Why My Generation Believes We Are the Best Generation.


This is not my work.  It’s much funnier.

I received this in an email.  If you are old like me, feel free to look down on those who are younger.

If you are younger than 35, please feel free to roll your eyes.

Those of You Born 1930 – 1979, We Are Survivors.We Are the Best!

First, we survived being born to mothers 
who smoked and/or drank while they were 
pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, 
tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, 
locks on doors or cabinets, and when we rode 
our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants and children, 
we would ride in cars with no car seats,booster seats, seat belts, air bags, and sometimes no brakes and bald tires.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day 
was always a special treat.  Sometimes we sat in lawn chairs so the wind would blow through our hair and sometimes completely blow us out of the truck.

We drank water 
from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon.  We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar and we weren’t overweight.

Why?

Because we were 
always outside playing!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day.  We only had to be home by the time the 
streetlights came on.

No one was able 
to call or text us.  And we were okay.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps.  Then we would ride them down the hill, only to find out 
we forgot the brakes.

After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have PlayStations, Nintendos, or XBoxes.There were no video games, no 550 channels on cable.

No Dish Network.  No Direct TV.  And no Netflix.

No video movies or DVD’s, surround-sound or CD’s,cell phones, personal computers, internet, or chat rooms.

What we had friends and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones, and chipped teeth.

And there was never a lawsuit.  We called these accidents and blamed no one but ourselves.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt.

The worms did not live in us forever and our parents didn’t rush us to the emergency room.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthday.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and while we were told it would happen, 
none of us ever lost an eye.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house to talk to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.Those who didn’t had to learn to deal 
with disappointment.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law 
was unheard of.  In the good old day, parents sided with the police.

These generations have produced some of the best 
risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors in the history of the world.

The past 50 years 
has been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility,and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them?CONGRATULATIONS!

You and your parents/grandparents should be proud.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?

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Why Do I Answer Questions? I Do It For the Kids.


From time to time, I get questions from college students. Fitchburg State. Home of the Falcons.

Sometimes these questions come from teachers obtaining their masters’ degrees.

Other times they are sent to me by scary hitchhikers who seem to have an uncanny sense of where I live.

The latest.

1. How do you view the Common Core Standards in relation to the ’4 Kinds of Smart?’

Educators are probably going to hate Common Core.  I say this because as educators we are bred to hate everything new.

I remember when I started my career, a veteran teacher cornered me for 45 minutes to tell me how the world would end if teachers were forced to use whiteboards instead of chalkboards.

Update on world ending:  It didn’t.

My hope is Common Core levels the playing field. 

Students, no matter where they were born, deserve the same quality of education.  The system will never be completely fair, but we have to try to get it as close as we can.

I have big hopes for Common Core, but remember… I’m also standing in a very short line of educators who like NCLB.

I do hope this country begins to realize we must offer different types of education to satisfy the needs of different types of learners.

2. Discovery Education Science Techbook, covered in your April blog, seemed to underwhelm you. However, Pearson publishing, with funding from the Gates Foundation, is launching online curriculum that perfectly aligns with the Common Core Standards. The lion’s share of Gates foundation money is being invested in technology-based instruction and assessment. The new Teacher Evaluation (value added) system that pairs teacher performance with student test scores is already underway in most states and is aptly aimed at dissolving tenure. Most states now operate a K-12 virtual school. What do you believe is the long-range, underlying plan for education?

They don’t have a plan.

But the more they throw darts at the wall, the more likely they are to stumble upon a plan.

Discovery’s Techbook wasn’t terrible.  It just didn’t meet my high hopes.

Getting rid of tenure is a good thing.  Getting rid of teachers’ unions may turn out to be a bad thing.

I think we are in the beginning stages of the death of the public school as we know it.  What the system will look like in 20 years, I have no idea. But, I’m hoping it pays superintendents well.

3. What do you think of Professional Learning Communities? Is this valuable collaboration, or a process-oriented waste of time?

A little from Column A… a little from Column B.

It can be a valuable collaboration and it can also be a process in which I update thousands of people on the sleeping habits of Buddy the Dog.

I have over 6,000 Twitter followers (@principalspage).  I can almost gaurantee you they’ve learned nothing from me.

4. Are you worried about America’s world-standing in Education? Do you think education in the USA is being dragged down? And if so, by what?

No.  We are fine.

America thrives on drama.  In the education world, that means we are obsessed with our ranking in the world.

If I’m wrong, pick a country you want your child to go to high school.

And then go.

I mean it.  Get out.

Get a box.  Get your stuff.  And beat it.

We are America.  We should stop apologizing for not being perfect in every single facet of life.  We do our best and sometimes that just has to be good enough.

We should be proud.

We have DISH and Direct TV, Five Guys, gas stations every 12 feet, pizza delivered right to our homes, and the NFL.

We owe no apologies.

Last time I checked, a lot more people were moving to America than away from America.

4. As a marathon runner and would-be professional baseball player, what are your thoughts on health and education?

I wish.  Half-marathon. 

I have the shirt to prove it.

We have to transition from teaching games in school to teaching good health habits.

I like to think occassionally the government does something productive.  An example is getting 99% of the people not to smoke in my lifetime.

Now, I think we need to focus on healthy lifestyles for kids.

This will have to be done by the entire country.  I think First Lady Obama is starting to push us in the right direction.

But we can do it.  We’ve tackled smoking, factory working conditions, seatbelts in cars, and not drinking during preganancy.  All in the last 50 years.

5. If you could be King of Education in America, what would you do?

The list:

Make it a federal crime for burning popcorn in the teacher’s lounge.

