Do Educators Have a Boss?


I’m confused.Is the Customer Always Right?

Who do we see as our boss?

The department head?

The principal?

The superintendent?

The school board?

The community?

Government?

Who?

Some may say students, but we don’t really answer to them.

If we did, we would give them what they want and not what we think they need.

So who is our actual boss?

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School Board Meeting Car Wreck.


An unusual title for a blog.

School Administrators might be wondering why I didn’t name it “School Board Meeting Train Wreck”.

Fair question.

It’s because I like my job.

Don’t get me wrong, I prefer not to work, but I do enjoy being employed.

Something about having a constant stream of bills coming in the mail (or email… it is 2010 after all).

Plus, I’ve heard about challenging School Board Meetings but I’m not personally familiar with the concept (no charge for the sarcasm).

My latest meeting ended late (don’t they all).

Once it was over, I decided to drive home so I could go to bed and not sleep (it’s a tradition at this point).

As I was cruising down a two-lane highway listening to Lady GaGa on the radio (I don’t get her, but you have to admit her songs are catchy), I passed a car that appeared to be parked with the headlights on.

Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but this particular car was parked in a ditch.

Heading the wrong way.

I was a little taken aback as I drove another quarter mile down the highway.

It occurred to me that while I saw a car in a ditch, I hadn’t seen an actual driver.

I was now faced with a moral dilemma (like there aren’t enough of those at School Board Meetings).  Should I go back and check on the driverless car, or should I go home and not sleep?

Before you judge me, please realize that School Board Meetings can be tiring.

And I need my sleep (even when I can’t).

But you will be happy to know that I did the right thing.  I turned off Lady GaGa.

And I went back to see if I could help.

During the 30 seconds it took me to backtrack, I had a couple of thoughts.

One, I was hoping I didn’t find a mangled body in or around the car.  Two, I was desperately trying to remember how to do the Heimlich Maneuver.

I realize I should have been thinking about CPR, but it turns out that I used up all of my good brain cells during the School Board Meeting.

On a positive note, if I had returned to the scene of the accident and found someone choking… they would have been in excellent hands.

I pulled up beside the ditch and immediately recognized there was a problem.

The ditch was muddy.

This was a problem because I was wearing a white dress shirt and a lovely green tie (Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody!).

If that wasn’t enough, I didn’t have a coat (stars were out… not a cloud in the sky..  it was freezing).

At first glance, it was easy to confirm my theory.  There was definitely a car in the ditch.

But I didn’t see a driver.

That was bad.

Because now I had to go into the muddy ditch and look in the car.

Mangled body parts here I come.

But then I heard a strange sound.  It’s hard to describe, but it sounded a lot like “Duuuuuuuuuuuude”.

It was dark, so I couldn’t quite figure out where the sound was coming from.

Then I saw him.

The driver.My Friend, Mr. Jeff Spicoli.

He was behind the car.

The good news is he didn’t seem to be hurt.

The bad news is he wasn’t wearing pants.

Actually, that’s not true.  He had pants on.

They were just around his ankles (I didn’t ask).

As he struggled mightily to work his belt, I did ask him if he was okay (didn’t catch his name, so we will call him Mr. Jeff Spicoli).

He assured me he was.  Then he kept saying he didn’t know what happened.

One minute he was driving home and the next minute he woke up and his car was in a ditch.

Well, there you go.

I asked him how he got there and he said “By road”.

Fair enough.

I asked him if he had a phone.  He said “Did you say spoon?”

Alright then.

I told him I would call 911 for help.  He thought that was cool because he needed to get his car out of the ditch.

Plus, he was hungry.

Understandable.

Wrecking a car does produce an appetite.

I called 911 and then Spicoli and I waited for what seemed like hours.

During this time, he thanked me for calling a tow truck. 

Whoops.

It seemed like Spicoli and I were having what I like to call “A Failure to Communicate”. 

This could be bad.

Especially if he sobered up before the cops got there.

Plus, he was holding his car keys between his fingers in a way that made me think he could be considering stabbing me in the kidneys.

And I hate it when that happens.

It was close to midnight and I was standing on a deserted highway with Spicoli and he’s about to be arrested (and not by a tow truck driver).

On top of that, he’s got the munchies and probably nothing to lose by shanking me.

We waited.  And waited.

He asked it I should make another call.  I said “I’m not ordering pizza.”

Then after about 14 hours, the police showed up.

Spicoli said “Ah duuuuuuude”.

The policeman asked me if he was alright.  I said “Define alright?”

A few moments later, the officer sent me on my way.

I left as fast as I could knowing I had my latest blog.

I also had an understanding that I lived through another school board meeting.

And for once, that was the least dangerous and weird part of my night.

Now I just have to avoid bumping into my new friend on the streets for the next 50 years.  Just to be safe, I’m never going out to eat pizza.  Or surfing.

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Change. Sounds Like a Great Idea, for You.


Alright, So Not All Change Works Out.The word “change” has been front and center in the 2008 Presidential campaign. I am guesstimating that is was used about every 3 seconds.

Senator McCain and President-elect Obama both used the word on a daily basis. By the way, I am already growing weary of the “President-elect” phrase.

They said it and the news media repeated it. And repeated it. And repeated it again. And again (you get the point).

I heard the word change at least 48,307 times in the last month (I am a very good with numbers).

Oh, how I will miss those campaign commercials where I was told change is coming. I can hardly wait for this monumental change to take place.

I am giddy with anticipation. This may be more exciting than a snow day.

Change is a good thing. Possibly a great thing.

Isn’t it?

I hear people talk about change on a daily basis. It seems to be a hot topic at school (along with what’s for lunch and how many days until the next long weekend).

As educators, we want change. After all, we are teaching the leaders of the future. It is in our DNA to focus on the future.

Each day, we look the status qou in the eye and demand that it changes.

In our minds, everyone should change. Students, parents, school boards, and the federal government.

Evidently, we not only like change, we love it. It is the cornerstone of the educational process.

Except.

Except when the big bony finger of change is pointed in our direction.

We don’t necessarily like that.

Things are going pretty well. Especially in my classroom. Or in my office.

In these cases, let’s just leave well enough alone.

Change is a beautiful thing, as long as it happens down the hall.

As you can see, I am torn.

In an effort to change this attitude (get it?), I have decided to share some of my favorite quotes on change.

I would also like you to know why they don’t apply to me.

Change is inevitable. Progress is optional. – Anonymous

My retirement is also inevitable. If we could hold off on this change stuff for about 18 years, I would really appreciate it.

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. – Benjamin Franklin

If I make wholesale changes this school year, what will I do for the last 17 years of my career?

We must become the change we wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

I hate to argue with Gandhi, so let’s leave this one alone.

Do, or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

If Yoda can’t guarantee that the change will be immediately successful, I am not interested.

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better. – George C. Lichtenberg

If I don’t buy into Yoda’s theory, I am certainly not going to listen to some German scientist (by the way, who is this guy?).

You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea. – Pearl S. Buck

Thank you for making my point Mrs. Buck. I am too old to change (see my impending retirement).

Actually, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am mocking the fact that change is painful to many of us.

As an administrator, I believe one of the major parts of my job is convincing people that change is a good thing.

Sometimes what is best for our students makes us just a little uncomfortable.

This leads me to my last two quotes about change. These may be the most important quotes that you read in the next 30 seconds.

I am thinking about having these carved into my desk (but it is a metal desk so that would just be weird… and noisy).

If you want to make enemies, try to change something. – Woodrow Wilson

And even more importantly…

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines. – Unknown

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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.