Teacher vs. Principal’s Evaluations. They’re Just Different.

Back to School.  Some are Happy.  Some are Sad.School is about to start.

This means a variety of things. The first thing it means is I’m already way behind schedule.

And secondly, I am getting grumpy. Or grumpier (see I’m falling hopelessly behind… how is it possible for this to be happening and school hasn’t even started???).

Even worse… stores all across America are putting school supplies on SALE.

This is code for: they would rather get rid of these pencils than count them.

Everything must go.

Paper, binders, book bags, erasers, glue sticks, and a bunch of other stuff that will eventually be lost or thrown away (don’t parents wonder where all the stuff they paid for goes??)

If you don’t believe me visit your local school’s lost and found… it has more merchandise than a Wal-mart.

Things are changing. School starts in a month (for every worried school administrator there are 400 moms filled with joy).

How is all of this possible?

Stores need to make room for the Christmas items. This my friends is a sad commentary on our society.

Before I can focus on the impending holiday season (only 5 shopping months left!), I need to get school started.

This is a complicated process.

Hiring teachers, assigning students to classes, buying some new ties… the list goes on and on.

Once the students arrive, there are certain things that have to be done.

This includes the E word.

I am almost hesitant to type it because it’s so heinous.

If you are easily offended this might be the time to look away… or at least send the kids out of the room.

Here it goes. You’ve been warned.


There I said it (or typed it…).

It’s amazing how many people dread the thought of being evaluated.

And it’s not just teachers. Bus drivers, custodians, coaches, and even principals dread them.

You would think principals wouldn’t mind. Especially since they spend their days evaluating others (and chasing down that kid who stopped up the sink in the bathroom with paper towels).

The others I refer to are mostly teachers.

Some teachers don’t exactly enjoy evaluations. That’s understandable because it’s strange to have someone in your classroom that normally is not there.

Especially when they are taking notes as the teacher is trying to teach a room full of students who know the principal is taking notes.

It’s just not natural (much like expecting a junior high boy not to talk when there’s a sub).

Evaluations must be done, but they are still a little odd.

Most teachers view evaluations as a necessary evil they must experience once a year or even every couple of years.

The good news is teachers are usually evaluated under the best possible circumstances.

They have the opportunity to prepare and make a special lesson.

If all goes well the principal sees them under the best conditions. They are evaluated when they should be at their best.

Principal’s evaluations are different.

And this is something all new principals should know.

They won’t be evaluated when they are at their best. They will be evaluated starting the day they are hired.

And they won’t be evaluated by just one person. They will be evaluated by an entire community.

More importantly, this happens when they aren’t at their best. They will be evaluated when they are at their worst.

Like when they are nervous, mispronounce a name, forget a meeting, wear brown shoes with black trousers, dribble food all over their shirt, or even when they walk down the hall with their dress shirt caught in their fly (I can assure you none of these have ever happened to me… as far as you know).

Principal’s evaluations never formally start and they certainly never end.

So good luck.

But don’t worry. You should be fine.

Just remember to check your fly before you walk down the hallway (and yes, I learned this the hard way).

If you need me I will be doing all of my Christmas shopping this year out of Lost and Found. I have my eye on 12 jackets, 27 t-shirts, 3 pairs of glasses, some tube socks, and a pair of Pittsburgh Steelers sweat bands. Some of them don’t even smell… that bad.

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Change. Maybe It’s Not Such a Bad Idea After All.

General Eric Shinseki.From our friend Angie.

Here is my favorite change quote of all time:

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

-Gen. Eric Shinseki

I have got to figure out a way to work this one into conversation.

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I Hope You Voted.

Most readers (which now number in the almost a lot) of the PrincipalsPage.com Blog seem to work in or around education.

As educators (or in the vicinity of education), I think we have a responsibility to vote. I could make the case that we have the right not to vote, but this election was too important to sit on the sidelines and watch.

History was being made and we had the opportunity to be a small part of it.Vote.  It's a Privilege.

If you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent… I hope you voted.

Now, time will tell if we made the right choice.

And if we didn’t, we will have the chance to vote again in 2012.

This is a great country.

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School Administrators Joke #2: Be Careful What You Ask Elementary Students.

It Never Hurts to Laugh.Here is another joke about principals in what is quickly becoming a continuing series (if you consider 2 to be a series). I may be on to something here (if I’m not, at least it makes for an easy blog).

The Joke…

As the assembly was about to begin, Mr. Jones, the elementary principal decided to start it off by saying something encouraging to his student body.

In the last year, the school had seen their test scores improve dramatically, so he wanted to compliment the students on their intelligence.

As he walked on stage and looked out into the crowd of 300 elementary students, he couldn’t have been more proud. He walked up to the podium, grabbed the microphone and asked “Who is smart? Please, put up your hand.”

All the students except one raised their hand. Little Timothy was the only one to sit there and just stare at Mr. Jones.

So the principal asked, “Timothy, why aren’t you raising your hand?

The little boy responded “Because if I raise my hand than you’ll be all alone.”

Again, always keep in mind that they are not laughing with us, but at us. And by they, I mean everyone.

Some will say that I am just being paranoid. I beg to differ. Paranoia is often confused with common sense.

And if everyone is out to get you (even the elementary kids) it is not paranoia, it’s only good common sense.

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Goodbye Old Friend. I Would Call You if I Could.

I am taking my own advice and moving forward with technology. It was time to take a big step forward instead of sticking with what was comfortable.

In these situations, often times a sacrifice has to be made, so today I tossed out one of my oldest friends, my appointment book.

