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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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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Society Has Gotten Too Fast.


I have a theory.Ferris is Cool.

Not because I’m smart, but because I’m old (two of the benefits of being old are you can say whatever you want… and eat dinner at 3:30 pm).

I think life is getting easier, but less enjoyable.

The interweb is great.  Stores being open 24/7 is wonderful.  Getting our news and weather whenever we want is nice.

Every day more and more things come along to make our existence more pleasant.

In theory.

Apps are nice.  Movies on demand are great.  Central air certainly has it perks.  Smartphones are cool.

There is no arguing technology is great.

But on the other side of the coin, everything happens all the time.

We’ve lost something.

And I think it’s free time.

Boredom is good because it makes you appreciate other experiences.

And in this day in age, I’m never bored.

Who has the time?

Between work and weekends that are busier than ever, there is no down time.

This weekend I ran (jogged… whatever) a half marathon.

I hadn’t trained nearly enough.  I had a bad foot (worse now).

Yet, I didn’t want to miss running (jogging… whatever… I get it).

Why?

Because I was so looking forward to the 2 hours with no phone.  Or email.  Or resposibilities.

Just running along with thousands of complete strangers who wouldn’t ask me a single question about anything important.

No responsibities other than putting one foot in front of the other (and not wetting myself… runners will understand).

This doesn’t happen often enough.

No, not running a half marathon.

Slowing down for two hours.  Or two minutes.

Maybe I need a skip day like Ferris.  Anyone want to go… Bueller, Bueller, Bueller… anyone?

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Technology in Schools Is a Fad. Trust Me.


Why are we still talking about this?  The constant conversation about the need for technology in schools. Schools Need Less Technology (Work With Me... I'm Making a Point).

Why are we still trying to convince teachers and administrators this is needed?

Some might even say it’s the wave of the future?  Crazy talk if you ask me.

Technology is the "next big thing".

Like automobiles.  Fire.  Batteries.  Movable type.  Bottled water.  Daily showers.

Trust me, these never caught on and neither will technology.

I think the naysayers are right.

Technology is a fad that will never last (like ballpoint pens, air conditioning, laser beams, and Subway… because who in their right mind would pay some  17-year old kid to make them a sandwich?).

There are educators out there who understand this.

They’ve seen this same type of thing happen time and again in education.   This too shall pass.

They are the ones leading the real charge.  They are the ones mumbling and looking at their watches during professional development.

They gather in the hallways (often during class time) and point out what’s wrong with this technology scenario.

Technology isn’t here for the long haul.

Sure, it’s caught our fancy for the moment, but it will disappear.  Trust them.

It’s time we stopped preaching to these people in our schools.  It’s time we followed them.

They are the visionaries.  They are the leaders.

They are the ones we should be following.

These forerunners will no longer hear me trying to bring them over to the side of technology.

From now on, I am all about paper and pencil.

It may not be what the kids want, but it’s what they need (and who knows better what the future needs than the past).

I owe so many people apologies.  I’m sending them all an email apology.

Now, if someone in their buildings would just help them check… because they are also the ones constantly telling me their email machine is broken.

And I for one, would hate for them to be left out.

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Discovery Techbook Review.


Since my trip to Washington, I’ve been very busy.It's the Future.

School.  School.  More school.

And avoiding hamburgers like the plague (which is what I thought I had… and mark my word, you do not want the plague).

Mowing my yard 14 times in March (global warming stinks… but it is a lot warmer).

I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about Discovery’s Techbook.

I didn’t want to rush right back and write a review.

My concern was I couldn’t do Discovery or the product justice (and I didn’t have time).

My initial reaction to the Techbook… I was just a little bit "under"whelmed.

I think I had my hopes set so high.  After all, this is the company that brought us Mike Rowe, Mythbusters, and American Chopper (by the way… props on the cardboard cutout of Paul Sr. at Discovery Headquarters).

I thought the Techbook would completely transform education.

Rock my world.  Like Poison or Motley Crue (the 80′s were a special time).

I was hoping for everything.

Complete and total transformation.  The universe would never be the same.

Like when ice cubes came along.  Or air conditioning. 

Cable TV.  Indoor plumbing.  McNuggets.  Shoe strings.  Underwear (seems weird, but try to imagine life without them).

Techbook was good.

Really good.

But I had my hopes up for iPad good.

That it would give me something I didn’t even know I needed.

Don’t get me wrong.  Discovery is on the right path.

It’s a company with really smart people who really care about education.  And storms (they like to chase them).

I was just hoping they would jump 20 years into the future.  Call me impatient.

I was impressed enough we hope to try out the Science Techbook in my school.

There is no doubt digital textbooks are the future.

I’m just hoping the future gets here quicker than probably is possible.

My suggestion:  if your school is thinking about buying textbooks… don’t.  Until you try Techbooks.

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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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College Professors and Twitter.


This is a bad sign.Actually... It's 5,330 At Last Count.

I have over 5,300 followers on Twitter.

Why?  I assume they have bad taste and not enough hobbies, but that’s another blog.

Most people seem to follow because occassionally I will comment on education topics (mostly I provide updates on Buddy the Dog, my new TV show, and express my anger that our next President may be named Newt).

