Summer is a Waste of Time.


I’ve been working in schools for so long, I can’t even remember what drew me to this lifestyle.Just the Thought of This Makes Me Miss My Summer.

I know it wasn’t the money (is there anyone who became a teacher for the money?).

Truth be told, there were probably lots of reasons.

The chance to work with students.  Coaching.  The structured schedule. 

The day before Thanksgiving meal that consists of all white food (noodles, mashed potatoes, roll, and milk!)

And of course, the always popular "summer vacation".

I love summers.

I love the countdown to summer vacation.

I love the three months off.

I love not wearing pants (please don’t contact the authorities… I wear shorts).

I love getting paid and not working (I mean I REALLY love getting paid and not working).

I love anything and everything about summer.

Except.

Except the fact that after 18 years of this I am now convinced summer is a waste of time.

We put so much effort into shutting down school for the summer.

Then we put twice as much into starting school back up again in the fall.

This can’t be good for a student’s brain.

Maybe.

Just maybe.

We should go to year round school.

Yes, I said it.

Year round school.

And get rid of my summer.

A part of me just died as I typed that last sentence.

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How Do You React When You See These 4 Words?


Happiness?It's Time.

Sadness?

Excitement?

Fear?

Relief?

Dread?

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Start School. Stop School. Start School. Stop School.


School is about to start.

It just ended.

But now it’s beginning again.

And soon, it will be over (time flies as I age at an unnatural pace).

The longer I’m in this business the more I realize this is a waste.

The amount of hours and effort we put towards opening and closing school borders on insane (crazy like Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann).

This may come as a shock, but I’m a big fan of summer vacation.

Big fan.

Big.

Fan.

Maybe the biggest.

I’ve been this way, since… forever.

As a kid, who doesn’t love summertime?

No homework.  No structure. 

As a teacher, my love grew even stronger.

No homework.  No structure. 

As an administrator, I hate to admit it but I’ve had a falling out with sweet sweet summer.

No homework.  No structure.

I can no longer convince myself students need a long summer vacation (did I just type that?).

I could be talked into convincing myself I need a summer vacation.

But just this once, it’s not about me.

It’s about the kids.

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Summer and Little Girls Both Have an Expiration Date.


Summer is almost over.

By almost, I mean it’s over.asthon_laundry

Done.

Kaput.

Gone.

Finished.

I guess you get the point.

There are 3 major parts of summer.

The beginning, which everyone looks forward to and loves.

The second part which is July 4th.

And the end of summer, which if you’re in education begins promptly when the last firework falls from the sky.

When the sun rises on July 5th, it’s all over.

Time to get back in school.

No more summer for you.  Come back one year (this would be a random Seinfeld reference… which means I’m really starting to date myself with the kids).

I love summer vacation, but like with so many good things in life, it comes and goes far too quickly.

I’m starting to think The Evil Spawn is sneaking up on her childhood July 4th.

She’s grown up so much in the last year (in sarcasm and height… and I have no idea where she gets either).

It’s quite evident she’s no longer a little girl.

She’s not quite an adult, but you can tell it won’t be long.

There’s less carrying around stuffed animals and more time talking on the phone.

She spends more time outside of the house than inside.

She talks less about today and more about the future.

She’s even taken it upon her self to become more responsible about her chores (I hope I just didn’t jinx this).

All too soon, her mom and I will be seeing her go.

These days, it’s on her bike.  One day, it’s going to be in a car.

Eventually, it will be a plane.

In eight years, she will no longer be ours, but the world’s.

I’m looking forward to the next few years.  The opportunity to watch her go through school is a special one,  but I know from past experiences with other students, the time is going to fly.

Junior high goes fast.  High school is a blur.

As a dad, you might think this would be hard on me.

It isn’t.

All I can do is enjoy the days and weeks as they come.

I find a certain amount of peace in her telling me she doesn’t like boys, will never marry, and plans to live at home while she attends college.

I know it’s not true, but if she can have dreams, so can I.

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Patience.


In my mind, I continually tell myself to be patient.  Unfortunately, I’m not that great of a listener.

I’m fresh out of patience.

I’m done.Do NOT Make This Dog Mad.  Mainly, Because He Doesn't Know He's a Dog.

I have no more answers.

I have no more solutions.

I have no more interest in questions.

It’s May, and I need a break.

It happens every year, but this one has been especially tiring (sure, cranking out mediocre to less than mediocre blogs seems easy…).

But I’m not the only one.

Teachers, Principals, Secretaries, Custodians, and even lowly Superintendents grow more and more tired towards the end of the school year.

