The Educational Community has a Lot of Experts. I’m Not One of Them, but I am Available for Hire.

This Guy is an Expert in Something.  Not Sure What... But Definitely an Expert.As I was contemplating the 100th Blog (this is it, please send your congratulatory packages and emails in the next week or so), several things crossed my mind.

One, I spend way too much time contemplating. But, lucky for me I continue to have lots of free time.

Two, 100 Blogs are 99 more than I thought I could write. Turns out having a Blog is much like going to college. You don’t have to be overly smart, you just have to turn the TV off every so often and show up (or at least be bright enough to schedule around The Price is Right).

This plan worked in college as I received my degrees, and it seems to be working with the Blog. My intention is to stick with this plan and ride it out until it fails me.

The really nice thing about my slopping (I mean writing) the Blog (not counting the large salary, benefit package, and company car) is that I am my own boss.

No deadlines. No expectations of actually doing something productive. No one evaluating my performance (other than some harshly worded emails, but I forgive you).

I may have mentioned this before, but the Blog was started simply to drive a little traffic to the website ( It was my hope that this resource would occasionally benefit an administrator or two who needed a little help writing a letter, or finding a form.

Since that was such a small goal, I think I can say it has been accomplished. Plus, since no one is evaluating me; everything I do; I get to think is great.

During my extensive contemplating (aka: working in the yard), something else occurred to me.

In the last 5 years, I have had the opportunity to attend a lot of meetings, panel discussions, and conferences.

In conclusion, I dislike them all immensely; the meetings, the speakers, the subjects, the bad breakfast food, and above all – the chairs.

The older I get, the more important it is that I have a comfortable chair.

The doorbell just rang and after writing that sentence I’m a bit afraid it might be Death at my front door.

The reason for my distaste of meetings and everything they entail is that I am genuinely surprised when the guest speaker is good. My expectation level has been beaten down to the point that I am ecstatic if they are just mediocre.

Anything less than them being horrendous is a victory in my mind.

All of the speakers are self-appointed experts in their fields. They get paid loads of money to stand up and talk for 2 hours and I am forced to sit there listening (in an uncomfortable chair).

The meeting could be about RtI, special education, insurance, technology, curriculum, Title I, or pest management; but the quality of speaker is usually the same (Except when the presenter is my wife speaking about the use of technology. Always a great presentation!)

That is why I am anointing myself an educational expert on… Nothing. Yes, that’s right, I am officially the first expert on Nothing.

I will come and speak to your school or organization for a large sum of money (plus mileage) about Nothing as it relates to education.

That way the people who have to sit through my presentation won’t be disappointed. The can expect Nothing and that is exactly what they will get. Plus, if they are early they may have a bagel.

I have to go as I think my phone just rang. (Hope it isn’t Death calling to tell me he’ll be back tomorrow since I didn’t answer the door earlier!)

This Blog was written under duress. My wife only agreed to proofread it, if I added one sentence. She won’t allow me to say which one.

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Will I Ever Run Out of Things That Bug Me? Talk Amongst Yourselves.

I have some thoughts that I need to get out of my head. Hopefully when they are out in the open, I can then move on with my life.

Please feel free to discuss (or not, if you insist on not being a team player).

The school year has gone by so quickly. Every year that I work in education this seems to happen at a faster pace.

I have come to grips with the idea that I have to get older each year (beats the alternative) and that the school days are going to fly by quickly. I just don’t like it.

Some may think this is why I am grumpy. But let’s not kid ourselves; I was grumpy way before this started happening.Some Things Just Bug Me.

Early in my career I would start a countdown to summer as soon as the calendar hit March. Now I wish it will all just slow down.

It is almost like I want the school year to last longer or not (let’s all keep our heads before we say something foolish).

Yet, on the other hand I feel like winter has been here forever. I am ready for spring and warmer weather (which brings the end of school).

As you can see, I am a torn man. It is not easy being me (or green, I have heard).

Another thing that I have had to make peace with is wearing a suit each day. I am a huge proponent of teachers and administrators dressing and looking like professionals.

My belief is that we must separate ourselves from the students. To be treated and respected, we must dress the part.

Yet, I hate dressing up with a passion. When it is time to get my school clothes ready each evening, I am overtaken by sadness (or it could be laziness, it’s hard to tell).

The first thing I am going to do after I cash in a winning lottery ticket is burn all of my dress clothes.

Technically that will be the second thing. The first will be to buy a $50 tie and strangle the guy who invented ties (this is not a threat as I am assuming this gentleman passed away long ago… it is getting harder and harder to gain approval on these blogs from the legal department).

Again I am torn. Big fan of professionalism, yet hate ironing. Hope to win the lottery and live happily ever after, yet capable of attacking an innocent inventor. I live a complicated life.

Lastly, it is time for March Madness. You might think I am going to write about how this is such an exciting time for the whole country. Nope.

