to one website and ends up on another.

The unexpected site rhymes with born, thorn, sworn, torn, and worn.

It’s always the same series of events.  They type in an innocent web address and they end up someplace entirely different.

Usually, the site is only on the computer for seconds, but it can seem like hours when they are frantically hitting the Escape or Delete button.  Some have even pulled the power cord.

This stress and shame is compounded if there are children within 100 feet.

I always get the sense they are sweating profusely when they send the email pleading their innocence.

First, I’m not the computer police.  I know it was accident.

And second, why do innocent people always feel so guilty?

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This Will Make Every Teacher Very Happy.


Last week I had a good day because I only worked half of it.Lotterys Are Fun.

At lunch time, I snuck out (and before you tell on me… I filled out the proper paperwork).

I have to sneak out.  If not 197 people stop me.

This is bad.

The good thing is each one of them only "needs a second".

Superintendent Math:  197 people x 1 second = 17 hours and 19 minutes.

So, I was very happy to get out of the building without being stopped.

I spent a beautiful fall day working with a dog like a dog in the yard.  I’m not sure what Buddy does when I’m at school, but I know what he does when I’m home.

He lays in the exact spot where I need to work.

It’s creepy.  Wherever I turn, there he is.

Sleeping.

And snoring.

Note to dog who lives in my house and eats my food:  It’s a big yard.  Go sleep in a flowerbed I’m not weeding.

While I was working, I had an endless stream of ingenious ideas.

Most of which I forgot within two minutes.

The one I remember is golden.

Everyone loves a day off.

Everyone looks forward to it.

How about each school employee gets one Lottery Day Off every five years.

Here is how it works.

Each Friday the school hires an extra sub.

Before first period, the entire staff gathers in the gym for a drawing.

After a drum roll and lots of anticipation, one employee is pulled from a fancy machine filled with ping pong balls.

When your name is pulled, you get to go home.

No questions asked.

Just a bonus day off.

Teachers, administrators, janitors, cooks, secretaries… everybody is eligible.

A day off is great.  An unexpected day off is better.

Everyone would look forward to Fridays, just because of the excitement of not having to stay.  Actually, everyone looks forward to Fridays already, but that’s not important.

I don’t see a downside to this idea. 

Other than the cost of a sub and the bitterness of those who don’t win. 

Now, I just need to find a fancy lottery machine with ping pong balls and a large group of people who want to go home.

One is going to be a lot easier to find than the other…I will let you decide which is which.

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When Teachers Strike, Everybody is Out.


I thinkNobody Wins a Strike. teacher unions can serve an important role in the education of students.

I also support their right to strike under extreme circumstances.

I also believe that when they do strike, everyone loses.

Students.

Parents.

Teachers.

Politicians.

Every strike picks away at the trust people have in schools.

At the end of a strike, both sides will think they’ve won.

And both will be wrong.

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We Should Look at the World Differently.


Things are as bad as we are led to believe.

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Bad Grade. Bad Dad. Bad Deal.


Here is the deal.Bad Grade.  Bad Dad.

Raising a teenager (preteen… criminal… whatever) is a lot of work.

Being employed in the same school building as the above mentioned teenager/nut job is fun.

And a complete total nightmare.

Here’s why.

Our school district has a new student managment system. This allows parents to track their children’s grades on a daily basis.

Or in my case, a fourteen times a day basis.

Our school district also employs the Tech Queen of our house as the official technology grunt (if you are a technology grunt you will know exactly what I mean… and you should stop reading this blog and get back to the list of 1,014 things you need to get done by tomorrow that should have been done three months ago).

This week all of this nearly collided in a confusing ordeal I like to call "I’m Going to Her Classroom and Punch Her in the Throat!".

Now, I know violence is never the answer.

But to review, she’s a teenager.  Or at least is headed down that awful path.

My troubles (and hers) started when the Tech Grunt was sitting at her desk surrounded by roughly 14 people with questions and 6 computers.

Basically, her area of the school looks exactly like the control room at NASA.

If they had more computers.

Turns out she was having trouble with the new student management program, so much to my surprise big changes were on the way.

Meanwhile, in the actual control center of the school district (my office… which isn’t really in control of anything, but I like to think we are) I was checking the Evil Spawn’s grades.

