Social Media vs. School Administrators.


As I travel across this great country (yes, one trip to Miami counts as traveling), I get asked two questions.

The first being “Can you work me into one of your blog posts?” 

Let me think.

No.Jump On the Bandwagon.

That was kind of harsh. Please let me apologize.

I really should take some time to reconsider.

On second thought.  No. 

The only chance of getting mentioned is if your name is Buddy the Dog.

He gets special treatment because he gets over the top excited, runs in circles, and whines ever so slightly when I return home from work.  Or when I come in from the garage.  Or from getting the mail.  Or walk out of the bathroom. 

It’s the exact same reaction whether he hasn’t seen me for 2 weeks or 2 seconds (I love dogs… and don’t forget to visit his Live Webcam).

Lucky for me, Buddy the Dog doesn’t have an agent (conceivably that could cut into my profit margin).

Of course, if you do something funny or interesting (and love me unconditionally), I could change my mind.

The second question is “How am I allowed to write this blog.”  Fair enough.

I always assume this question refers to a superintendent writing a blog and not based on the actual quality of my entries (in other words, what I write stinks).

Either way, it’s an excellent question.

After more than 300 blogs, it almost seems normal to sit down and quickly type my thoughts into a blog.

Almost.

Let’s be honest, there is nothing normal about spending this much time on a blog (or anything else). 

Say it out loud… Superintendent writes a blog.  It just seems weird.

Lucky for me it’s not that difficult.

My only concern is presenting my views, experiences, or embarrassing moments without insulting someone else.

By someone else I mean teachers, other administrators, students, or with anyone I come into contact.

I have to be careful that blogging doesn’t affect my day job (the last time I glanced at our checking account… I really need my day job).

But so far, so good.

The longer I do this (blog at slightly below average level) it becomes more and more apparent to me this will be commonplace in the next few years.

I not only think most school administrators will use social media (blogs, Twitter, Plurk, Posterous… and things they haven’t invented yet), but I think it will become the norm.

Communities and school districts will have an expectation that school administrators use social media.

And use it a lot.

It will be as normal as sending out a parent letter or writing up the highlights of a school board meeting (highlights… lowlights… whatever).

Hopefully, administrators of the future (bigger, stronger, faster) will figure out more productive ways to use social media than me.

They will likely spend more time on topics related to improving education and less on their hate of soccer (I’m sorry, but the use of your hands is required if you want to call it a sport).

It’s going to take someone smarter than me (easy enough) to figure out how social media can benefit students and schools 2, 3, or 5 years down the road.

It will become an ally to schools, not the enemy.

Instead of fighting it, administrators need to figure out ways to use it that are beneficial to students and staff.

Presently, we are fighting a war to hold off the use of Twitter, YouTube, blogging, etc. and we are losing.

The sad part is most administrators have only a limited knowledge of social media.  Because they don’t fully understand it, they assume it’s silly and a waste of time (my blog is not a good example of something that isn’t silly).

We’ve fought this battle before.

It was against cell phones.

If you haven’t heard, we lost.

How did we lose? Students are carrying little computers around in their pockets and we get upset if they take them out and use them.

I would hate to see the same result from the use… or non-use of social media.

Just thinking (typing) out loud, but if you are a school administrator maybe you should start a blog, or open a Twitter account (or use any of the 1,000 other types of social media).

If you blog, then you could write about yourself.

And I wouldn’t have to.

Unless of course you do something really funny… then send it my way.

Because Buddy is starting to get “demanding”… which means I may be  out of material soon.

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My Life Has Officially Peaked.


This may be my last blog (stop cheering… I can hear you).

There are two reasons for this.

First, my life has peaked.

Secondly, I have no business flying halfway across the country by myself (has anyone ever gotten lost in the Atlanta airport and starved to death??).  Since the odds of me surviving this travel experience are somewhere between slim and none, I think my focus should be on more important things than writing a blog.

This brings up the question of why I’m unfit to travel by myself.

