That Kid.


Everyone knows That Kid.

The one who started causing havoc the minute he came into the world (odds are he slapped a nurse in the maternity ward).

His poor parents have convinced themselves there was some sort of mix up at the hospital, and they brought home the wrong child.

On several occasions they’ve even tried to give him away.

To no avail.

I shouldn’t say “him”, but let’s be honest.  99% of the time it’s a him.Dennis the Menance. (could be a girl… actually, no it couldn’t)

If you don’t know the student I’m talking about, you aren’t in education.

Or you’re a liar.

Every school district in the world has That Kid.

His parents couldn’t leave him with a babysitter because he always attacked them.  Or ran away (I mean the babysitter, not the kid).

He got kicked out of preschool.

On the first day.

He’s the one who caused untold emotional damage when he first stepped foot on school grounds.

Sadly, registration will never be the same.

After meeting him, the secretaries immediately called the kindergarten teacher and said… “Retire.  Retire now.  Before it’s too late.”

That Kid is the one who does exactly the opposite of what his teacher tells him (which makes me think you should just tell him to do the opposite of what you want).

He doesn’t follow directions, he can’t stand still or be quiet, and he touches everyone and everything.

He also cuts in line, gets in trouble in the bathroom, cafeteria, and on the playground. 

And can’t find his pencil.

Or pen, papers, book bag, coat, locker, or classroom.

He always needs a Kleenex or wants to go to the bathroom.

He consistently asks you a question about the exact thing you just explained.

He makes indescribable animal-like noises at the most inappropriate times.

Teachers cringe at the mere mention of him.

The pray years in advance they don’t see his name on their class list.

They are willing to promise the principal, superintendent, secretary, the custodian, and God they will do anything… anything at all if That Kid isn’t in their class.

And guess what happens.

That kid is always in their class.

And when he is in your class, everything you’ve heard about him isn’t true.

He’s much, much worse.

Now you pray harder then ever.  You pray he will be gone on Mondays.

And Fridays.

And field trip days.

And when you have a sub.

And every other day.

But he never misses school.

Unprepared, but he’s always there.

It’s like you’re being punished.

But you aren’t.

You see… every class has That Kid.

Just like every class has a Tall Kid, Smart Enough to Be a Doctor Kid, Athletic Kid, Mortal Lock to Be Prom Queen Kid, Thinks They’re Always Sick But They’re Not Kid, Only Child Kid, Cool But Doesn’t Know It Kid, Shy Girl Kid, and Funny Enough to One Day Be on Saturday Night Live Kid.

Classes are always different, yet they are always the same.

If That Kid happens to move out of your school district (he won’t, I’m just using this as an example), there is another That Kid waiting.

Impatiently, but he’s waiting.

You see, there has to be a That Kid in every class.

It’s the law.

If you don’t believe, ask any teacher if they have a That Kid.

Because they will all say yes.  Right after they stop twitching.

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No Tenure for You. Come Back One Year (or Not).


I’ve steered clear of the following blog topic for the last three years (how time flies when you are blogging).

No, not the discussion on whether or not Seinfeld is the best TV show of all-time ( it is… BJ and the Bear comes in a close second).

Tenure.

This seems to be the hottest of all education topics.

Hotter than testing, the perceived worthlessness of administrators (I said perceived… because all of us are worth our weight in… well, in something), or the lack of parental support.The Soup Nazi (Seinfeld).

Tenure trumps them all.

Just saying the word can provoke a heated discussion (and get you beaten up in a Teacher’s Lounge near you…).

You are either for it, or against it.

It’s hard to find someone who rides the fence on this issue (much like Dancing With the Stars… some love it and some find it as enjoyable as abdominal cramps).

To me that’s the problem.

Those of us with tenure (yes, I am a proud owner (or not) of what could be construed as a lifetime teaching job) absolutely love the idea.

And what’s not to love.

Tenured teachers have jobs (very important in this day and age).  If that wasn’t enough, they (evil administrators) can’t fire those tenured teachers.

And as an added bonus, our raises are based on the number of years we have taught and has nothing to do with productivity.

It’s a little piece of heaven.

I’m not saying this is right.  I’m not saying it’s wrong.

I’m just saying it’s our system.

Then there is the anti-tenure crowd.

This is a rather large and angry group which includes pretty much everyone else in the free world (and most people in Cuba).

Anyone who doesn’t have tenure (99.999999% of all humans) believes it is the dumbest idea since New Coke (which incidentally, I enjoyed).

These people think far too many teachers who attain tenure end up going through the motions while cashing an ever increasing paycheck.

I’m not saying they are right.

I’m not saying they are wrong.

I am saying tenure is woven into the fabric of our educational system.

Some states are considering passing No Tenure Laws (way to be a leader Florida… and I’m crossing my fingers you don’t send us another Bush for The White House…).

Tenure has never seemed very American to me.

I’ve always thought our country was built on the idea that if you work hard and pay your dues (figure of speech… not Union) it’s possible to make your fortune and climb the ladder of success.

If you think like I do (and for your sake, I pray you don’t), tenure may be holding good teachers back.

They aren’t granted the opportunity to be judged financially on the great work they do.

They are lumped in with all teachers, good and bad. 

Those who work 12 hour days and those who hardly work at all.

I think that’s a shame.

Tenure doesn’t help our best and brightest.

It doesn’t promote working harder, thinking outside the box (which is the dumbest phrase since… Where’s the Beef?), or going above and beyond.

Unfortunately, it’s major purpose seems to be protecting older teachers from vindictive administrators and school boards.

This is important, but is it reason enough to keep tenure in 2010?

