School Holidays: A Time of Remembrance or Day Off for Adults?

Has our country lost respect for holidays?

Don't Get Me Wrong... I Don't Want to Pay Full Price for Furniture Anymore Than Anyone Else.

It seems they’ve become an afterthought.

We look forward to the next one, but not always for the right reasons.

In today’s world, they are less about celebrating, remembering, or learning about an event and more about a 3 day weekend (just for the record… I’m a BIG fan of the 3 day weekend).

They’ve become an opportunity to extend our weekends.

Or sale furniture at 60% off.

It makes me wonder if schools should be in session on holidays.

Would students (and adults) be better off celebrating holidays at school rather than sleeping in and enjoying a day off?

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Holiday Stress.

It’s December.  Which means we are in the middle of another jam-packed holiday season.

This sounds like a good thing.I Need a Vacation.  And Not to Disney.

It’s not.

I’m not saying the holidays are bad, just busy.  Way too busy.

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving and Christmas constituted the most exciting time of the year.

The anticipation.  The gifts (even the socks and underwear).  Snow.  Time off from school.

It was great.

It was a nice change of pace from the rest of the hectic year.

Today, holidays mean a lack of sleep and not enough room on my Google calendar (I don’t really have a Google calendar but I’m trying to make a point and promote technology use in schools all at the same time).

Each year, around the 20th of November I know my time is no longer my time.

It is merely a block of minutes in which I’m required to be somewhere doing something with some people.

These people come in all shapes and sizes.  Friends, co-workers, relatives, and acquaintances.

And other people you may want to rain blows down upon (everyone who emails me an explanation of this line wins… nothing).

Now before you email me about my Bah, Humbug spirit (with the word Scrooge in the subject line), hear me out.

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is filled with the following:

Thanksgiving dinners (2)

Christmas Parties (1… I’m really not that popular)

Christmas Parade

Winter Concerts (2)

Christmas Program at church (2)

Christmas Gift Openings (3)

Christmas dinner

Girl Scouts (2)

Requests for Fundraising Donations (1 gazillion)

School board meeting

Basketball practice (2)

Basketball games (5 or more)

Wife’s workshops (5)

Vacation to Disneyland or world (thankfully only 1… I just don’t know which one we are visiting)

A 5k

Piano Lessons (7)

Dog walks (75… Buddy drinks way too much water)

Presentations (4)

Meetings (more than I can count)

Interviews (1 … again, not that popular)

Blogs (10 at least)

Naps (0… or 1 if I’m lucky)

Holiday lunches at school (2)

Emails (over 1,000… really)

Shopping (actually I don’t shop, so scratch this one)


These are just the things I could remember without looking at my non-Google calendar.  I didn’t even mention the getting fat from too much food and too little exercise.

If I get a free second and I sit down to watch TV, all I see are commercials where beautiful people are giving each other gifts that I know they can’t afford in real life.

My point is the holidays aren’t really holidays.

At least they aren’t as peaceful and restful as I think they should be.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but there has to be a better way.

**Note from “the wife”…  I DO have a Google calendar and promote technology use in the schools.  I am what you call the real deal… and according to that aforementioned calendar, I too am overbooked!

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You Can’t Just Hand a Microphone to Anybody.

I spent my weekend at a convention. Actually, I shouldn’t use the word weekend because that implies restful time away from my job.

But all is not lost as Thanksgiving Break is right around the corner. And I might add that it comes at a perfect time.

It was a stroke of genius when our early settlers decided that schools needed to take time off in late November.Not the Microphone from School... but This One is Pretty Cool.

As a kid, I had no idea that the Pilgrims were so well-versed on the academic calendar. I thought they were simply people who looked good in hats, enjoyed big meals, and loved their football (and by football, I don’t mean the Detroit Lions).

While I am tired, I did learn a few things at the convention.

I learned that I miss my bed, refrigerator, and shower.

In the past I have talked about the horrors of hotels, so I won’t bore you with the details of sleeping in a bed that has previously been “occupied” by thousands of strangers (I am sure some were more strange than others, but I try not to focus on that little tidbit of information).

But missing my refrigerator and shower are different. These are issues that need to be addressed.

I mean I really missed them.