Or how there will finally be something decent to watch on television. Again no.

I prefer to focus (my anger) on the fact that for the next week we will all be subjected to news stories on one topic.

Not the “student” athletes participating in the tournament. Not the exciting finishes to the early games. Not even the small schools that will get some much needed publicity and a chance to shine in front of a huge audience.

Those are all nice, but they don’t bug me (hence, a boring blog… and we can’t have that).

The story we will all have to hear and read about is the one about how employees watching NCAA basketball games at work will cost businesses 957 quadrillion dollars.

Who is the nerd who decides this? Does anyone double-check his math?

Why can’t they just let us be happy for a couple of weeks? Why do all newscasts have to lead with stories about fires, accidents, what the local school district is doing wrong, and how much money IBM is losing because the janitor is watching Tennessee vs. American University (by the way my money is on a scrappy American U. squad… go Eagles!).

Feel free to talk about these topics amongst yourselves. I have to go iron my clothes and watch the news.

Another weekend has flown by and tomorrow is a school day.

And I am sad? Or lazy? Again, hard to tell.

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Schools Need to Teach Common Sense Along with Math and English.

Say What You Want... These Guys Are Go Getters.Public education has changed in the last 5 years.

Government has done a good (please feel free to replace good with poor, less than adequate, terrible, dreadful, completely appalling, or pathetic) job at dictating what curriculum schools must teach.

I believe that educators need guidelines in the area of curriculum, but there is something that we should be mandated to teach; yet it continues to be overlooked.

Common sense.

English, math, and science are important areas for students to master. But isn’t common sense an even more important skill to learn before graduates head off into the world?

I believe that most people think you are either born with common sense or you are not. You have the gift or you don’t. It is not something that can be learned.

I disagree.

I think it is time that schools recognize the importance of teaching this skill. We must do a better job of preparing our students for the future.

Why is this so important?

We are teaching a generation that is going to take care of me in a nursing home one day in the near future, and their poor judgment frightens me. I want to make sure the person changing my diaper has a good head on their shoulders.

We have to find the time in school schedules to teach common sense.

Our country can’t continue to parade students through graduation ceremonies who lack this basic skill.

Examples of our societies pathetic mastery of common sense is all around us.

We live in a world where people buy bottled water. Why? Walk over to the sink and turn on the faucet. It is the same water. And it’s free (basically free, don’t email).

Just because they put a mountain on the label doesn’t mean the water is from some mystical mountain spring.

It doesn’t come from Colorado; it comes from a garden hose in a factory in New Jersey. And I am willing to bet the guy running the hose hasn’t even washed his hands.

If more people had common sense they would notice that EVIAN spelled backwards is NAIVE.

If that isn’t enough to convince you to join my movement to add a Common Sense Class to every school curriculum, I have more.

My truck’s service manual says to change the oil every 5,000 miles. So why is it that I change it every 3,000 miles? The answer is that I have no common sense.

Actually, I do this because some 17 year old kid with grease all over his shirt (with his name above the pocket) puts a sticker on my windshield. I must follow his directions, or my truck engine will blow up. I have no common sense.

Lack of common sense mistakes are all around us.

Neck tattoos. Why do people think these will stand the test of time? My ties look out of style in 9 months. A tattoo of Bugs Bunny on the side of your head doesn’t show much common sense (or fashion sense).

The buying of houses that are too big and unaffordable is yet another example. Who needs 5 bathrooms, and more importantly who is going to clean them? Just because your friends have a brand new house doesn’t mean you need one. Use some common sense.

Americans are not taking care of their health. We spend trillions of dollars fighting illnesses. Why don’t we spend that money on prevention instead of trying to cure what has already happened? No common sense.

As soon as you’re done reading this, put down the donut and take a walk.

People are making more and more mistakes that prove our lack of common sense skills.

We don’t save enough of our paychecks for a rainy day. We put what should be embarrassing pictures of ourselves on MySpace. We spend time watching Brittany Spears’s life go into the dumpster instead of reading a book.

We buy permanent life insurance when term life is what we need. We supersize our fast food meals, simply because it seems cheaper (with no regard to its effect on our impending death).

We waste time watching TV or reading blogs instead of something more productive (okay bad example… I do love that Mike Rowe).

Schools have to step forward and save us from ourselves. We can be taught common sense and we can’t afford to wait.

In education we feed kids twice a day, look after their health, teach them to drive, help them get into college, provide extracurricular opportunities, discipline them, and test them and then test them some more.

Surely, we have time to teach common sense. We have to do this for the good of society.

And more importantly we must do this for my sake.

I am not getting any younger. Every day I am inching closer to that nursing home.

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Sleep is a Mysterious and Complicated Mistress.