Go back in time and use all of the ARRA money to install air conditioning in schools that don’t have it.

Year round school.

Drop the idea of grade levels based on age.  They should be based on ability.

Mandatory 2 years of service to our country after high school.  Might be military.  Could be working in a state park or soup kitchen.  Do something to make the world a better place.

Start girls in kindergarten at age 6, boys at age 7.

Grade promotion based on testing.  Test at grade 3, 6, 8, 10, and 12.  Stop with the "some people don’t test well".  They seem to do fine on their drivers license test.

Drop all state and federal testing until they figure out how to do it online and have it graded immediately.  We can travel to the moon and back, but we can’t figure out a way to grade a multiple choice ACT test?

Make it a federal crime, punishable by death, if you mess up my order at the drive through.

I have more, but I’m just getting angry typing this list.

Actually that’s a lie.  I’m just hungry.

The drive through comment made me realize I haven’t had dinner.

Go Falcons! (that’s where they questions came from… I hope you get an A Kris!)

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Students Love Computers at School. I Blame Caffeine.


I Sometimes Feel Like This at 2 o'clock in the Morning.As we start back to school, I would like to take a moment to mourn… I mean cry… I mean reflect on our students and the expectations we have for them.

Pay attention because this may be the only time that I take the students’ side.

Of course that’s not true because I am extremely pro-student. But I will be watching them. And their friends. Especially during the lunch hour… and between classes… and before school… and at dances… and during games (I think you get the point).

It is relatively common to hear older generations (that would be us) say kids these days are lazy, unmotivated, and not as interested in school (or anything else) as we were.

I am here to make the case that this isn’t true. In fact, they may be more ambitious and open to obtaining knowledge than we were as kids.

I believe this to be true because during my teenage years I was completely uninterested in work, waking up, breathing, reading, school, and anything else that required effort (other than sports… I loved sports… and girls, but unfortunately they were something called “frightened and disgusted” by me).

I think kids in 2008 are so far advanced of our generation that it makes us nervous. Consequently, we label them as lazy or worthless just because they have different interests than we did.

It is important for us old folks to keep in mind that the “good old days” weren’t all that great.

No computers, no video games, no air conditioning in my parents’ station wagon (with the fake wood paneling on the side… don’t kid yourself, it was sweet), me always having to sit on the hump in the back seat of the hot station wagon, no cable TV (or Dish Network, just an antenna that pulled in 3 stations… one of which was PBS, so it didn’t even count), no watching movies in the car (or ever: see crappy TV), no internet, no vacations, no ice cream, no pizza delivery, no electricity, 18 hours of chores every morning, Christmas got cancelled twice… so again you get the point… no anything fun, ever.

When I was a kid we walked 87 miles uphill to school (both ways… usually in the snow), slept on the floor, ate dirt for dinner, went to bed at 6:30 p.m. (because our parents were sick of us by then), sweat all night in the summer, and froze to death in the winter.

And worst of all, I had to wear clothes that were hand-me-downs. That isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is I don’t have brothers. Only 2 sisters. Try explaining the frilling jeans with sequin purple flowers on the back pockets to your buddies (I do miss the fashions of the 70’s, but maybe this partially explains the “frightened and disgusted” reaction I so often received from the ladies).

Today’s kids grow up in a world that I barely recognize. And I try to stay somewhat current.

Sure, they don’t play outside as much, do as many chores, or ride their bikes 20 miles a day. But this isn’t laziness, it’s because they have more exciting things to do.

If my generation was so smart, why did we follow the truck on Saturday night that was spraying for mosquitoes in the summer? And I mean right behind, where we could breathe in as much of the chemicals as possible (any chance that explains my frequent blackouts and night terrors?).

We did things like that because we were trying to amuse ourselves. And trust me, after speaking to my doctor, a Nintendo Wii or laptop computer is much safer.

We shouldn’t try to convince students that computers, cell phones, texting, video games, Google, YouTube, etc. are bad. It is just different.

It is called choices. And they have lots of them. So when they are given these opportunities to make a choice, naturally they choose whatever is the most fun and exciting.

Don’t kid yourself. If we had the chance to play video games for 5 hours straight rather than skip rocks across a pond, we would have chosen the video games every time.

We played Cowboys and Indians outside in the heat. This generation plays computer games where they get to shoot things without leaving their air conditioned family rooms. Who do you think is smarter?

As educators we need to stop fighting progress and embrace it.

Kids aren’t lazy; they are just simply used to instant gratification. They aren’t dumb because they don’t read newspapers. They are smarter because they get their information online, immediately as events happen.

Sure they choose to stare at a computer instead of going outside. But they are learning, just in a different way.

We can’t expect them to come to school and go backwards. So we can’t be surprised when they find a whiteboard or an overhead projector painfully boring. They need to be fed information at a faster pace than we were taught. It is the way we are raising them and all of the caffeine they drink (trust me, if we could have bought a 64 ounce Big Gulp for 79 cents… we would have).

How would we feel when attending a workshop where the speaker wrote their speech on a chalkboard…in longhand…and we had to take notes?

Our reaction would probably indicate the presenter needing to catch up with the times.

And that is how kids view us.

Progress is good. And inevitable.

As old people, we need to jump aboard with technology or get out of the way.

Students are coming to school smarter. And they want to learn. And they want technology. And lots of it.

The next time I hear a student complain about a SMARTBoard, a computer assignment, or anything related to technology being boring… it will be the first time.

In a perfect world, education would be out front leading the changes. In the real world, education has to change because the students already have.

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Disclaimer

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.