If You Think Your Kid is Gifted. Think Again.


This blog post came to me as I stood in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (I felt a little bit like Nicolas Cage in the movie National Treasure).

It was an epiphany.

It was almost like someone was screaming it in my year.

“Write this blog, write this blog, write this blog… and stop calling them blogs…”

Oh wait. Someone was.The Rotunda at the National Archives.

No, it wasn’t Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin (the voices in my head have stopped… for the most part).

The idea came to me from my mother-in-law. She came up with this observation as my Evil Spawn (her Evil GrandSpawn) was getting reading to look at the great American Historical Documents.

Included were the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the Louisiana Purchase.

And I almost forgot. Elvis’s Letter to President Nixon (the one where Elvis wanted to lead the war on drugs… although we didn’t actually see this letter, I would have liked to…).

Actually we didn’t really “see” any of the documents clearly. Walking into the National Archives is live walking into a cave. It’s 42 degrees and dark. Really dark.

It’s like being locked in the trunk of a car (this is a whole different blog).

When we walked into the archives, I felt like a spelunker (Google it if you don’t know).

The good people at the government keep the National Archives like this to preserve “the original documents.” (Yeah, like the ones they let you see are the “originals”.)

They couldn’t fool Nicolas Cage and they can’t fool me (Copies I say! … and yes, I do expect to be audited at any moment).

During my time as a school administrator (6 years… or 42 years in getting treated like a dog years…), I have learned many things.

One of those things is that the majority of parents who are proud owners of a smart student believe their child is gifted.

To parents… Straight A’s = Gifted.

No it doesn’t.

Have you seen the Honor Roll lately? Every kid in school is on it.

C’s used to mean average. Now they mean possible IEP (but this is a rant for another blog…).

Truly gifted isn’t being in the top 20% of the class. It’s more like 1/20th of the top 1% of the class.

I have met a ton of really smart, bright, successful students and I can count on one hand the number of students who have really been truly gifted.

In my opinion public schools need to spend more time and money on the top 20% of students (or “gifted students” as mom and dad call them).

Realistically, this probably isn’t going to happen.

But the good news is gifted education is everywhere.

And this is what my mother-in-law was pointing out. The best gifted education comes from parents.

Through travel, the library, extra work on the internet, camps, and other experiences that families can provide.

Gifted education in schools is needed, but if it’s not, it can still be provided by those proud parents.

And if you think those parents are a little delusional on their child’s abilities… you should meet Grandma.

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Death of Distance.


I’m hesitant to read other blogs because I don’t want to steal other people’s ideas (I think I have said this before, but I can’t remember for sure).

You get to a certain point in life where it becomes hard to recall things. Like whether or not you said something out loud or just thought it. Or if you ate breakfast today (and what you had). Or where your car is parked. Or your wife’s name (I often confuse this with my daughter’s name… when I can remember that). And anyone’s birthday, including my own.

I suffer from some, if not all, of the above. Plus a whole lot more.

My middle-aged memory prevents me from reading a lot of blogs. Also affecting this is a lack of time, but that is a different story.

I really do worry about accidently stealing other people’s thoughts and ideas. I want the incoherent ramblings of my blog, to be mine and only mine.

It may not be full of quality, but its mediocrity is all mine. death-of-distance

So in the interest of self disclosure, I didn’t come up with the title of this blog. It was a phrase used by a speaker I heard this week at a conference.

Google also tells me it is also a title of a book from 2001. Now I don’t feel so bad in stealing it (quick question… if you steal something that’s already been stolen, is it really stealing?).

The basis of the speech (which was very good) was the world is getting smaller and how educators are reacting to it (or more likely not reacting to it).

Communication is easier and quicker than ever before. A lot easier and quicker.

Technology is allowing us to not only interact with our neighbors, but with people from all over the world.

My question is why are schools struggling with this concept? Why are we reacting to this process instead of leading it? Why aren’t we jumping all over this?

Students don’t have to be confined to the brick walls where their desk is located.

Why do I get the feeling that people who used rotary phones and watched Andy Griffith (the best show ever) as kids are the ones dictating how our students are learning?

In too many cases, educators spend more time giving excuses about not using technology than actually offering students these opportunities.

Kids in my daughter’s class will be my age in 2042 (as old as I feel some days… I am not really that old).