When I logged on I immediately saw she had flunked a test.

Much to her surprise, the superintendent was about to storm into her classroom and read her the riot act as she sat quietly at her desk reading a book and dreaming of a day when the annoying superintendent would no longer be working in the same building in which she attends school.

I really do know my behavior isn’t approriate, but come on… an F on a test?

We can’t have this.

At least we can’t if she’s going to continue to live in my house and eat all of my food and enjoy the 5,000 TV stations I provide for her.

Plus, she can’t get into vet school and support her elderly parents if she can’t pass 6th Grade Literature.

As fate would have it, she didn’t really flunk this test (but there will be others… and mark my word I will be there to haunt her).

The Tech Grunt had gone in and manually added this "test" grade because she was working on the new system and needed a guninnea pig student with a bad grade.  Notice how I misunderstood the word "test".

So to review, the grade (test…fake…whatever) was added, I was angry (and clueless), the Evil Spawn was in danger of not living to enjoy pepperoni pizza at lunch (which isn’t bad by the way), and the Tech Grunt was disgusted by my anger directed towards what up to this point has been a very nice little girl.

I may need a new job.

Or counseling.

Or at least a heads up on what are real bad grades and fakes ones.

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If You Facebook or Twitter, Please Be Reminded Other People Can Also Read.


Since I began my long and illustrious career in education, I’ve noticed a couple of subtle changes.Be Careful Out There.

First, kids look a whole lot younger now than they did eighteen years ago.

Back in the day, seniors in high school seemed old to me.

Now, they look like they’re 12.

Secondly, everything else in education has completely changed and it all makes me a little nervous.

Testing.  Evaluations.  Common Core.  Lawsuits.  Government attacks.

It’s a lot.

I try to roll with all of it, but I must admit it can be stressful.

If all of this wasn’t enough, then there is the King of Changes.

Technology.

So many changes (I guess that’s why it’s called the King of Changes… or at least it’s called that now).

When I was in high school back in the 80′s (19… not 18), my school was one of the very first to offer One-to-One Computers.

We had one school.  And one computer.

But don’t worry, progress was coming.

A few short years later when I began teaching, we had a computer lab.  With 12 computers (that was what we called…  a lot).

And a printer.

How I loved that dot matrix printer.  The sounds it made.  The constant tearing off the pieces of paper with the holes in it.

The paper jams.  Good times.  Good times.

A student could print a 5 page English paper in less than 40 minutes (it was a special time).

I don’t mean to brag, but it was state of the art.

Back then, technology changed every couple of years.  I could keep up.

Now, it’s changing every couple of minutes.  I can’t keep up.

The thing I’ve noticed lately is students understand all of this new technology a lot better than I do. 

And at the same time, they don’t seem to understand it all.

Facebook is great (follow me!).  Twitter is cool (follow me!).

Social media’s greatest attribute is it makes the world smaller.

The worst thing is it makes the world smaller.

This is the part I don’t think students understand.

What they write on Facebook and Twitter is available to everyone.

And I mean everyone.

Back in the mid-80′s (a glorious time… thank you MC Hammer), students were free to share their thoughts, comments, and criticisms amongst their friends.

Now, their every thought is published worldwide for all to see.

It most cases this is okay.

They are at the age where opinions are formed quickly and expressed loudly.

I just worry that while they are old enough to share their thoughts, they are too young to realize the consequences.  They seem to be oblivious to the fact their words often times travel outside their peer group.

Long story short.

Dot matrix printers and MC Hammer were very cool (because we didn’t know any better).

Technology changes so quickly I can’t keep up.

This is all part of being old.

Another part of being old is I can read.

So if you are going to skip school or practice…

Don’t post it online.  :)

Use your time wisely children.  Google MC Hammer.

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Basketball Class.


This makes me laugh.

Sometimes, it’s nice to see things from a child’s perspective.

from Kid Snippets.

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Do Educators Have a Boss?


I’m confused.Is the Customer Always Right?

Who do we see as our boss?

The department head?

The principal?

The superintendent?

The school board?

The community?

Government?

Who?

Some may say students, but we don’t really answer to them.

If we did, we would give them what they want and not what we think they need.

So who is our actual boss?

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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.