But there is good news.

Summer is right around the corner and that means we will all have an opportunity to recharge.

Buddy the Dog isn’t so lucky.  That’s his big snout in the picture on the right (as opposed to all the other pictures in this blog).

He is the King of Impatience.

And King of the House.

The picture was taken at exactly 4:00 pm.  I’m not sure of the day, but I’m positive it was 4:00 pm.

How do I know?

Because that’s when I get home and take off my tie.

This of course means one thing to Buddy.

Time to eat.

And when it’s time to eat, he means it’s time to eat.

You can’t really blame him.  After a long day of sleeping 14 straight hours (with two 15 minute breaks to sniff around the yard and bark at the UPS guy), a King (dog) gets hungry.

And he isn’t shy about telling me.

When my tie comes off, he goes into starvation crisis mode.

There’s whining.  Jumping around.  Circling.  And grabbing my hand in an effort to drag me towards the garage (this is where the Holy Grail of Food is located).

If all of this wasn’t enough, he has his patented go-to move which he evidently learned in Beagle College.

If I make the mistake of laying down anywhere around his sacred time of 4:00 pm, he stands on my chest.

All 4 legs planted directly in my big gut.

Then he stares.  A long painful slightly pathetic and sad stare that conveys the following message.

“Human, feed me right now or prepare to die!”

It’s really quite haunting.

I took the picture out of self-preservation more than anything.

So, while I’m out of patience, I can recharge.

He can’t.

Because 10 minutes after he’s eaten, he’s also forgotten.

So if you are like me and your patience is wearing thin, I have some advice.  Hang in there, summer is coming.

And if you ever wake up from an afternoon nap and feel Buddy’s hot beagle breathe on your forehead and notice his icy blue eyes staring directly into your soul…

…be afraid.

Very afraid.

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Hello, Summer.


Sweet, Sweet Vacation. It’s here.

The quiet sounds of empty hallways and classrooms are music to my ears (silence is golden).

No students.

No teachers.

No bus routes.

No athletic events.

No meetings.

No ties.

No troubles.

Happy Summer Everybody!!!

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Signs You Might Be a School Administrator.


You associate the Winter Music Program with at least 3 students becoming suddenly ill.  On stage.

When you think about report card day, your first thought is about how many times your phone will ring that evening.Signs.

You consider a 3-day weekend to be an extended mental health break.

You know of a countdown to summer vacation.  In January.

You tense up when someone says “Do you have a minute?”

You really tense up when someone says “I’m not one who normally complains, but…”

Your monthly calendar starts and stops on School Board Meeting night.

You consider your day to be good or bad depending on how the lunch hour went.

The word “busses” makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Getting home early means you are only 45 minutes late.

When eating out, you sit on the side of the table that allows you to see people coming towards you.

You associate “I need a sub” with “Ugh.”

When your phone rings, you automatically think it’s bad news.  See: “I need a sub.”

You know people who believe “change” is a 4-letter word.

While shopping, you avoid parents by ducking into another aisle.

Supervision of ballgames makes you wonder why you just didn’t become a police officer.

You can tell if a student is lying by simply looking at them.

You’ve broken up a fight.  Between adults.

You can no longer hear the bells ring between classes, but you can hear a student mumble your name from 200 yards away.

Retirement Dinners are considered a “Date Night” with your spouse.

At least one parent has used your name in a sentence as a curse word.

You find snow days enjoyable.  You find the day before a snow day (when students/staff are anticipating it) miserable.

You know your desk has a top.  You just can’t remember the last time you saw it.

Last but not least (additions are welcome), you have the ability to raise your voice to a level that instantly makes hundreds of children stop dead in their tracks.

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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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The Gift.


I Have My Own Cup.  Yet, I Don’t Drink Coffee.I believe that everyone has a gift.

Sometimes these gifts are discovered at a young age, while others seem to stumble upon individuals later in life.

In a perfect world the gift you’ve been given has the ability to also make you money… like underwater welding, yodeling, or maybe even the ability to mime.

I have none of these. Mine is far more pathetic (yes, more pathetic than a mime… if that is possible).

But I believe it is a gift none the less.

At a young age, I used to watch people and try to guess what they did for a living.

Sure, it was a sad and lonely childhood, but it is the only one I had.

As I recall the easiest people to recognize were teachers. Why? Because they have a aura.

When teachers are in public, there are certain tell-tale signs that give them away.

Their tired, haggard look is always easy to spot, especially at the end of a semester.

A gleeful, upbeat smile is a dead giveaway as summer vacation approaches.

