First Graders and the F Bomb.

This blog is another sure sign I’m getting old (as if the mirror and the night sweats weren’t proof enough).

I’m starting to feel sorry for the poor guy who will be in the room next to me at the nursing home (roughly 6 months from now).  For his sake I hope he’s not bedridden.

Things are changing and at the exact same time I’m slowing down.

Way down.

Even my complaining is becoming less frequent.

I’m starting to appreciate “the good old days”.  Sure, I know they were crappier than I want to admit, but they’re all I got.

My career in education is roughly half over (barring an “incident”… like it might not happen).

I have seen education change in the last 15 years.

Copiers have improved.  Typewriters have disappeared.  Male teachers no longer wear ties.  And second hand smoke is no longer engulfing the teacher’s lounge.

These are just a few examples of how schools aren’t what they used to be.F-Bomb.  It's Dangerous in the Wrong Hands (or Mouth).

And that’s okay.

Most of the changes I’ve experienced are for the better.

Most.  Not all (if they were all for the better… I wouldn’t have a blog, now would I?).

One of the things I’ve noticed is students’ language has gotten worse.

And by worse, I mean a lot lot worse.

In particular, the F Bomb.

When I was a kid (the 1920’s seem just like yesterday), if you heard the F Word it was shocking.

It was an event.

It meant an adult was angry.  Or insane.  Or both.

Only convicted felons, gas station attendants, and drunks used this type of language.

Now it’s become commonplace.

You hear it at the movies (I’m talking about at the concession stand).

You hear it at high school games (in the bleachers by adults who should know better).

You hear it everywhere but church.

And now you are starting to hear it at school.

Fifteen years ago I might have been shocked if it came out of a high school student’s mouth.

Ten years ago a junior high student could have gotten my attention by dropping it.

Now?  Any decent (or not) first grader can use it correctly in a sentence.

Or towards a classmate.

Or teacher.

Or parent.

Or a friendly superintendent (not me, I’m not friendly).

Or even direct an F Bomb outburst towards a policeman.

And first graders aren’t just repeating it, they are USING it.

Loudly and in context.

By the time a first grader hits the playground they have heard the F Word a thousand times.  I’m pretty sure we can thank cable TV and adults with bad judgment. 

If I had to guess, I’d say most first graders don’t even know it’s a bad word.

It rolls off their tongue like Run Spot Run (I may have just dated myself with the Spot reference).

First graders seem to be getting less afraid of the consequences for their language.

I realize it’s only a word, but I think it says something about us and our society when it’s bandied about so easily and so publicly.

What really concerns me is what the future holds for these first graders.

If they don’t have limits now, what happens when they are 18?

What will they say or do to shock us then?

We may have to come up with a new word for them because they already use all of the bad ones I know.

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Change is Sneaking Up on Us.

Embracing change is a gift.

As educators, we don’t seem to have this gift.

That’s the bad news.Do Educators Really Believe?

The good news is if you are an elementary teacher you are now a proud owner of at least 17 new coffee cups with apples on them (Merry Christmas everybody!!!).

And a variety of lotions.  But that is a whole different blog.

I think the world of education is about to change in a very big way.  It is also very likely that I have no idea what I’m talking about.

But I have a blog that constantly needs content, so here’s my theory.

Change is happening right under our noses and most educators don’t even see it coming. 

The bad economy, advances in technology, and higher expectations for administrators and teachers leads me to believe that we are all headed in a new direction.

Some of this is related to finances and some is just the general public believing that schools can and have to do better jobs.

And who better to lead us in this quest of excellence?  The federal government.


I just got a migraine.

Or punched in the throat.

Which is bad.  But it’s better than the Swine Flu that was going to get me earlier in the semester (will we ever hear about the dreaded pig flu again???).

What I do know is it’s a bad time to have a career with tenure, especially when the rest of the country is struggling to keep their jobs.

As educators, I don’t think we have a good grasp on how the rest of society perceives us.

Our only hope is people will continue to hate bankers and won’t turn on educators (so keep up the bad work, Wall Street!!)

The old rules about education and educators are about to be tossed out the window (but again, what do I know other than this blog needs content like Buddy needs dog food… and a back rub).

State governments are in fiscal trouble and they are going to be forced to make difficult decisions.  Many of these will involve K-12 Education.

I’ve also noticed the Obama Administration has a pattern of doing things in a very big way.

Health care is the latest example (am I the only one who gets the feeling our premiums are about to skyrocket and no doctor will ever schedule another appointment to see us…).

It can only be a matter of time before the good people in the White House tackle schools.  And testing.  And teachers.  And administrators.  And tenure.  And evaluations.

Only time will tell if this new path is a productive one.

Change is often discussed at school, but almost never embraced.

My assumption is this time will be no different.

Except this time I don’t think we will be able to ride the changes out.

I think they may be big.  And I think they may be uncomfortable.  And I think they will be permanent.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is all bad.

I am just saying we probably should have paid more attention when President Obama ran under the slogan of “Change.”

Because I don’t think educators necessarily thought he was talking about us.