It amazes me that people can eat out all the time. After a couple of days, I find myself just wanting an apple or a sandwich. Or 27 Oreos, but that discussion is for a different day.

Also, the showers in hotel rooms continue to be a riddle to me. Why do they always run out of hot water? Don’t hotels realize a large number of guests will be bathing between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m.?

It is like they are surprised. Like we snuck up on them. They must know we are all going to wake up at some point and wander into the bathroom.

But, these are minor inconveniences as I attended the convention to learn. Specifically, I was hopeful to pick up some new information about technology for my school.

It didn’t happen, but I feel like I did my part. I showed up. Which for a lot of convention attendees seems to be a challenge.

Educators always say they want to go to conventions and then once they arrive they work so hard at not attending workshops. Why is that?

Maybe they should hold these events in North Dakota instead of nicer places (let the emails from North Dakota commence…).

Actually, I wish the presenters had showed up.

Actually, that is a little harsh. They were there and they did their best.

It’s just that they presented the same information I have heard over and over for the last few years.

Our students are farther advanced in technology than adults. Educators should allow cell phones in schools because they are mini-computers. We should use Skype because it is free (we do and yes it is). Schools need to be proactive, not reactive to changes in technology.

I get it.

Enough already.

I need tips or strategies to implement technology and not the same old rehashed PowerPoint presentation with 187 slides (by the way… I can read, so you don’t have to pronounce every word on every single slide for me).

If I seem angry that is because I am (see: not sleeping in own bed and haven’t had a decent cookie in days not to mention the dodging of so many PowerPoint bullets).

I know we are falling behind with technology in schools, but now I am convinced we may be falling behind in presenters.

Just because someone is willing to talk into a microphone doesn’t mean we should allow them (see: President George Bush… let the emails from North Dakota Republicans commence…).

Not everyone talking into a microphone is an expert.

Point in case: a new principal handing the mic to a sophomore on the football team during a prep rally. Bad idea.

Really bad idea.

I would like to comment further on this, but once again a court order prevents me.

Same goes for presenters. We need to be more careful as to whom we allow to use the microphone.

Just because someone has a snappy title for the presentation, doesn’t mean their information is timely and high quality.

Could it be possible they are just there to pad their resumes? Which for the record, I am all for… just not on my time (note to self… update resume on someone else’s time).

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for their efforts because I am sure they spent a great deal of time putting their PowerPoint together (after all 187 slides just don’t just write themselves… especially if each one has 97 words in a really small font…did I mention the bullets?).

Plus, they had to spend several minutes downloading the “Did You Know” video off of YouTube.

Great video, but is there anyone involved in education who hasn’t seen it? And by seen it, I mean at least 10 times.

I think we have to be more particular to whom we listen regarding issues in education.

If we aren’t careful, soon everyone will have a platform. People will be just throwing out ideas with no rhyme or reason.

Trust me, this could get bad.

The government will start coming up with half thought ideas about testing, administrators will begin to think that their every thought is ingenious, and maybe… just maybe people will start up their own blogs just to shove their ideas down our throats.

These people will believe they are experts just because they have an audience.

I am not sure I like where this is heading.

But oh well, I have problems of my own.

I have a blog to finish, then I need to wrap up a PowerPoint.

Only 186 slides to go.

I am thinking about using lots of clip art, hundreds of bullets, and a bunch of transition sounds.

Wait a second.

It just occurred to me. I’m an expert.

I may need business cards and a manager.

And of course, I am going to need a microphone.

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School on Monday Would be Better if Super Bowl Sunday Was on Saturday.

NFL-SBMy longest title, for one of my shortest blogs.

I don’t have time to write because I have to get ready for a Super Bowl Party like the rest of the 301,139,947 people in America (Google it). This isn’t even counting our new friends from Canada.

My theory is that school and businesses suffer greatly on the Monday following the Super Bowl. If you don’t know why, you are attending the wrong Super Bowl party.

This coming week I can guarantee that every newspaper and news website will have a story on the lost amount of work hours and money that is directly related to people being tired (it is a family blog after all) from the effects of a Super Bowl Party.

I think I have a solution to this that will save everyone a lot of wasted time and money.

Make Super Bowl Sunday, Super Bowl Saturday.

Its genius lies in its simplicity.

