I Have Been Called Many Things. The Good News is I Have a Title for My Autobiography.

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When you are a school administrator there is a slight chance that people might not like you.

Of course, this is a very slight chance. If you are just starting your administrative career, please don’t be alarmed.

In most cases you will be honored, respected, and beloved.


The truth is from time to time people are going to be upset with you. But this only happens occasionally.

By occasionally, I mean when school is in session. Or out of session. Or when they can call get a hold of you by phone (usually during your dinner). Or better yet, when they see you at the grocery store, gas station, or a funeral.

You will know when they are upset because there is a telltale sign.

They call you names. ass-hole-get-it

Usually very loudly so that their friends and family can be impressed by their passion as they stand up to the “man” (or “woman”).

Examples of names you may hear yourself called are not limited to: idiot, jerk, loser, b*st*rd, moron, numb n*ts, dumba**, tool, son of a b*tch, dipsh*t, dork, a**hole, punk, and the ever popular a**bag.

People seem very fond of the word a**.

Or maybe I just resemble one.

You will know when they are finished calling you names when they threaten to sue you and storm off, slam a door, or hang up the phone.

Luckily, most people don’t actually sue (that sound you hear is me knocking on wood).

You should also prepare yourself for pointing. People who are angry and upset seem to point a lot.

In your case, I hope they use their index finger. More often than not, I get another finger.

Over time, I have grown accustomed to being called names so my feelings aren’t hurt. As an added bonus, after 6 years I don’t have any feelings.

But in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit there is one name that has bothered me over the years.

When a former staff member called me… (don’t read this out loud if there are small children in the room and don’t be surprised if the following word is blocked on your computer at school)

… Steve.

For the first 9 years of my teaching career, a fellow teacher called my Steve. Which was fine except that’s not my name.

She wasn’t the problem. I was.

I didn’t correct her the first time it happened and before I knew it, we were on nearly a decade of me being Steve.

At that point, I couldn’t go back and undue our relationship. So I not only answered to Steve, I became Steve.

One day a couple of years ago, I was telling this story at a golf course. I had just gotten to the part about me planning to call my autobiography “They Used to Call Me Steve” when a man walked in the clubhouse.

I have known this gentleman for at least 5 years.

He walked up, sat down, and said…

“How is everything out at school, James?”

My name isn’t James.

Makes me wish I had also corrected him the first time.

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6 Responses to “I Have Been Called Many Things. The Good News is I Have a Title for My Autobiography.”

  1. Dianne
    on May 25th, 2009
    @ 8:40 am

    Call me crazy, but I think it would be great working for you! I love a boss with a sense of humor. I’m presently retired long enough to get a hip replacement; maybe then I’ll search for Steven James to look for a job. I have it right, right?

  2. Kevin Blissett
    on May 25th, 2009
    @ 11:06 am

    Thanks for that! It helped me to realize that I wasn’t the only b*tch, b*stard, loser out there!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Kevin Blissett, If you have been called a b*st*rd in the last 6 months of being a principal… you are evidently not doing your job.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. tsmileygal
    on May 25th, 2009
    @ 1:14 pm

    I love your outlook on life & this job. One of my team members became our principal two years ago in the same building. It’s been a little rough. He needs to read your page. :)

  4. Pat
    on May 25th, 2009
    @ 1:25 pm

    Don’t feel too bad, I’ve been called Pam so many times instead of Pat that it isn’t funny. And no matter how many times I have corrected people, they insist on calling me Pam. Maybe I look like a Pam. I have even tried using humor and said to just think of Fat Pat in order to help them remember. Then the next time I see them, they look at me and say something like Spam Pam! I give up. When I was cheerleader coach, I was called many of the names you were called so I feel for you. Isn’t it lucky we have thick skins!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Pat, Thanks for the comment Pam/Pat.

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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.