I don’t feel like we are preparing these students for what they will face in the coming years. And I am even more confused by the fact that this doesn’t seem to bother a large percentage of people in education.

Even worse, far too many people don’t even understand that they don’t understand the changes taking place.

We all could be doing more.

The world is changing.

And getting smaller. And smaller.

Distance isn’t just dying. It’s already dead.

Now some of our old ideas on how to educate students need to die.

And we can’t be afraid of the new ones being born.

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The AASA: When Will They Ever Learn?


American Association of School Administrators.The people at the American Association of School Administrators have struck again.

They have included another PrincipalsPage.com Blog in the pages of their magazine.

If you receive the August edition of the AASA magazine, please go to page 33 and check out “Always Know the Answer before Asking the Question.”

I wrote this particular blog in a very dark, turbulent, stormy and unstable portion of my writing career.

It was a time that I like to call August of 2007 (actually it was neither dark, turbulent, stormy, or unstable… nor do I have a career in writing… but I do love the exaggeration).

But, I am not here to self-promote (well, maybe a little) or question the good judgment of the suits at AASA who choose the content of their magazine (well, maybe a little).

I am here to share what an interesting experience it is to get something published.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that the blog isn’t an American literary classic and the AASA Magazine isn’t as widely circulated as AARP the Magazine, Reader’s Digest, TV Guide, and Better Homes and Gardens (all I have learned from Googling “Top Magazine Circulation” is that old people really love their reading material).

It is still pretty cool to see something you typed on a laptop in 14 minutes get printed in a real legitimate publication.

The surprising thing is how long it takes for this process to play out.

The kind people at AASA (need to stay on their good side) notify you months in advance that they would like to publish your article (blog… whatever).

Then the lawyers and agents get involved to hash out the financial package. Which means the AASA offers nothing, and I take it (it was touch and go for a moment there… I thought they might make me pay them…whew!).

Then it goes through a thorough editing process where people with actual college degrees in English (and probably a Master’s) fix my incoherent thoughts.

They are quite good. By the time they finish the editing portion, I am amazed at the quality of my writing. Don’t get me wrong, my lovely wife does good editing work, but her degree is not in editing. It is in education with a minor in computer stuff and taking care of the sponge (daughter…whatever) and me.

I was also shocked the first time they emailed and edited version back to me and asked my thoughts. They evidently don’t realize that I am still not sure what an adverb is and while I have made progress, the whole to, too, and two thing is still quite confusing. Don’t even get me started about the proper use of semi-colons. My wife takes about 10 of them out of every blog post (while I don’t know how to use them, they are arguably the cutest of all the punctuation… and yes, I base my punctuation choices on looks).

I could have really benefited by sitting behind these editing people in college (who am I kidding… I needed them in junior high).

But, I am not here to talk about how my grade point average would have been significantly higher if I had cheated my way through school (PrincipalsPage.com in no way endorses cheating at any level of education).

I am here to thank them for giving me the opportunity (twice… I hope they don’t get fired over this).

It has been fun and maybe if they hold onto their jobs I will get another opportunity (who am I kidding… I am on borrowed time as it is).

Also, if you are a school administrator or plan on becoming one, please support your state organizations and the AASA.

They do great work for principals and superintendents (especially those just starting out in their careers).

Even if their judgment in magazine content may be a little questionable.

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Happy Blogiversary.


I Couldn't Even Get a Cake.Today is the day. A very special day. And not just because it is the birthday of Ringo Starr and Doc Severinsen (a hip reference for the kids…Google it).

July 7 is the one year anniversary of the PrincipalsPage.com Blog.

This is an emotional moment for all of us (and yes, I am counting general malaise, anger, and contempt as the primary emotions).

I can sense that many of you are feeling overwhelmed.

If you are shedding a tear or feel like you may collapse from the excitement, please keep in mind that you’re not alone.

I am here for you.

I would love to give you a hug if we were together (and if I didn’t mind people touching me, but that is a different story… my therapist says I am not ready to share just yet).

Each year as the sun peaks over the horizon on July 7, thousands of people across the educational world stop and take a moment to salute the PrincipalsPage.com Blog. Okay, maybe not thousands.

Actually as far as I know it’s just me and a creepy guy in Northern Michigan (evidently, there is not a lot to do in that part of the country except stock up on water, beef jerky, and handguns).