My followers include college students, teachers, principals, assistant principals, superintendents, and parents.

I just about forgot… nearly 73% of my Twitter followers are hardcore gangbangers who are doing time in federal prison (and I would like to add… for crimes they didn’t commit)

What bothers me about this situation isn’t the drug trafficking across state lines, but the fact that I have exactly 0 Twitter followers who are College Education Professors.

Yes, I said 0 (typed… whatever).

Wouldn’t you think someone… somewhere…  would be a college professor with time on their hands who might want to follow other educators on Twitter?

It worries me that the people teaching the next generation of teachers and administrators may not be using technology at the same rate as other educators.

And more importantly, students.

Since there is always room for more followers, you can find me @principalspage.

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Why Has This Blog Been on Vacation? Ask My Computer.


This is one of those blogs only I care about (but this works out well because it is my blog).

Let’s just get this out in the open.

No need to sugarcoat things.

We‘re big boys and girls after all. (if you are under 18 and reading this… get a life).

I can no longer coexist under the present circumstances in which I am forced to live.

Sure, I can put on a happy face.broken-laptop1

I can act like everything is okay.

In fact, I don’t mind saying I feel some pressure to do just that.

Pretend like things are great.  Pretend like things are wonderful.

Act like we are the happiest couple in town.

Well, we’re not.

And I’m tired of living a lie.

Sorry, you had to read it here but you’ll eventually get over it.

After the tears.

And the sleepless nights.

And of course, the self-loathing.

All stages I’ve had to work through.

Well, here it is.

I hate my computer.

Hate it.  Hate it.  Hate it.

I know you aren’t supposed to hate things (except for Hitler, door-to-door salesmen,  stubbing your toes, people who tailgate you on the interstate, and diarrhea).

Well, I hate my computer.

And all of those things listed above (especially the last one… which is incredibly funny if someone else has it).

My whole life is on my computer and yet it fails me at every turn.

Have a big report due?  Computer isn’t working.

Leave the computer on the bed for 2 short days and what happens?  Buddy the Dog eats the N and the M keys.

Have a PowerPoint presentation to give to 200 people?  Computer ate it.

Need to write another low-level mindless blog?  Computer won’t hook up to the internet.

I’m in the habit of writing(?) a bad blog every 3 days.  If I don’t, I get jumpy.

And you don’t want to see me jumpy.

Now, you might be asking yourself, why do I need the internet to write a mildly amusing (only to me) blog?

I don’t.

I just like to check out www.espn.com a couple thousand times instead of doing something productive (by the way, you’re welcome for the free plug ESPN).

The point is, my computer is only broken when I need it the most.

I don’t like this.

I don’t like it one bit.

My iPad never lets me down.  It always works.

So consider this a warning laptop computer.

You are officially on notice.  Get your crap together, or else I just might start using a Mac.

My love for technology is turning to hate.  Luckily for me, I realize the first step to recovery is admitting I have a problem.

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Generation Z: Their Learning Will Never End.


I’ve got bad news.

No, it’s not school is about to start (bad news for some… good news for moms).GenZ2

The world is changing.

Yes, you heard it here first (actually, you’ve probably already heard… but amuse me).

The world is changing.

Actually, it’s already changed. 

My best guess is the end of the world I grew up with died around the year 2000 (excuse me for not noticing… I was a little preoccupied by Y2K).

This means the new world has been around for roughly a decade (feel free to check my math).

And sadly, like far too many educators, I’m just now figuring it out.

Our children have moved on without us (not like the glorious day when the Evil Spawn moves out of my house… that’s an entirely different special occasion).

Kids today no longer want to play by our rules.

They don’t understand why schools are locked up at 3:30 and on weekends.

They don’t understand why computer labs contain equipment that is inadequate compared to what they use at home (and in the car).

They don’t understand why they’re constantly told to read more, yet school libraries are inaccessible for 3 months during the summer.

They don’t understand why teachers and administrators are given the option of improving their own technology skills.

They don’t understand why so many adults in charge of their education still seem to think PowerPoint is cutting edge (and while I’ve got your attention… if you still feel the need to use PowerPoint… stop using 18,000 words per slide!).

They don’t understand tenure or salary schedules.

But they do understand learning doesn’t begin and end for them at school.

Their education isn’t tied to a bell schedule or holiday breaks.

They know their education isn’t better because of worksheets, memorization, or mandated testing.

They get it.

They know what we still seem to be confused by.

They don’t need us.

The don’t need brick buildings that are only open 7 hours a day.

They have the internet.

And curiosity.

They’re going to learn with or without our help.

And the learning process is not going to stop for them after 8th grade.  Or high school.  Or even college.

They’re smarter than us right now.

And they’re going to be a lot smarter than us in 50  years.

The future isn’t coming, it’s already arrived.

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How a Copier Works.


Once again, a PrincipalsPage.com Blog reader steps up and teaches me something.

I will no longer spend sleepless nights pondering the mysteries of the copier.

 

 

Every time someone sends me something, I get just a little smarter.

Thank you reader.

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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.