Once School Administrators Lose This, They Never Get It Back.


We live in a society where everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame.

This can’t be good.Anonymous

We are raising an entire batch of kids who believe fame is more important than accomplishment.

Plus, all of this lust for fame has made for some really bad reality TV (I’m so old, I remember when MTV and VH1 played music).

I never wanted to be famous.

In fact, I can’t recall one second where being famous even crossed my mind.

Maybe, that’s because I was the student who sat in the back of class and repeated the same phrase over and over.

“Please don’t call on me.” 

“Please don’t call on me.” 

“Please don’t call on me.” 

“Please don’t call on me.”

In was my mantra (at least I think it was… I’m not 100% sure what the word mantra means).

Being famous always seemed like a hassle to me.

Who wants to go the grocery store and be recognized?  Actually, who wants to go to the grocery store at all?

I couldn’t imagine going for a jog and having people honk at you (please stop doing this… it never fails to startle me).

Total strangers knowing your name.  That’s just weird.

I wouldn’t mind being rich, but I’ll pass on being famous (maybe this explains my love of the lottery).

But like so many things in life, what you want and what you get are two very different things (as the Evil Spawn says, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!”).

I’m not rich (truth be told… I have a love/hate relationship with the lottery… it’s a complicated mistress).

But I am famous.

Really famous.

Not a bad TV show type of famous.

Or being followed around by paparazzi famous.

I’m more famous in a 3rd graders kind of know my name sort of way (they know I work at school, they’re just not sure what I do).

I have the kind of fame that makes high school kids look at me with shock, horror, and a touch of sadness when they see me out in public wearing jeans (I do have a private life people…).

My particular kind of fame makes me leery of using my real name when I call and order a pizza (you never know if the kid you just suspended might be the same one about to spit in your food).

I’m famous in a way that makes kids toilet paper my house around Halloween (nice job, Buddy the Dog, of sleeping through this little event on Saturday night).

I have the type of fame that always surprises me.

And by always, I mean every single time.

Students and families sometimes recognize me before I recognize them.

In my very small part of the world, I’ve lost my anonymity.  And I must admit I miss it on a certain level.

It’s nice to be known, but it’s also nice to be unknown.

Buddy the Dog is in the preverbal doghouse until he tracks down the menacing 12-year old gang of hoodlums who wrapped my house in 87 rolls of toilet paper while I was at a football game.

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You Can Teach. You Can Use Technology. But Can You Do Both?


Live action and video.

This professor is getting it done.

Biola University (Southern California) professor Matt Weathers use technology (times 10) for his annual Halloween-themed Nature of Math class.

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Great Principals Do This. I Don’t.

I have been contemplating (better word than thinking… thanks thesaurus) what it takes to be a good principal or school administrator.

After much thought, I have concluded that I am lacking in a most important area.

Principals must have certain traits to succeed at what can be a very challenging job.

The qualities that came to mind quickly included organizational skills, leadership, and time management. To be successful, one must make good use of time and be able to take care of details.

Then I thought about decisiveness, a sense of fairness, and the ability to control one’s temper (sometimes easier said than done).

As I continued mulling this topic over, it occurred to me that the qualities needed to lead a school were almost endless.I am Not Allowed to Wear Theme Ties.  Ever.

A great principal must have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish and even more importantly how the staff and students should get there. Then have the ability to guide by encouragement and sometimes even a little arm-twisting.

Principals must always be believers, in themselves and the students, and certainly in what they want to accomplish.

Next, I thought they must be willing to work longer hours than most. This is really a requirement of all people who are really good at their occupations.

When working in schools one must be available to work days, some nights, occasional weekends, and certainly be flexible enough to change your personal plans on a moment’s notice.

While the job pays well, an administrator needs to work harder than the people around them. For those who are paid the most; a lot is expected.

If you are going to be a great principal, you need to accept responsibility for all of your decisions. And then be prepared to accept the responsibility for the decisions of others, whether good or bad (just a head ups… not usually good).

Just as important is being prepared to hand the credit to someone else when things go well and take the blame for almost anything or anybody when things go badly (and things always go badly, sooner or later).

All of the really good administrators that I have met are understanding, kind, enthusiastic, driven, and have a sense of humor.

The ability to laugh may be the most important skill of all. To be successful in education, one cannot take themselves too seriously (if you can’t laugh at yourself, someone else will).

Lastly, it occurred to me that most successful principals regularly exercise. You have to make your health a priority. A structured exercise program also helps with mental health.

I thought that I had come up with a pretty good list of qualities about what makes a great school administrator until… it was pointed out that I don’t wear theme ties.

No ties with drawings from small children. No ties with baseballs, soccer balls, or basketballs on them. No ties with pictures of crayons. No Bugs Bunny, SpongeBob, or Superman ties. And none with addition, subtraction, or multiplication problems on them.

Worse than this, I can never remember to wear the appropriate color on holidays. No red on Valentine’s Day, green on St. Patrick’s Day, or orange on Halloween.

A great principal should dress the part.

And I can’t even bring myself to wear a theme tie. I hate to admit this, but I don’t even own one. Not a single solitary theme tie. I am truly a failure.

Kids don’t care about organization, time management, vision, or work ethic. They want to see a colorful and cool tie. I am not fit to work in a school or be around children.

The state should repossess my administrative degree.

Worse than this, I don’t even have my school keys strapped to my belt. I am such a loser.

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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.