You call him crazy; I call him my friend.

Since emotions are running high, I will give everyone a moment to regain their composure.

The Blog started a year ago today. Time really does fly. It seems more like 347 days since it all began.

The Blog has become like another child to me. And not one who is unemployed, plays soccer, eats all of my food, and says she wants to live at home for the rest of her life (I am thinking about getting a lawyer to file a preemptive eviction).

Like our child, the Blog started off by accident. Even so, we have decided to keep it (but like my real kid, I am willing to listen to offers).

During the past year there have been many things that have surprised me about the Blog.

One is that people actually read it. And more surprising, some of them come back. I am still shocked each time someone stops by from the United States, Canada, or the Philippines (seriously, it is my 3rd biggest country for the highest number of visits).

It amazes me that people take time from their busy lives (also very likely sad and boring, but not you creepy guy from Michigan) to read the Blog and leave comments.

Secondly, I had gone through the first part of my life assuming that you need some sort of talent to write. Possibly an English degree or at least a general idea about how the English language works.

Lucky for me it turns out that you don’t need either one.

I did fail in one respect. At the beginning of the year, my intention was to post 135 blogs. I fell just short with 133, but I will strive to do better next year (will I ever run out of stupid thoughts or theories?).

It is also interesting to me that some of the blogs that I like the best get almost no reaction from readers. And on the flip side, some that I feel are moronic (or more moronic than usual) seem to strike a nerve with people.

Thirdly, when this all began I assumed it would be difficult to produce quality work week after week. This is actually true. That is why I have focused on writing in a style I like to call, mediocre to borderline pathetic.

Setting the bar low means I will never be disappointed. Writing a blog is much like life in general. All you really have to do is show up (consistently, you slackers). It really isn’t that complicated.

You don’t have to be the smartest, or best looking, or even have an intelligent thought about much of anything. Just show up.

Lastly, I realized that a well-written blog can be used as a tool to teach others valuable lessons that can help make them better people.

But let’s not get crazy, this blog doesn’t do that.

The point of the PrincipalsPage.com Blog is to… actually, as I have mentioned before there is no point. And that is the way I like it (my first KC and the Sunshine Band reference).

I don’t read many education-related blogs, but when I do something always jumps out at me.

These blogs seem to come in two types. One is the policy related educational articles (that are recycled on 20 other blogs). And the second is far worse. This type of blog is just a forum to share everything that is wrong with schools and education.

I get it. A junior high teacher just ran off with a 12 year old boy to Mexico. Enough already.

My hope is that the PrincipalsPage.com Blog is the exact opposite of those.

Good things do happen at school. And sometimes they are humorous. Not everything in education has to be about lack of funds or test scores.

These funny occurrences may occur during the school day, in the parking lot, during a SNOW DAY, on a vacation, or maybe even in the dark recesses of an angry middle aged man’s mind when his medication isn’t taken in the proper doses (I told the therapist I was capable of opening up eventually).

I hope you have enjoyed the Blog during this first year. Please come back to visit it again and again.

Or not, it is up to you. I will be here either way.

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Thank You Bloggers Who Like PrincipalsPage.com.


The Lucky Number 13.I have only been blogging for 9 months. It seems more like 8 ½ months; how time flies when I am wasting it.

When I started writing (or slopping down) the blog, I only knew one thing – you typed your thoughts or opinions. Seemed simple enough. I’ve taught keyboarding and have both thoughts and opinions, so how hard could it really be?

As I look back over these last few months, it hasn’t been too difficult. Luckily for me, I have very low expectations about the quality of my blogging (and I am proud to say I think my work has the potential to reach mediocrity … keep your fingers crossed me!).

Blogging for me is just jotting (typing, slopping… whatever) what has been rattling around my head for the past few days.

The real challenge in writing a blog is that I had never read one. Not a single blog. Why do I get the feeling that 27 people just said to themselves, “That explains why the quality of his blog has yet to rise to mediocrity.”?

Let me remind you; no one likes a hater. And if you continue with this type of attitude, I am going to have you to ask you to leave.

The truth is – I still don’t read very many blogs.

Occasionally, I will glance at one if someone has been kind enough to link to PrincipalsPage.com or the PrincipalsPage.com Blog (thank you Google Alerts).