I Should Sleep So Well.The funny thing about sleep (or not, as always you get to decide) is that while it is very important in keeping a person productive, it is also a colossal waste of time.

While most would agree about it being a waste of time (we sleep about 1/3 of our lives- Google it), it is as important as any human activity; including the consumption of food and water.

Just so you don’t think you’re wasting more of your life reading this blog, I would like to provide you with some extra knowledge. Over the course of our lives we drink about 16,000 gallons of water and by the age of 60 we lose about half of our taste buds.

These 2 fun facts tell us three things; one, I know a lot of worthless junk that is in no way helpful to society and in fact only clogs up my brain. Sadly, this doesn’t allow me to remember more important items such as the date of my wedding anniversary or what I said out loud 11 minutes ago (seriously, I can’t remember if I said something or I just heard a voice in my head, but I think I have mentioned this before… or not, I can’t remember).

Secondly, the water thing also explains why as I get older I have to use the restroom 212 times a day. Lastly, it’s no wonder I like broccoli more and more as time passes (sorry, people who make their money from selling broccoli… please don’t email).

Lots of people love sleeping, but wish they could get by with less or even better; no sleep at all.

I must admit that I am one of those people.

I have been wondering how much more productive I could be if I didn’t have to go to sleep. There are so many things that I could accomplish; like watching more TV (like Talk Soup… now that guy is funny), reading the classics (or more newspapers), and exercising less (okay, bad example).

Sleep is a huge time killer and an annoying interruption in the day. However, I love it.

I hate to admit it but, the highlight for me on most days is going to sleep.

I find nothing better than going through an average day, accomplishing a tenth of what I need to, and then wrapping it all up by going to sleep.

Sometimes, I think the one thing that is even better than a good night’s sleep is a 20 minute nap in the Mancave.

For those of you unfamiliar with the definition of Mancave, congratulations you have just stumbled upon another learning opportunity.

A Mancave is a basement (preferably, but family room or garage will do) that is cold, isolated, and has a big TV (no Oprah… ever) while also having a recliner or couch.

Bonus points for a refrigerator and bathroom nearby (that 16,000 gallons has to go somewhere). And most importantly, no girls allowed ever, unless they have an invitation (exceptions for people who are related to me or delivering pizza).

So there you have it, I have a somewhat perplexing love/hate relationship with sleep. I need it and would like to cut back, but I think I am hooked. That is why it is such a mysterious and complicated mistress.

While we are talking about sleep, I wish I could bottle the feeling that you get on workdays, where you wake up and it feels like you could stay in bed forever. Why is it that

I don’t get that same feeling on weekends or school holidays when I can lay there as long as I want?

I guess the moral to the story (or blog) is sleep is simply a necessary evil.

On the positive side, there is nothing better than falling asleep watching Mike Rowe.

Since I have admitted having this complicated mistress, should I be worried about my wife running away with Mr. Dreams?

She does love sleeping and now that I think about it, she sure does talk about him a lot…

By the way, I hope you didn’t Google the fact that we sleep 1/3 of our lives… do the math… 8 hours a day… 24 hours in day…. that is 33%… come on, you’re better than that. Obviously, this blog isn’t big in the math department.

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Thanksgiving is Over, TV Stinks, and I Have a Man Crush.

Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs.Now that Thanksgiving is over, I thought I would watch some TV. Turns out there is nothing on, because television stinks.

What other industry in the last 20 years has grown and diversified like television, but has steadily gotten worse?

I think we were all better off back in 1980 when I was a kid. We lived in the country and had a TV antenna that provided us with four television stations. Of course this could change if it was raining, then we might pick up additional stations or have none at all- it was a roll of the dice.

Maybe I am getting old and cranky (who am I kidding?….maybe?… more like definitely), but I think TV was better when we had less choices.

I have no idea what is on TV tonight, but I can still remember what was on when I was 12 or 13. That would have been somewhere around 1979 or 1980 (please feel free to check and see if my memory is as good as I want to believe it is- although I can never find my truck keys or remember what day of the month it is).

On Sundays, I watched Disney’s Wonderful World, Chips, and Trapper John M.D. I would have preferred staring at Charlie’s Angels, but my mom considered that pornography. She was right, but I would have still loved to have a Farrah Fawcett poster or t-shirt (for you youngsters- she was hot before bad plastic surgery and the insanity set in).

Mondays were all about That’s Incredible and Monday Night Football. Where have you gone John Davidson and Fran Tarkenton? The football game was a huge deal, because this was before you could watch 20 pro and college games every week on TV.

Arguably, Tuesdays were the best television night of the week. Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Three’s Company (funny and rude, although I didn’t get the rude part back then- evidently my mom didn’t get it either or this would have also been considered pornographic).

Wednesdays brought us Eight is Enough or Real People, Different Strokes, and Facts of Life (this was before all the kids on these shows were on drugs). As I got older, I would also watch Vegas or Quincy (Quincy was old, grouchy, and cool- he was CSI before Grissom).