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Schools Can’t Change.

Change is hard.

That’s why I’m not interested.

When you work in a school there is always a lot of talk about changing things (by talk, I mean it rhymes with witching).  As educators we are faced with the choice of jumping on board with the latest fad or sticking with the tried and true method that we’ve used for the last 20 years.

For me it’s a no brainer.

If it was good enough when I was in school, it’s good enough for the students in 2009.What I Would Look Like If I Taught in the 1950's.

When the word change is even casually mentioned, it can provoke a strong reaction.

In some cases anger.

Luckily, the bad feelings are never directed towards administrators (for the last time… sarcasm is the lifeblood of this blog).

After much thought, I have chosen my final answer on change (I do love Regis Philbin but rest assured not in the same way I love Kelly…actually in the EXACT same way I love Kelly). 

I’m against it.

Don’t even think about trying to talk me out of it.

I don’t like change.


Because I don’t like it.

You need a reason?  I gave you one.  I don’t like it.

In my estimation, progress is way overrated.

Schools were good enough for my grandparents (if they attended… and some did… at least until the 6th grade), so they should be good enough for today’s students.

Progress is for the next generation.  It’s for the person who takes my job (I know you’re out there…).

As for me, I’m going to stick with what works.

I’m way too busy to worry about the latest fads.  My career is on borrowed time.  I just don’t see the point in making a lot of unnecessary changes because I’ve only got 20 years left until retirement (like I’m going to make it…).

I’m going to focus on the present.

In the next week or so I need to do the following:

Run off copies on the ditto machine.

Take a quick smoke break in the Teacher’s Lounge.

Use some corporal punishment on a student in the hallway because he was talking in study hall.

Finish a report on a typewriter (I hope I don’t make a mistake; I am all out of correction tape).

Hand write some memos.

Use the phone tree to contact teachers.

Drive students in my car without seatbelts.

Take some pictures for the yearbook and send the film off to be developed (I should be getting them back in a couple of weeks).

Write grades in my red spiral grade book.

Show a movie on the 16mm projector.

Or possibly a slide show (don’t forget to turn to the next slide when it beeps).

Finally, I need to not exercise (all the studies say it’s bad for you).

I think I’ve made my point.

Schools don’t need to change.  Things are just fine the way they are.

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Change. Sounds Like a Great Idea, for You.

Alright, So Not All Change Works Out.The word “change” has been front and center in the 2008 Presidential campaign. I am guesstimating that is was used about every 3 seconds.

Senator McCain and President-elect Obama both used the word on a daily basis. By the way, I am already growing weary of the “President-elect” phrase.

They said it and the news media repeated it. And repeated it. And repeated it again. And again (you get the point).

I heard the word change at least 48,307 times in the last month (I am a very good with numbers).

Oh, how I will miss those campaign commercials where I was told change is coming. I can hardly wait for this monumental change to take place.

I am giddy with anticipation. This may be more exciting than a snow day.

Change is a good thing. Possibly a great thing.

Isn’t it?

I hear people talk about change on a daily basis. It seems to be a hot topic at school (along with what’s for lunch and how many days until the next long weekend).

As educators, we want change. After all, we are teaching the leaders of the future. It is in our DNA to focus on the future.

Each day, we look the status qou in the eye and demand that it changes.

In our minds, everyone should change. Students, parents, school boards, and the federal government.

Evidently, we not only like change, we love it. It is the cornerstone of the educational process.


Except when the big bony finger of change is pointed in our direction.

We don’t necessarily like that.

Things are going pretty well. Especially in my classroom. Or in my office.

In these cases, let’s just leave well enough alone.

Change is a beautiful thing, as long as it happens down the hall.

As you can see, I am torn.

In an effort to change this attitude (get it?), I have decided to share some of my favorite quotes on change.

I would also like you to know why they don’t apply to me.

Change is inevitable. Progress is optional. – Anonymous

My retirement is also inevitable. If we could hold off on this change stuff for about 18 years, I would really appreciate it.

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. – Benjamin Franklin

If I make wholesale changes this school year, what will I do for the last 17 years of my career?

We must become the change we wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

I hate to argue with Gandhi, so let’s leave this one alone.

Do, or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

If Yoda can’t guarantee that the change will be immediately successful, I am not interested.

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better. – George C. Lichtenberg

If I don’t buy into Yoda’s theory, I am certainly not going to listen to some German scientist (by the way, who is this guy?).

You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea. – Pearl S. Buck

Thank you for making my point Mrs. Buck. I am too old to change (see my impending retirement).

Actually, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am mocking the fact that change is painful to many of us.

As an administrator, I believe one of the major parts of my job is convincing people that change is a good thing.

Sometimes what is best for our students makes us just a little uncomfortable.

This leads me to my last two quotes about change. These may be the most important quotes that you read in the next 30 seconds.

I am thinking about having these carved into my desk (but it is a metal desk so that would just be weird… and noisy).

If you want to make enemies, try to change something. – Woodrow Wilson

And even more importantly…

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines. – Unknown

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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.