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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I Don’t Hate School, I Just Love Summer.


Everywhere I go (work, home, work, home, work, home… rinse, lather, repeat), people ask me if I’m ready for school to start.

Turns out there is such a thing as a stupid question.

No, I’m not ready.Who Doesn't Love Summer?

What I’m ready for is summer to last forever.

Forever. Which I understand is a very long time.

Who doesn’t love summer? Especially if you work at a school.

The warm weather, time to golf, vacations, wearing shorts to “work”, mowing (okay, bad example… at least after the first mow), and best of all… a monthly paycheck.

If you didn’t get this, let me say it (or type it) again.

They pay me… and I’m NOT working with the teachers or students.

Let’s all take a moment to comprehend this little nugget.

Pay, but no work (not “regular” work… still plenty to do).

Basically it’s stealing. Actually there is no basically about it.

It’s stealing.

Not with a gun, but with a Master’s Degree.

If you know teenagers who are undecided about what they want to do with their lives, I have a suggestion for them.

They want to be…

… ME.

My work consists of being around kids (better than adults), going to games (better than a real job), and working shorter hours in the summer (it’s like I stopped aging at 12).

I’m living the dream.

This doesn’t mean everything about my job is perfect. Trust me, it isn’t.

But I do get to wear shorts in the summer (did I mention students and teachers are not around), so that makes up for a lot of the troubles during the school year.

I think as educators we do a terrible job at expressing what great jobs we have.

It’s easy for us to fall into complaint mode and point out the negatives of our profession.

The worst thing is we do this in front of our students.

We complain and complain until we have convinced the very best and brightest students that working in education is not something they should pursue.

Instead of promoting careers in teaching, we discourage them.

I am here to break the cycle.

Education is the best job ever. And I mean ever.

So this year, I think everyone should follow this rule: if you can’t say anything nice about education, don’t say anything at all (I just made that up).

To review… people ask me if I’m ready for the regular routine of school after 2 ½ months of working alone.

Answer. No.

Reason. I love summer.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love my job during the school year.

It just means I love getting paid while wearing shorts a little better.

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School is Right Around the Corner. I Can Feel It.


If You Dread the Start of School... Don't Go Around This Corner.It is happening.

And it can’t be stopped.

The first day of school is coming. I feel like the teenager in the middle of a horror movie who starts to hear strange noises from five different directions while walking through the woods all alone in the middle of the night (always a good idea… and by the way, if you are sitting behind me at the theater… the movie character who is about to take a blunt instrument upside the head can’t hear you when you yell “look out” at the movie screen).

My powers (if I had any) are useless against the beginning of the school year.

It is my kryptonite.

Each summer, starting on about July 4th, I begin to sense it hanging around.

I feel like I am being watched… and mocked… and more than normal.

It shows up like clockwork, but I don’t need a calendar to confirm that school is about to start.

There are unmistakable changes in the universe that give it away.

I can’t put my finger on a specific event because it is more of a series of things.

My vacation is over, kids have stopped going to the pool, it feels more like fall than summer at 5:00 a.m. each morning, my wife is spending more and more time talking about needing good bulletin board ideas, Wal-mart is selling notebook paper for 12 cents for a 1000 sheets (how do they do it?), I have survived (barely) my doctor/dentist/optometrist appointments, and my neck has begun to swell up because it realizes I have to start wearing a dress shirt and tie once again.

On top of all that, teachers have begun to hang around the office at school. More people come out of the woodwork as the first day of school gets closer. They are like moths around a light bulb.

Summer is over.

Not on the calendar, but it’s over.

All of those things on my leisurely to do list have now become priorities.

I don’t mean to complain, because so many people don’t get summers off like those of us in education. But it is still sad to see another one come and go so quickly.

People used to tell me how fast time flies as you get older. I thought they were mistaken (or deranged). Or just old and angry (I think I just described myself in 20 years… or more likely… now).

They couldn’t have been more right.

At least there will be another summer next year. If all goes well.

All I have to do is avoid the big white guy in the woods wearing a hockey mask. This may be easier than the approaching troubles an average school administrator faces in the next 10 months.

Why do I feel like I should take off running… but not through the woods. That never works out.

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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.