Thursdays were the next best thing after Tuesdays. Our viewing choices were Mork and Mindy, Bosom Buddies, and Magnum P.I. (man those guys were cool- although in retrospect, Magnum’s shorts could also be considered pornographic).

Four words sum up Fridays- The Dukes of Hazzard. Magnum was cool, but couldn’t hold a candle to Bo and Luke. They gave country boys the hope that they too could be cool (all we needed was a fast car and some flannel shirts- scratch that we already had the flannel). Plus they had Daisy and that in combination with puberty was a recipe for disaster. It is my understanding that “Daisy Duke” in French means- pornographic.

Saturday was Barbara Mandrell and her less talented sisters (dad controlled the TV on Saturdays). Don’t even get me started on Hee Haw (Sunday nights I think- maybe that is why I still dread Sunday nights- this is like therapy).

Back then TV had fewer choices, but I think it was so much better. When you went to school everyone had watched the same thing, so we all had that in common. Maybe having 500 stations isn’t such a great idea.

HD is nice, but it doesn’t make a bad show any better.

Now that I am older and have all of these stations to watch, I have no idea what is on.

The only day I even feel the need to watch is on “Man”day’s (that is Monday for those of you who don’t live in my house). Prison Break, Heroes, and 24 are the only shows I have to watch. Except for…

my friend, my pal, my hero, my man crush- Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs. If he is on, I am watching. If you have no idea who I am talking about, you have my condolences on the sad and pathetic life you are stumbling through.

Mike Rowe is a hunk of man candy and without a doubt a genius. He goes around the country helping regular people do their terrible, often unappreciated jobs and he gets paid (I am guessing a lot) for it.

I wish he was my neighbor, but it is probably for the best that he isn’t. I would stalk him and he would probably never be home anyway.

There are a ton of bad jobs out there for him to shadow. And as long as there continues to be 500 stations with nothing on, there will always be a place for Mr. Rowe.

And with my luck, my next neighbor will be Mr. Roper or Ralph Furley.

Please feel free to Google: John Davidson, Fran Tarkenton, Mike Rowe, Mr. Roper, Ralph Furley, or any other pathetic 80’s or TV references that I have made. I am sure you won’t be alone. Please don’t Google pornography on my time. Thank You.

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Why Does Everyone Need a Villain?

Everyone Hates a Villian, But Everyone Needs a Villian.The older I get, the more I wonder why everyone needs someone at which to be mad. Sometimes I think this type of attitude has replaced baseball (really football) as our national pastime.

Think about it. Everyone is pitted against someone.

Children vs. Parents. Parents vs. Teachers. Teachers vs. Children, Parents, and Administrators. Administrators vs. Everyone (sorry, it’s been a long week). Workers vs. Bosses and Bosses vs. Workers. Democrats vs. Republicans. Unions vs. Employers. George Bush vs. Iraq. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Cops vs. Robbers. Rapper vs. Rapper. Me vs. Soccer Guy and Teacher who can’t make popcorn. James Bond vs. Evil Guy who is usually holding a cat (you will never find a dog lover who wants to rule the world). And finally, Rosie vs. Donald Trump (actually, bad example, I just went too far- please file this one under no one cares).

I could go on and on.

Now, admittedly this is not always true. But, you must admit it is true more times than not.

You have a better chance of hearing a Democratic politician bad mouth a Republican politician than saying something nice and respectful. Unions need issues to rail against, or else what is the point of participating in a union? We watch movies to see the good guy win. Sports fans root for their team and against another team they hate.

Without the Red Sox, what fun is it to be a Yankee fan? We evidently need these opponents in our lives. If I suddenly decide to like sports where you can’t use your hands or I begin to like the smell of burnt popcorn, I will personally lose 2/3 of my best material.

People barely care about Rosie and Donald Trump, but somehow when they dislike each other they become slightly more interesting.

The question is why does it have to be this way? Are humans incapable of being happy unless they are a little unhappy? Sorry, I just went a little Carrie Bradshaw on you (if you missed this one, you obviously have basic cable).

Do we always have to have a villain? Is it possible that this feeling makes us strive for better and work harder and do our best?

Maybe there is an actual scientific reason. Maybe our bodies need the adrenaline rush we get when we are angry or don’t like something. Maybe, just maybe it is simpler and we just enjoy being mean to each other.

More likely, we just need to get over ourselves and act a little nicer. We should all take a moment, stop by the kindergarten room, and follow their lead.

Respect other adults, play with everyone, share our toys, say thank you and please, don’t hit each other, hold hands, kiss and hug our loved ones, drink our milk, and take a nap about 1:30.

If you remember these few rules, I will still give you permission to dislike Rosie or Trump- your choice, because they are both idiots.

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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.