It has served me well for the last 5 years. It is almost as old as the unemployed child who lives in my house. Now that I think about it, I got more work out of the book than I get out of her. Maybe I should have kept the book.My New Favorite Toy.

It has done everything that I could have asked. It has kept me organized and on time for meetings, games, and other school events (well usually… sometimes I get lost on the way, but I don’t think I can blame the book).

But things are changing.

Last night, we purchased my first Smart Phone. I say we, because while the phone is for me to use, my wife will have to be on constant standby to address any technology issues.

For those of you thinking what’s a Smart Phone? Well, it is a cell phone, PDA, camera, and 914 other gadgets that I will never use.

One of the worlds’ great mysteries to me is why we all need a camera on our cell phones. Are people talking, then suddenly stop and take pictures, then go back to talking?

This journey into the world of Smart Phones started because my wife needed a new cell phone (the Queen of Technology has never had a new cell phone, go figure).

She has owned the same cell phone for the last 32 years. It was evidently placed in her crib when she first came home from the hospital.

It had gotten to the point where it would only hold a battery charge for about 45 seconds. To get reception, you had to actually climb about 120 feet up a cell phone tower (and hold your head at just the right angle).

If you were lucky and the wind was blowing just the right direction, you might be able to talk to someone.

If the phone rang, she was never sure whether it was for her or one of our neighbors down the road (that is a party line joke and if you need it explained, ask your grandparents).

This phone predates the bag phones by about 15 years (ask Grandpa about bag phones).

It is the only cell phone that still used a rotary dial. Sadly, as I write this it occurs to me that anyone under the age of 25 doesn’t get the rotary dial reference (again, call grandpa… or text if he is really cool).

I knew the phone was old, but to see the look on the salesman’s face at the store when she handed it to him was priceless.

Plus, it was a special bonus in seeing his excitement as he skipped around the store showing other employees. It was like he had just discovered an expensive antique in his grandmother’s attic.

Anyways, this 12 year old salesman helped us purchase our new phones. He reminded me of Doogie Howser, but younger.

This kid has less education than me and is a third of my age, yet he has forgotten more about technology than I will ever know.

And that is the challenge we all face in education world.

How do we keep up with technology and more importantly, how do we keep up with kids who have a base of knowledge that we will never have.

I don’t have the answer. Maybe I should call Doogie at the Verizon Store.

Or better yet, I will just drop by tomorrow and see if he can show me how to turn my new Smart Phone on.

And yes, I will take a picture of him.

The new phone just rang. I wish I knew if it was a call, a text, an alarm, or a reminder that I am late to a meeting.

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Gas Prices are Bad, but Razor Blades are Worse.

Americans have made a sport of complaining about the price of gas in this country. I have spent an enormous amount of time (actually very little) analyzing, studying, and contemplating this problem.

I am now ready to offer a solution (in the last couple paragraphs… don’t skip ahead… you’re on the honor system and you don’t want to be thrown out of the circle of trust).

We live in a great country with good jobs and a standard of living that the rest of the world would give anything to attain.

Now don’t get me wrong, America has its share of challenges and problems. In a democracy there are always going to be issues that need to be addressed.

I think we are probably more aware of our problems because the political party not in power is very willing to point them out. Razor Blades are Expensive.  Beards are Cheaper.

If only they were in charge, things could be improved overnight. This last sentence was written by a person who believes that on every ballot there should be 3 choices: a Democrat, a Republican, and a – None of the Above- (too bad we can’t have a President None of the Above).

I think we are obsessed with the price of gas because we are inundated with its ever changing price. You can’t drive 3 blocks without seeing a giant sign with the latest price of gas. Every time it increases 10 cents, we are all in for a bad day and a mild case of depression (meanwhile whoever invented the $2.84.9 is a genius).

This makes it a constant topic of discussion at school, work, or wherever angry Americans who don’t want to pay more for gas gather.

If other products advertised in the same way as gas stations do, our society would become enamored and obsessed and angry with those products.

If the price of bottled water, oil changes, haircuts, bread, milk, or razor blades were posted on 4 foot signs every 3 blocks wouldn’t we tend to direct our hate at those companies?

Gas prices are bad, but the cost of 5 disposable razor blades is the closest thing to highway robbery that I have ever experienced. When I have to buy them, it is like my own personal mugging at Wal-greens (insert your favorite drug store here).

I have to admit that just thinking about purchasing razor blades makes me feel violated and dirty (you have no right to treat me like a piece of meat Gillette people!!!!)

We need to get over the whole gas price thing. We live in a country where middle-class families live in $250,000 homes with 5 bathrooms and yet we think the world is coming to an end when gas tops $3.00 a gallon.

Don’t get me wrong, I would like to pay less for gas but I realize it is my choice.

It’s not the President’s fault, the government’s fault, or even the fault of the countries in the Middle East. It is my/our fault.

Are the gas companies gouging us, price fixing, and generally charging whatever they want and making billions of dollars doing so?


But ultimately, it is our fault. We continue to drive large vehicles that use a lot of gas. We think nothing of making 4 trips a day instead of combining our errands.

We live 30-40 minutes away from our jobs and think nothing of it. We will drive 30 miles to shop, get a haircut, see a movie, or eat at an Applebee’s (or Ruby Tuesday’s, or O’Charley’s. or TGIFriday’s, or a thousand other restaurants- they are all the same if you haven’t noticed).

So here is your solution. Drive less in a smaller vehicle. When we do, gas prices will drop. Until then, we might as well get over it.

Now I have to go gas my Ford F-150. I need to run to town because I forgot something on my first 3 trips.

Man, gas is expensive. I don’t think I can afford to shave tomorrow.

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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.