My problem isn’t that I am anti-blog; I just don’t have the time.

Well, that’s a lie. I do have the time, I just prefer to spend my free time big-game hunting, recreating Civil War battles, collecting antique porcelain dolls (the ones sold on Home Shopping Network and their eyes follow you as you move around the room), painting (mostly in the style of impressionism), volunteering to read to the deaf, and translating the classics into Latin.

Alright, you caught me. Those are also lies.

I spend all of my free time mowing my yard or snacking. I really should do something positive for society; but I have a love/hate relationship with Oreos that takes up a good portion of my time. And since time is so precious, I don’t read as many blogs as I should.

I am still appreciative of the people who take the time to blog about far more serious educational issues than me.

So, I think it is important to stop (shut off the mower and put down the cookies) to recognize the blogs that are actually trying to contribute to the betterment of education.

They are all very good (the ones I have read) and they do have some things in common; they have all been kind enough to stop by my blog and leave a comment, or some have actually taken (or wasted) the time to mention PrincipalsPage.com in their blog.

All are unique and unlike me, they are actually trying to solve educational challenges and have ideas to make things better.

Please take a moment to visit the following list of blogs, but you are on your own; I have to go mow.

Keep in mind that I don’t know any of these people and have not been paid to list their blog (although I am open to bribes, no matter how small).

THE LUCKY 13 (or unlucky 13 if they prefer not to be associated with PrincipalsPage… they can be the judge).

The Essential Blog

Mr. Moses

Moving Forward

kwhobbes

PHSprincipalBlog

NJTechTeacher

Human Voices Wake Us

Out of My League

Not So Distant Future

Bircher’s Banter

Parental Guidance

Continuities

Successful Teaching

If you have any suggestions for blogs to visit or one worthy of being featured as Page 2’s Blog of the Week on PrincipalsPage.com, please send them to my assistant Carl Spackler at micsmith@principalspage.com.

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Travel Does Stink, but Alan November was Great.


Mr. Alan November.I survived my first business related travel experience. Barely. There were a couple of bumps in the road (get it… travel… bumps in the road… you don’t get this type of 5th grade humor just anywhere… well, maybe from a 5th grader), but for the most part the trip was okay.

And by okay, I mean just okay. As in I didn’t die or cry myself to sleep. Not that I slept well in a strange place.

I still don’t understand how people do this all of the time. The hotels, finding someplace to eat, the hotels, the messed up routine, and the hotels. Did I mention the hotels?

It is just not natural to sleep in someone else’s bed. Especially if 1,237 “someone’s” have slept in that same bed before you. And by sleep, I mean… well, never mind because if I say it you will never go back to a hotel (and I could open myself up to legal proceedings in Alabama…. so says the PrincipalsPage.com legal department).

So, I will keep these thoughts to myself, much like I try not to think about how many students and parents touch the door handle of the school office on a daily basis.

While I was at the conference, I decided to ask salespeople (did you know salespeople in Latin means; evil bloodsucking devil children? I’m serious… Google it) who were there how they liked traveling for their job.

They all had the same attitude when I asked them questions about business travel (I not only have a Blog; I am a miniature Ron Burgundy).

The nice salespeople (not really… see devil children) got a glazed look in their eyes, cocked their heads to the side, and mumbled something to the effect of, “Travel is okay and I never get tired of breakfast at McDonald’s, dinner at Applebee’s, cold showers, and sleeping in a disgusting hotel bed.”

The glazed look told me they would rather be home with their families.

I felt the same way after only a couple of days. I missed my wife, my unemployed daughter, my pillow, my bed, my shower, my computer, my refrigerator, my TV, and my routine. I even missed school (any chance that changes by about 8:27 on Monday morning?).

But the important thing is I survived.

One good thing that came out of the week was attending a conference presentation that was actually good. And not just good, but great.

I listened to Alan November for 2 hours. It seemed like 12 minutes and 14 seconds (I have a stopwatch in my head).

He talked about the future of education, technology, and how as administrators we need to change the way we think about teaching our students.

This includes classroom technology, the internet, teacher evaluations, testing, length of class periods, etc. He has a strong belief that educators should be using resources that allow them to interact with teachers and students from all over the world; not just down the hall.

As an administrator who has the opportunity to sit through 37 meetings a week; this was the best presentation that I have had the pleasure of hearing.