I am surprised that corporations haven’t forced this on the NFL. If they have the game on Saturday, everyone is still going to watch and have a party. Who wants to miss a new million dollar commercial involving monkeys, Clydesdales, or Justin Timberlake?

Having the game one day earlier will help curtail people from calling in sick on Monday (no subs please), or showing up to work and accomplishing nothing but taking Advil and drinking coffee.

Schools will accomplish more with more focused employees, less sick days being used, and students who are not as tired.

So when the NFL finally makes the change to Saturday, remember you heard it here first.

Better yet, maybe schools could make Monday the official Super Bowl Holiday and I could have a four day weekend (I haven’t forgotten you Snow Day).

The fact that in America, we arbitrarily move holidays to ensure longer weekends drives me crazy. If it is important enough to celebrate, it is important enough to keep on the actual date (thanks for letting me get that off my chest). Enjoy the Super Bowl and cross your fingers for a commercial with talking monkeys. The best commercial will be posted on the front page of (where currently there is one about monkeys).

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If This Offends Frank Constanza, I Apoligize.

Frank Costanza From Seinfeld.Is it politically incorrect to be against widespread political correctness? I feel like as a society, we have to apologize to everyone for every thought or comment we might have as individuals (before I go any farther, my apologies to people who strongly believe in political correctness).

What has happened to our country? We used to be all for one and one for all. We were stronger as a group when we pulled in one direction and didn’t stop every two minutes to see who might be offended (my apologies to those of you who don’t like groups and prefer individuality).

Now it seems that if 1% of a group is offended by something, they expect the other 99% to also by offended (sorry 1 per centers as I don’t want to make you mad).

While I agree that everyone has rights, I believe that people abuse their right to be offended. Some things are truly offensive, but others are just small annoyances that we have to learn to deal with as we go through life. The trick is knowing what is truly offensive (I hope I didn’t just offend magicians).

When a small group tells the other 99% of us that we can’t do this, or say that, or act a certain way- aren’t they infringing on our rights?

You may be wondering why I chose this topic on which to write a blog…well…another Halloween season is just about here and a principal was telling me that she is catching heat because her school still allows their students to dress up. A group from the community is pushing her to celebrate a Halloween alternative called Fall Day (apologies to supporters of Winter Day, Spring Day, and Summer Day for not mentioning you in the previous sentence).

In schools, it has become politically correct to not allow students to celebrate Halloween.

Because as we all know, every child who was allowed to dress up at school in the last 50 years has turned out to be a devil worshiper (if I offended Devil Worshipers, please accept my apology because that certainly wasn’t my intention).

The small percentage that is offended by what Halloween used to be hundred of years ago, now wants to dictate how kids interpret the holiday and how it should be celebrated in 2007.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I don’t think a 3rd grader dressing up like Batman will affect the way he looks at organized religion for the rest of his life (please accept my apology Superman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, and the Incredible Hulk- I just thought Batman was funnier).

In 2007, Halloween is now about costumes and candy. That’s it. Things change with time and Halloween has evolved over the years. As adults we shouldn’t put thoughts in our children’s heads other than the basic truth. Halloween = Candy + Costumes (and a couple of junior high boys who keep teepeeing my yard- I know who you are and where you live-my advice is be afraid, very afraid).

As adults, we should be able to recognize what Halloween has become, and I think 99% of us do. Unfortunately, 1% doesn’t. They seem to yell the loudest and want to tell the rest of us that our kids shouldn’t observe Halloween (if I just offended loud people, I didn’t mean too).

Individuals who don’t like Halloween seem to be okay with Easter. People who don’t like Christmas enjoy Hanukah. I have noticed people in England don’t seem to care for July 4th. War objectors probably don’t celebrate Veteran’s Day. And all of this is fine (I truly hope this paragraph wasn’t offensive to Christians, Jews, people from England, George W. Bush, or Veterans).

Wouldn’t it be okay if we just acknowledged what others think is important? We don’t have to agree or celebrate their holidays, but we also don’t have to ask them not to celebrate.

Maybe we should drop all of the holidays and force children to only celebrate Festivus Day, a holiday for the rest of us (if you have to Google this, I am terribly sorry about your entertainment choices- by the way..sorry Yahoo,, MSN, AOL and Dogpile).

Now that I have aired my grievances, let the feats of strength begin.

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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.