Two Full-Time Jobs is Two Too Many.


For the last month or so, I have been largely absent from this blog (sure I’ve posted the occassional video that interested me or made me laugh until I nearly wet myself).It's a Delicate Balance.

I’ve gotten a few emails asking why.

Well, at my age you get to laughing really hard and before you know it you’ve accidently….

Oh, you were wondering why I haven’t blogged more.

My bad.

There are a couple of possible reasons.

One is I always promised myself when I ran out of things to say and I started to struggle with what to write, I would stop immediately and blow the blog up.

That day is not yet here.  But I hope it’s soon because I do enjoy an explosion.

The real reason I haven’t been around is I’ve been a bunch of other places.

School.  Home.  Game.  School.  Home.  Game.  School.  Home.  Game.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention sleep.

In the world of school administration, late July and early August are busy.

Really busy.

This has been compounded by the world of Teenage Evil Spawn (I miss carefree Little Girl Evil Spawn… although I was not a huge fan of Baby Evil Spawn).

Her world is busy.  Really busy.

When she was born, I don’t recall the doctor telling us how incredibly time-consuming and expensive her existence would become after the age of 10.

Actually, the only thing I remember the doctor saying is "Don’t worry, she won’t break."

So far, so good but there have been a couple of close calls where she cracked.

What I have learned as a parent is children require a lot of attention

Games, clubs, events, church, parties, school, 4-H, friends, sleepovers, movies, camps…. the list could go on and on.

Basically, my role in all this is to be there.  Or get her where she needs to be.

I’m like Secret Service without the ability to talk into my wrist.

My parent job isn’t brain surgery, but it does cut into my "Me" time (and it is all about me…).

All of this doesn’t sound too taxing, but it does eat up time like nobody’s business (actually it’s my business and it used to be my time).

This coupled with my day job as a school superintendent, has forced me to put the blog on the back burner this summer.

But like most years, summer is winding down so I’m sure my schedule will slow down.

I’m not sure what this says about our society when I know my schedule will be easier once my full-time job picks up again and I’m working 60 hour weeks.

But I sure am looking forward to it!

Have a good school year.

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Principal Preparation Program.


Try and say Principal Preparation Program fast 3 times (I will wait while you complete this task…).

This blog is not just a tongue twister.  It goes way deeper than that.  It’s also a well-thought out review of a new Illinois Law called the School Leader Reform Act.

Actually, that’s a lie.Be Careful... You Don't Want to Crash on the First Day.

The blog is actually a thrown together half-baked commentary on what is wrong with the programs that supposedly prepare school administrators to lead their teachers and students.

The School Leader Reform Act is an attempt by the untrustworthy crooked politicians of Illinois to fix the way principals are selected and trained.

I’m okay with that.

The article from which I stole this blog says the two most important factors that influence student success are quality teaching and quality school leadership.

Fair enough.

I say let’s get rid of tenure and work on improving principals.

What?

The crooked politicians won’t address tenure?

Okay, color me not surprised (after all, the next election is always just around the corner… and the next one… and so on… and on…).

Then let’s fix the principals (like they are all broken).

The new law wants to prepare principals to be instructional leaders.  Great idea.

It also wants colleges to make their school administration programs to be more challenging.  As opposed to revenue sources for their education departments.  Again, great idea.

Another aspect of the law is to allow an alternative pathway to principal endorsement through nonprofit entities.  Okay, this might just work.   As always, there is more than one way to skin a cat (although why you would want to I’ll never know).

Let’s start cranking out new and improved principals.

With that being said, I do have a couple of concerns with the law.

One is they want each principal candidate to participate in a month long residency program.  My complaint… a month isn’t long enough.

But neither is a year or five years.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, completely prepares you to be a school principal.

The closest thing might be Marine boot camp, but that’s about it.

Admittedly, a month is better than nothing… but not by much.

The other thing that bothers me is the law requires that no more than one-third of coursework in a preparation program can be taught by part-time adjunct faculty.

I think this is idiotic.

I know the politicians want full-time faculty members to be teaching the courses, but I think it should be just the opposite.

Most (if not all) courses should be taught by practicing principals and superintendents.

Or at the very least retirees who have worked in administration within the last 5 years.

I can make the argument that I can learn more from a well-versed administrator in an hour than I can from a professor in a classroom in a semester (no offense professors).

But at least the politicians seem to be heading in the right direction.

Which is nice.

And unusual for Illinois.

I wonder when they will pass a law call Political Leader Reform Act?

Now that’s legislation I could really support.

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The Oil Change Guy Wants My Job.


This Guy Has His Eye on my Job.  And He Could Do It.I got the oil changed in my truck this morning.

Yes, as a real man I know my way around the dealership.

This is what a manly man does. He drives his vehicle across town and waits patiently in the lobby as someone fixes his truck. And just to prove that I can multi-task, I watched the Today Show as the project was being completed.

Who says all of the good ones are gone, ladies?

Something struck me as I waited. I overheard a couple of employees talking about their upcoming vacations.

At first I was a little confused as I wondered how long they were shutting down the car lot.

I felt badly because I assumed they had to close because of the economy.

Were they closing for a week? Two weeks? A month? Forever?

That wasn’t it at all.

They were simply talking about being off for the next day and a half. That’s their vacation.

And they were excited. Really excited.

They get off today, Christmas Eve, at noon. And they don’t have to return to work until 7:30 am on December 26.

A whole day and a half. Did I mention they are thrilled?

It reminded me that my dad used to be the same way. When you work 6 days a week all year long, a short vacation is valued and appreciated.

And here I am just beginning two entire weeks off, in the middle of the school year, with days that don’t even count against my regular vacation days.

Did I mention we just got back from Thanksgiving Break?

As an added bonus, we were off 3 days in a row for snow last week. Plus, on most days I am off work at 4 o’clock.

How excited would the guy who changes my oil be if he had my schedule?

And more importantly, I question my own appreciation of my schedule and career.

As an educator, I sometimes think we spend too much time wallowing in our own self pity about how hard we work, how little we get paid, and how parents don’t respect us.

Working in a school is far from perfect, but on the other hand I don’t come across a lot of people who are in a hurry to change careers.

I am 100% sure that I wouldn’t switch jobs with the guys at the dealership (mainly because I am incapable), but I am fairly certain they would like to have my job.

If they are this excited about a day and a half off, how excited would they be with my schedule?

So on this Christmas Eve please take a moment to be thankful that as educators, you have the ENTIRE day off (plus at least another week) to spend with your families.

On second thought I am counting the days until I can get back on my much needed regular schedule.

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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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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.