He had just the right amount of information, sprinkled with a little sarcasm and just a hint of anger.

Who am I kidding? He may be my biological father (I wonder if he has an alibi for New Year’s of 1967?).

Anyways, he was excellent. After sitting through 14 sessions, this was a welcome and much needed surprise.

Our school district won’t be able to implement everything he talked about at once, but we can work towards it slowly but surely.

I was so excited after listening to him, that I briefly considered flying to Boston to thank him. Then I remembered the hotel bed thing.

Maybe I will just call. Or Skype. Or maybe, he can just read this blog.

He is correct about one thing; the world is getting smaller. And the people that understand this best are our students.

I wonder if they understand the hotel bed thing.

If you get a chance to hear Mr. November present, run don’t walk. You won’t be sorry. Unless you have to stay in a hotel.

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Schools Need to Teach More Technology and Even More Importantly, Why I Hate Spelling.


Spelling Bee.I am here to push the nation’s schools forward with their use of technology. Sure it sounds like a big job, but society is in luck as I have 20 minutes to waste.

Yes, you read correctly, I am going to change the educational world in 20 minutes because I am bored (if it is any consulation, I am seeing a therapist…or 7).

It is possible that I am simply trying to fill up space on the Blog. Or I could be a raving lunatic administrator with anger issues. You can be the judge (my wife has already voiced her opinion… she said lunatic, with a little bit of sad and pathetic mixed in).

The question at hand (until I think of a better one on which to hyperfocus): Should schools spend more time teaching technology? And if so, what subject area should be dropped from the curriculum to make room for more time in the computer lab?

After mulling these two questions over for literally 19 seconds (I have a snazzy running watch with a timer) and poring over exactly no scientific evidence, I have come to the following conclusions.

I vote yes to more technology and vote to drop spelling like a bad habit (much like Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s wife is going to drop him once a huge settlement is reached).

You have probably noticed that my conclusions to complex problems are extremely well thought out. Or not. It is my Blog, so I feel comfortable drawing any conclusion I want with no regard to using an actual process (or facts… or common sense).

Why have I concluded schools need to teach more technology and less spelling? It is quite simple, really. Because technology is cool and I hate spelling.

You must admit, you don’t get this type of insight by taking college courses or by reading some of the fancy educational blogs.

In the last few years it has become apparent to me that some schools do not see the need to focus classroom time on technology.

I hate to break the news to everyone, but I am pretty sure technology isn’t a fad. I don’t think it is going to disappear in 3 years as educators move on to the next magic pill.

In my mind (however cloudy) it is more important than a pencil and a piece of paper.

It will not be a small part of our student’s lives; it will be their lives.

How do I know? Because everything we do in life is now based on technology.

Just a few examples are a trip to the ATM; banking on line; taking a trip by airplane; working on a car engine; renewing your drivers license; and using the internet as our #1 source for information.

All technology; all the time. How the world has changed in the last 10 years.

This doesn’t even take into account how blogs, podcasts, streaming videos, and text messaging are becoming part of our everyday lives.

Schools have to devote more time to technology. And it needs to be integrated into every subject area, preferably on a daily basis.

How can we do that without changing how we presently teach? We can’t. That is the point.

I say drop spelling. Do we need it? After all, technology provides us with spell check.

You have to admit, the English Language is a mess.

Plus spelling got on my bad side when my elementary teachers couldn’t explain the following:

-Why knife had to start with a k

-The word “One thousand” contains the letter A, but none of the words from one to nine hundred ninety-nine has an A (Google it)

-Or the most confusing sentence of my youth… They were too close to the door to close it.

It really is exhausting being me.

Spelling is an exercise in confusion. I say get rid of it.

Or, better yet we can teach students to spell by using technology (here is a free plug for SpellingCity.com).

I think I made my point and helped society, all in less than 20 minutes (without spell check, this Blog would have taken much longer, although it wouldn’t have made any more sense).

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Schools Have What They Want, But Not What They Need.


I constantly read newspaper articles regarding the government inadequately providing money to K-12 education.

This has made me wonder, how much money would it take before educators thought they had enough to guarantee success?

Schools are a business. Most people don’t think of them in that way, but they are.

We tend to view them differently than a grocery store, a gas station, a factory, or a construction company.

