In my long career as a school administrator (alright, short but who is counting), I have discovered that each school year brings a new set of challenges.
Just when I think I have my job figured out, something comes along and surprises me.
Even with these new challenges, there are some things (headaches, burdens, nightmares… or feel free to pick your own word) that happen every year like clockwork.
You can count on some teacher turnover, student transfers, and there will be long-term employees who will retire or move on (to new jobs people… shame on you for thinking the worst).
In essence, the names of the characters change but almost everything else about a school remains the same year after year.
After going through several school years (okay, some years) of these challenges, I have come up with a theory on people in general.
This not only applies to schools, but it also works in civilian life (I am in no way comparing our educational system to the military… although, we might be better off if we had a stockade and everyone had to salute me… but I digress).
It seems to me that people come in 3 distinct types.
The first group is people who get it. In whatever situation they are placed, they just get it.
They understand what to do in their job, with their family, and have an overall common sense that allows them to be successful in life.
Even when things go poorly, they are still able to remain flexible and find something positive about every situation.
You can recognize this in teachers who were born to teach. This character trait jumps out during their first interview, in the course of their evaluations, and even when they are simply walking down the hall.
They get it. And probably have since the day they were born.
And I’ll bet if I had the opportunity to meet their parents, they get it also.
The second group is people who just don’t get it. This doesn’t mean that they are uneducated or lack intelligence; they just don’t get “it”.
You may be asking yourself what “it” is. I wish I knew, but I don’t.
But I do know it when I see it.
Life is a struggle and it is even harder when you don’t get it.
But, all is not lost with this group.
You can reason with members of this group. And sometimes they even listen (don’t get your hopes up… they listen sometimes, but not always).
Members of group #2 would include parents who come into the office at school extremely angry, but leave calmer and with a better understanding of the situation that brought them there.
They respond to logic and reason. You can talk them off the ledge so to speak. Sometimes it takes a while, but they eventually come around (unfortunately, a while can mean years, so hang in there).
The last group is the most difficult to understand. This is because when you first meet them, you want to believe that they are members of the second group that don’t get it.
That means you have hope for them.
The last group doesn’t get that they don’t get it. And no amount of logical reasoning will get them to change.
I am pretty sure they don’t want to change (see Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olbermann… they are happily set in their beliefs no matter how extreme).
Often times, they come from generations of people that don’t get that they don’t get it.
For those of you who work in a school, the best example I can give you is the following.
These are the people that threaten to sue.
And by sue, I mean they say they will sue… all of the time.
They believe if they mention a lawsuit, they will get their way. So, they threaten to sue you, the teachers, the coaches, the school, the state, or whoever is within a 4 block area at the time.
They don’t get it and they never will.
The good news is that most people you meet are in the first group. I know this because society continues to progress and evolve and that couldn’t happen if we were dominated by group number two or three.
And now for the bad news. I forgot to mention a group.
The fourth group is people who write blogs with theories about the first 3 groups. These people are sad and twisted (and borderline pathetic).
They fall into the group in which they think they completely understand everyone else, but yet don’t have a clue.
And they don’t know they don’t have a clue.
Yet, they continue to spout off their theories and think there are people out there who have the same warped ideas they do.
This reminds me of a certain blog, but for the life of me I can’t remember its name…