If you have to ask, it’s obvious you haven’t read very many of my blogs (to summarize… I’m an idiot who doesn’t get out much).

But let’s not focus on my lack of worldly experience.I'm a Loser.  But I Don't Care.

Let’s focus on the most significant event of my 42 years.

One so grand that it may cause me to give up the blog.

And the fame and fortune that comes with it.

What is about to take place is epic.

It’s monumental.

Colossal.

Ginormous.

And prodigious (thank you Mr. Thesaurus).

This is the coolest thing to ever happen in my young life (I always make sure I hang around with old people… so I look youthful).

It’s more exciting than college, marriage, the hatching of my evil spawn, or a Mike Rowe drop-in (not a big fan of the drop-ins, but for Mr. Rowe I would make an exception).

I haven’t been this excited since my daughter said “You know, I may not play soccer next year.”

Sadly, there is only one direction my life can go after this event to end all events.

But who cares.  It’s going to be worth it.

This weekend I fly to Miami (if all goes well… and again… slim and none).

Once I arrive (yeah… right)… get ready… wait for it… this is so big…

… I will be picked up by a car service.

I’ve done it!!!

My life is now complete!!!

A car service (I’m hoping for a limo, but I will settle for anything that isn’t yellow, and doesn’t smell or say Taxi on the side). 

Who would have thought it?

Certainly not my teachers.

Or my parents.

Or anyone who has ever met me.

A car service.

A dream come true.

It’s like I’ve been drenched with a big bucket of giddy.

I can hardly wait to see my driver standing by the baggage claim holding a sign up with my name on it.

Or more likely, his fingers in the shape of an “L” next to his forehead.

Either way, I’m good.

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A Free Trip to Miami. Thanks AASA.


I’m going to Miami, but I’m sure you already figured that out.

In mid-October I will be taking my first official business trip (I’m such a big boy).

Did I mention it’s to Miami?Miami... Here I Come!

For those of you that don’t teach geography… that’s in Florida. Where it’s warm.

Did I mention it’s a free trip?

The mere thought of rubbing elbows with Crockett and Tubbs (80’s reference) is almost more excitement than I can handle.

I’m not sure how many miles it is to Miami but I know it’s a long way from hall duty.

The American Association of School Administrators have invited me to be a small part of a focus group about the development of a school leadership simulation online program (I say a small part because in case they read this… I want to lessen expectations to the point that if I string together a halfway intelligent sentence, they will consider my participation a success).

I’m not sure what a “school leadership simulation program” is, but I would rather be confused in Miami than have everything under control on hallway duty.

Did I mention this trip is free?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, what in the world is the AASA thinking?

It was one thing to publish my little blog in The School Administrator Magazine, but picking up my expenses is another thing (can anyone say $14 M & M’s from the hotel mini-bar?).

Let’s think about this. They are flying me to Miami to ask my opinion. They could have gotten the very same “Barely Thought Out Almost Boarding on a Complete Lack of Knowledge Opinion” from me if they had just asked.

I do have a cell phone.

Or they could have Skyped me.

Or possibly emailed.

But whatever. I’m willing to do my part. I’m willing to take one for the team.

So, I am stepping up to the plate and flying to Miami (by myself, which is a first… did I mention what a big boy I am?).

And did I happen to mention the trip is free?

Note from wife: I feel the need to point out that his first plane trip was just 4 years ago when we flew to NECC in San Diego. He has never flown alone and while he is claiming to be a “big boy”, I am feeling a little like a nervous mother. If you see a lost 40-something angry bald man in a suit roaming through the Atlanta airport, will you please contact me?

Here is a link to help with figuring the trip details from our little town in IL to Miami FL. I not only love and use this site regularly, but my company RecessTEC is demoing its use for all classrooms (don’t be afraid to visit us at www.RecessTEC.com as I have time on my hands since I don’t have to make dinner for PrincipalsPage when he is in Florida).

http://www.wolframalpha.com – Type Tuscola, Illinois to Miami, Florida.

How far is from your town to Miami?

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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.