Education has more in common with these other businesses than most people think.This is My Money Bag.  I Don't Trust Banks.

School districts have a budget, employees, insurance, and customers. All issues that every business must face.

Since students are our customers, schools are guaranteed not to run out of business any time soon. This is a wonderful position in which to be placed, but it can also have a downside.

A guaranteed customer base has the tendency to promote bad service. If you don’t believe me think about cable companies, airlines, fast food restaurants, and auto dealerships.

When you think of these businesses, is your first thought; Wow, they have great employees who provide even greater service!! (or is it, in another sure fire sign that the world may end soon… that kid behind the counter can’t even make change)?

These businesses have tried to improve their service in the last few years, mainly because it was so poor. Actually, poor is not the right word. Horrendous fits better (I believe this to be true mainly because the kids at Taco Bell keep messing up my order).

Their challenge is that they provide items most people feel they must have. The bigger challenge is that the people will continue to purchase these items regardless of the quality of service.

Schools have to beware of falling into this trap. And it is an easy trap in which to fall when you know that you will always have a customer base.

The economic definition of business is the social science of managing people to organize and maintain collective productivity toward accomplishing particular creative and productive goals, usually to generate profit (man, I wish I could write sentences like this… not mine, Google it).

This definition can be applied to schools, except that we are not in the business of generating a profit but expanding a student’s knowledge (in theory… I am not counting that student from 3rd hour who drives you crazy).

Even though schools have an endless supply of customers, we do lack something. Most people involved in education think it is money, but I don’t believe that finances are our biggest challenge.

It is not that I wouldn’t take more money for my school; I just don’t think it is the solution for all of our problems.

While schools are a business, we are also a government entity.

Being part of the government is always a recipe for success. What could possibly go wrong when the government is involved? I have a warm and fuzzy feeling just thinking about it (this is a little something I like to call sarcasm).

Would every school in America be better off if our budget was doubled next year? If every teacher had their salary increased by $25,000? How about if administrators had better health insurance?

If all of these things happened, would students be smarter, better-rounded, produce higher test scores, and be more prepared for their lives after a K-12 education?

I think in the immediate future that more money would help to improve education, but in the long term, I am not so sure.

If educators had more money with which to work next year, we would be thrilled… for a while.

Then human nature would take over and we would want an even higher salary, an even better retirement plan, and more respect for all of the wonderful things that we do for students.

More money makes humans happy… in the short term.

It is similar to buying a new car. It is a fantastic feeling when you first get it, but as time goes on, it just becomes a car (when the new car smell goes, so does a small part of your love for it).

At first you wash the new car every weekend and treat it like a member of the family (one that you like), but over time we begin to take it for granted.

I think we would see the same type of reaction if educators had an unlimited supply of money. It would definitely be cherished in the moment, but time has a way of wearing down our appreciation.

Don’t get me wrong, schools could certainly fine a place for more money. There is no argument about this, but over the long haul something would still be missing.

I believe that the major thing that lacks in education that other businesses benefit from is competition.

That is the secret (in my mind, not necessarily in a “normal” persons mind).

Competition would benefit students more than testing, newer desks, technology, or even higher property taxes.

It is what pushes humans to be successful. It is difficult to be self-motivated enough to demand progress without competition.

Competition helps us judge one thing against another. That is why we keep score at games (except little kids’ soccer), give grades in class, and get a raise for working harder than other employees (except at schools).

Without the competitive factor, we give our best. At least what we think is our best. And that usually falls well short of what we could actually accomplish.

America is built on the idea that if you work harder then you can be better than your competition. And if you are better, you will be rewarded.

This has helped us build the greatest country in the world.

It could help us build the greatest K-12 educational system in the world. Or we can just continue to throw money at the problem.

Side note… Soccer team won 1-0 in our first game, but who is counting, because they don’t keep score. Except for the kids. They keep track to judge if they were successful or not.

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Life has a Funny Way of Choosing a Career for You.


I'm Still Searching for My Career.Every winter, I find myself asking our juniors and seniors what their plans are after (if, in some cases) they graduate.

Generally, I get the same answers; college, work, the military, get married, or the #1 most popular response… I don’t know.

As adults, whether we are administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, or parents; we all want a specific answer and an even more detailed plan on how students will accomplish their goals and become productive members of society.