And there are other signs such as the coach who wears shorts when it is 27 degrees outside or the elementary teacher who has a collection of 8,000 sweaters with various apple designs on them.

Teachers look like teachers. You don’t have to be an expert to recognize this. You just have to be in the same room with them for 13 straight years (if all goes well and there isn’t some sort of “incident” that slows you down).

If you are lucky enough to grow up and work in a school, you may gain another skill/gift that I like to call Teacher Profiling.

This is an ability that can only be mastered after spending the 13 years of a K-12 education and another 4-7 years of college (give or take 1 to 3 years… all of which depends on your commitment level, parental funding, student loans, and total number parties attended).

After my extensive schooling and 15 years of work experience, I believe that I have mastered this second gift (I’m still looking for a gift that pays the bills).

What is Teacher Profiling? Excellent question. I am glad you asked because if you didn’t this blog would have come to an awkward and premature end.

This gift of Teacher Profiling means I can walk into any school and identify what every staff member teaches just by looking at them.

How do I do this? It is quite simple if you know what you are looking for.

PE teachers look like PE teachers.

English teachers look like English teachers.

Business teachers look like Business teachers.

Elementary teachers look like Elementary teachers.

Shop teachers look like Shop teachers.

And Administrators look overpaid (I thought I would say this before someone else did).

How do I know what they look like? It’s easy, they just do. Plus they often sit together (seldom do they go outside their species and intermingle).

I am supremely confident that I can walk into any school in the country and correctly match 80% of the teachers with their subject areas (I would say 100%, but Math and Science teachers get a little fuzzy for me).

What good is this gift of Teacher Profiling?

Honestly, it has no value whatsoever. I wish I had been born with the ability to make balloon animals. Now, that is a cool gift.

Teacher Profiling is in no way useful, beneficial, or good for society.

But, it does help me pass the time at workshops.

If you are one of the lucky few who share this gift… remember, it should only be used for good and not evil.

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Labor Day is Here: Which Means I Have a Lot to Do.


Where Did the Summer Go?The arrival of September tells me one thing.

I am woefully behind.

As an educator, I realize how lucky I am to have a job that gives me some time off during the summer months.

The only problem is that it isn’t nearly enough time.

As the school year winds down each spring, I always try to make a list of things that I need to accomplish over the summer.

This year was no exception. I made a list of about 30 items that had to be done.

No exceptions. Writing them down on the list was like carving them in stone. They would be done before the beginning of school.

Some were small items (like take a nap every day) and some larger items (paint the house). Actually, I may have those backwards as I believe taking a nap every day was Important Large Item #1.

As I sit here on Labor Day (it’s an American thing if you are reading this from another country… and enjoying your universal health care), I have realized that summer is officially over and…

I lost my list.

About 2 months ago.

So, most of the items on the list have not been completed. I think. I am not exactly sure because if you are paying attention you know I lost the list.

When I think about summer as a large block of time, I worry that I am not getting enough accomplished.

I have wasted an opportunity that I can never get back.

I have an overwhelming anxiety that time is slipping by me.

Things around the house, at work, and on the computer still need to be addressed. So much to do, and so little time.

But if I break it down, I don’t feel quite as bad.

This summer I got to travel (Texas and Colorado), went to NECC (sort of), visited a zoo, coached a softball team, learned a bunch of technology stuff (Jing, Ping.fm, Twitter, Plurk, Joomla, etc.) made lots of positive changes at school (at least I hope they are), did some work in the yard, saw the Riverwalk in San Antonio, wrote about 38 blogs, helped redo our school website, played some golf (never as much as I would like), rode the flat escalators in the Denver Airport (these should be everywhere), went to a Major League Baseball game, explored a cave, visited Sea World, watched the tech queen’s workshop business grow by about 300%, ran about 175 miles (jogged more than ran… actually, shuffled more than jogged), loaded about 60 items on PrincipalsPage.com, experienced my daughter growing about 4 inches and aging from 7 to 14 years old, and saw the horribly disappointing Alamo (the Alamo isn’t disappointing… just the mall next door).

So all in all, I can’t really complain because none of this stuff was on the list.

Maybe as I get older (if all goes well… quick, someone knock on wood), I will have a better understanding that life isn’t a race.

Not everything needs to be on a list and crossed off as I complete it.

Ah, who am I kidding?

What I need to do is make a fall list.

There is much to be done before winter gets here. Primarily, all of the things I didn’t get done over the summer (which is pretty much everything).

And Important Item #1 is going to be… Don’t Lose List.

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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.