School Administrators Don’t Fail to Plan, They Fail to Plan B.


School has been is session for 3 weeks. Which means a couple of things.

One, I can no longer recall this past summer. And two, I can’t envision next summer ever arriving.

Other than that, this school year has been great.

We’ve survived registration, Institute Day, Open House, the start of the football season, and the first full moon.

Since these big events are behind us, it’s time to settle into the everyday routine.

Routine is always good, but tiring.See, We're Not the Only Ones.

This became clear to me on Thursday evening. That’s when I decided to get up early Friday to exercise.

I didn’t plan to jog before work for the normal reason (exercise so I don’t have a heart attack in the hallway because it might be perceived as weakness…), but for a new reason.

I needed a nap after school on Friday.

School has been in session for over 15 days and I’m exhausted.

One might think I would be better off sleeping in and then exercise after school concludes on Friday afternoon.

Nope.

A quality nap is the type of long-term goal that gets me through the day. But it does need to be preplanned.

I schedule my naps so I can not only enjoy the experience, but I can enjoy the anticipation of the experience.

It kind of makes sense when you think about it (if you think about it and you are me…).

The ability to plan is a key to surviving as an administrator (notice I didn’t say succeed… just survive).

So on Friday morning, I got up bright and early at the precrack of dawn to jog. It was dark but the moon provided enough light to safely run.

I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed out into the early morning.

It was cool and I had the streets to myself. Perfect weather.

I don’t mind saying that I was cruising along. 3 miles from the house and it seemed like I could go forever.

Then it hit me.

I’m not comfortable describing exactly what hit me, but please know it wasn’t good.

I quickly recognized that while I had put a plan in place to exercise, I didn’t have the all-important Plan B.

If you are a runner, you know that in this case Plan B stands for bathroom.

This was a problem.

So I considered my options and quickly realized I didn’t have time to put together a committee.

I was on my own. A school administrator’s worst nightmare (after all, there is safety in numbers).

I’m no math teacher but when I run 3 miles away from the house, it is roughly 3 miles back to the house.

There is an educational lesson here.

Administrators need the ability to only plan, but the skill to quickly come up with Plans B, C, and D when their first plan fails.

And it almost always does.

This happens with scheduling, curriculum, athletics, AYP, and just about everything else that is part of running a school.

In my case Plan A (exercise) was a big success. Plan B was a little trickier, but I made it home.

Barely.

Plan C was the nap. After all of my work, what could possibly go wrong with me getting a little shut eye after school on Friday.

I rushed home, changed out of my school armor (shirt and tie), turned the TV channel to golf, and snuggled in with my best buddy (Buddy the Dog… and yes we were spooning… don’t judge us… because you don’t understand our love…).

I immediately went to that place where I’m almost asleep but still awake.

Then I heard it.

It was the end of Plan C, the nap.

My evil spawn throwing open the door, tossing her book bag aside, and yelling… “You two are pathetic… who sleeps on Friday right after school?”

Apparently, not me.

Lessons to be learned: One, exercise is a good thing. Two, fiber bars are tasty and filling before an early morning run, but they are also fast acting.

Lastly and most importantly, you can never anticipate everything that might happen to derail your plans. Especially if your opponent is an 8 year old evil spawn.

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School is Hard Work.


Don't Let Anyone Tell You Different... School is Hard Work. One week of school is officially in the books (get it… books… let it be known that somewhere I am the only one laughing…).

School has a long way to go, but there is good news.

The hardest part is over.

There is nothing I dislike more than the first couple days of school. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the school part I hate (although I do miss my old friend… summer).

It’s the “first couple of days” part.

The beginning of a new school year is a struggle (not unlike trying to convince a pack of 8 year old girls they shouldn’t be giggling at 2 am during a sleepover).

The start of school means everything is new again (which is good), but the bad part is everything is new again.

The challenge is to make what is new… routine. This involves the annual “Days and Days of Meetings”. These take place in the weeks and months before school even officially starts.

That’s why I’m happy when the first couple of days are over and done with.

Simply put, they are complicated, hectic, and tiring.

On top of that, these days are always half days. Students aren’t even in attendance full-time.

School without students. It’s really quite odd.

For the unitiated (new teachers) I am going to let you in on a little secret.

Half days last at least twice as long as full days.

Don’t ask me how or why, but they do (it’s one of education’s great mysteries… along with why teachers can’t microwave popcorn without burning it).

Common sense (and 3rd grade math) tells you a half is 50% of a full. Not at school.

Especially, not the day before a holiday (but don’t worry about that… the first school holiday is way in the future… like 3 weeks… hello, Labor Day!).

Give me a regular school day and a five day week. That makes me happy.

I need a routine.

I need the bell to ring so I know what time work starts. And what time to eat. And what time to go home (unless there is a crisis immediately after school is out… I hate that).

And do everything else.

Thankfully, my life is now headed down a more structured path.

School is back. I have a routine. And I’m very happy.

I’m also amazed.

One thing always jumps up and grabs my attention when school starts.

No, it’s not the excitement of the children returning to school (yes, this is a little thing I like to call sarcasm).

Or even the higher level of excitement that teachers have when they start a new year (yes, this would be more sarcasm… and there is no chance I will ever run out).

It’s not the heat (and how does the sun know when school starts???).

The thing that always amazes me is how tiring school can be.

Mentally and physically.

But mostly physically.

My legs are sore from walking around and my voice is fading from talking (probably too much).

I’m not going to lie… I need a nap.

School is hard work.

How come I forget that over the summer?

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Being a School Administrator Means You May be Too Tired to Nap.


That's One Tired Principal.It is the perfect storm of tired.

Everything is falling into place at just the wrong time.

I am behind on my to-do list at work. The semester ends in two days. I also have a school board meeting to attend and a basketball game to supervise.

And school was called off today because of icy roads.

This means I have been up since 4:00 a.m. That is the middle of the night in case you are wondering.

Meanwhile, my wife and daughter just rolled out of bed. It is 9:00. That is in the middle of the day in case you are wondering.

Did I mention my wife got a call from her school which was also cancelled? Since I was up, I took the message.

I went into the bedroom to let her know since she has to call the next teacher on the list. She instructed me to go get the phone tree, bring it back with the phone, and make sure I don’t turn on the light.

Which made me ask, how will I see to read her the phone number in the dark? Being a quick thinker she had a solution.

Go into the kitchen, turn on the light and then tell me the number.

I am pretty sure this is a form of spousal abuse. To check, I have added “Call lawyer about sleepy and mean wife” to my list of things I need to get done by Friday.

Odds are I will never get that far down the list.

All of this makes me tired.

But yet I don’t need a nap.

I need something, but not a nap.

Maybe some exercise. No, I already did that (see: up since 4:00 a.m.).

Maybe some time off would help. No, I have today off and that is just adding to my tiredstressness (yes, I know it isn’t a word… save your emails).

I guess there is just never enough hours in the day or weeks in the semester.

In the next few days, I will have to be caught up whether I like it or not.

This part of the school year is going to end, with or without my permission.

Worst case, I get rested over winter vacation and I am a little behind starting 2nd semester.

Actually, worst case is I finally get a nap in and my wife calls her lawyer while I am asleep.

I hope she is nice enough not to turn on the light.

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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.