We don’t want to send them into the future and have them change their mind 27 times (that being said, you know a lot of people go to college for 7 years… they are called doctors- Google it).

We want young people to pick a path in life and then stick to it.

This is well-intentioned advice, but how often does anyone pick a career in high school, and then actually stay with it for 40 years?

When I was in high school, my plan was… well I didn’t actually have a plan.

Come to think about it, I still don’t (mental note… come up with a career goal so that I can stop flopping around through life like a newly caught bluegill thrown onto the shore).

By the way, I think that was my first fishing reference (you have to admit…it was just a matter of time).

One of my greatest achievements in life is that I have never really looked for a job. Opportunities just seem to find me. If you are thinking that makes me kind of pathetic and extremely lucky… I would have to agree.

It does bring some excitement to my life. My anticipation builds as I wait until my next job finds me. Keep your fingers crossed, I am hoping for greens-keeper, neurosurgeon, typewriter repairman, or Mike Rowe’s sidekick.

Regrettably, I spend more time reading about career advice, then actually doing anything about it (pick a career blog… there are about a 1,000 of them).

As educators, we seem to push kids towards getting a four year college education. I think maybe because that was our plan (those of you who actually had one).

This is good advice, but lots of people are successful without graduating from college.

It doesn’t concern me if my plumber, mechanic, or cable guy didn’t do that well in high school Chemistry or English 4 class, or have a college education.

They have skills that I don’t. Sadly, they also probably did better than me in Chemistry and English, but that is not my point.

I often wonder if it is unrealistic to expect a 17 year old to have a plan. Most of them think the future is what will happen at lunch or right after school.

To expect them to map out a long term career goal while still a teenager seems like wishful thinking on our part.

I meet people everyday who are great at their jobs, but I don’t think they are necessarily working in a career that they considered in high school.

They probably had some idea of what they wanted to do after graduating, but life has a way of pushing us towards what we are meant to do.

Everyone’s career choice is much more complicated than meeting with the guidance counselor 3rd period and choosing one out of a book.

Money, relationships, children, health, etc. often send people into a career that they hadn’t thought of at the time of their high school graduation.

I think we might be better off having a system that has kids work in different vocational areas during high school which would give them options and ideas.

Then we could send them all to college for a year or two without having them declare a major.

That should be enough time and life experience to allow them to make educated decisions on their career paths.

Now that I have this educational problem solved, I think I will search the internet for a new car.

I’ve heard that neurosurgeons make really good money.

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School on Monday Would be Better if Super Bowl Sunday Was on Saturday.


NFL-SBMy longest title, for one of my shortest blogs.

I don’t have time to write because I have to get ready for a Super Bowl Party like the rest of the 301,139,947 people in America (Google it). This isn’t even counting our new friends from Canada.

My theory is that school and businesses suffer greatly on the Monday following the Super Bowl. If you don’t know why, you are attending the wrong Super Bowl party.

This coming week I can guarantee that every newspaper and news website will have a story on the lost amount of work hours and money that is directly related to people being tired (it is a family blog after all) from the effects of a Super Bowl Party.

I think I have a solution to this that will save everyone a lot of wasted time and money.

Make Super Bowl Sunday, Super Bowl Saturday.

Its genius lies in its simplicity.

I am surprised that corporations haven’t forced this on the NFL. If they have the game on Saturday, everyone is still going to watch and have a party. Who wants to miss a new million dollar commercial involving monkeys, Clydesdales, or Justin Timberlake?

Having the game one day earlier will help curtail people from calling in sick on Monday (no subs please), or showing up to work and accomplishing nothing but taking Advil and drinking coffee.

Schools will accomplish more with more focused employees, less sick days being used, and students who are not as tired.

So when the NFL finally makes the change to Saturday, remember you heard it here first.

Better yet, maybe schools could make Monday the official Super Bowl Holiday and I could have a four day weekend (I haven’t forgotten you Snow Day).

The fact that in America, we arbitrarily move holidays to ensure longer weekends drives me crazy. If it is important enough to celebrate, it is important enough to keep on the actual date (thanks for letting me get that off my chest). Enjoy the Super Bowl and cross your fingers for a commercial with talking monkeys. The best commercial will be posted on the front page of www.PrincipalsPage.com (where currently there is one about monkeys).

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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.