The title of this blog comes from The Soup Nazi.  My hero.  My mentor.  My compadre (at least he will be after I learn Spanish).

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Perception.


It seems the entire educational system is based on perception.

No one seems to know the truth, so we all rely on how we want to perceive the truth.

Show people test scores, financial documents, or statistics and they will try to rationalize or explain them away (excuses are like… well, never mind).

How You See Yourself and How Others See You Is Two Different Things.

Think about it.

Most parents believe they live in a good school district.

This can’t be true for all of us, can it?

Some of us must live in an average or even below average district.

Many parents seem to believe their child is easily one of the best athletes in school (if not the state… if the coach would just put them in the game).

This goes hand in hand with parents thinking every coach needs to be fired (there has to be some kid who is less than a great athlete… isn’t there?).

Most teachers feel like they do a wonderful job every day.

They can’t all be great 100% of the time, can they?

Most administrators think they are working harder than all the other principals and superintendents combined (surely one of us isn’t as great as we think we are…).

How is this possible?

Isn’t at least one of us the lazy one (don’t answer this if you have even a smidge of anger towards administrators… and if you’re honest, many of you do)?

Most school boards think they only hire the best and brightest.

Isn’t this a statistical impossibility?

Communities believe they can do a better job making school decisions at a local level than the state or federal government.

The federal government believes they can do a better job making decisions at the local level than the states.

States are just confused (and sadly broke).

Everyone believes their school is safe.  And clean.  And structured.  And financially conservative.  And providing a great learning environment for all of their students.

How can this be true?

Or do we just want it to be true?

People say Perception is Reality.  Isn’t Reality… Reality?

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Teacher vs. Principal’s Evaluations. They’re Just Different.


Back to School.  Some are Happy.  Some are Sad.School is about to start.

This means a variety of things. The first thing it means is I’m already way behind schedule.

And secondly, I am getting grumpy. Or grumpier (see I’m falling hopelessly behind… how is it possible for this to be happening and school hasn’t even started???).

Even worse… stores all across America are putting school supplies on SALE.

This is code for: they would rather get rid of these pencils than count them.

Everything must go.

Paper, binders, book bags, erasers, glue sticks, and a bunch of other stuff that will eventually be lost or thrown away (don’t parents wonder where all the stuff they paid for goes??)

If you don’t believe me visit your local school’s lost and found… it has more merchandise than a Wal-mart.

Things are changing. School starts in a month (for every worried school administrator there are 400 moms filled with joy).

How is all of this possible?

Stores need to make room for the Christmas items. This my friends is a sad commentary on our society.

Before I can focus on the impending holiday season (only 5 shopping months left!), I need to get school started.

This is a complicated process.

Hiring teachers, assigning students to classes, buying some new ties… the list goes on and on.

Once the students arrive, there are certain things that have to be done.

This includes the E word.

I am almost hesitant to type it because it’s so heinous.

If you are easily offended this might be the time to look away… or at least send the kids out of the room.

Here it goes. You’ve been warned.

Evaluations.

There I said it (or typed it…).

It’s amazing how many people dread the thought of being evaluated.

And it’s not just teachers. Bus drivers, custodians, coaches, and even principals dread them.

You would think principals wouldn’t mind. Especially since they spend their days evaluating others (and chasing down that kid who stopped up the sink in the bathroom with paper towels).

The others I refer to are mostly teachers.

Some teachers don’t exactly enjoy evaluations. That’s understandable because it’s strange to have someone in your classroom that normally is not there.

Especially when they are taking notes as the teacher is trying to teach a room full of students who know the principal is taking notes.

It’s just not natural (much like expecting a junior high boy not to talk when there’s a sub).

Evaluations must be done, but they are still a little odd.

Most teachers view evaluations as a necessary evil they must experience once a year or even every couple of years.

The good news is teachers are usually evaluated under the best possible circumstances.

They have the opportunity to prepare and make a special lesson.

If all goes well the principal sees them under the best conditions. They are evaluated when they should be at their best.

Principal’s evaluations are different.

And this is something all new principals should know.

They won’t be evaluated when they are at their best. They will be evaluated starting the day they are hired.

And they won’t be evaluated by just one person. They will be evaluated by an entire community.

More importantly, this happens when they aren’t at their best. They will be evaluated when they are at their worst.

Like when they are nervous, mispronounce a name, forget a meeting, wear brown shoes with black trousers, dribble food all over their shirt, or even when they walk down the hall with their dress shirt caught in their fly (I can assure you none of these have ever happened to me… as far as you know).

Principal’s evaluations never formally start and they certainly never end.

So good luck.

But don’t worry. You should be fine.

Just remember to check your fly before you walk down the hallway (and yes, I learned this the hard way).

If you need me I will be doing all of my Christmas shopping this year out of Lost and Found. I have my eye on 12 jackets, 27 t-shirts, 3 pairs of glasses, some tube socks, and a pair of Pittsburgh Steelers sweat bands. Some of them don’t even smell… that bad.

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You Can’t Just Teach Your Staff Technology. You Have to Teach Them Not to be Afraid of Technology.


This blog is a continuation of my previous attempts to convince school administrators to use technology.

All of the following could be considered part of my overall master plan to convince the masses about the importance of technology. Or it could be a desperate plea that will likely fall on deaf ears. Only time will tell.

Guest Blog (We are in Charge Now!) – The Secret to Better Technology in Schools.

Tech Geeks vs. The Suits.

So You Want to be a Big-Time Blogger?

2009 is the Year of the Blog.

An Open Letter to Superintendents and Principals: You Should Blog.

Best case, administrators from all over the country are mesmerized by the genius of my blogs and start using technology at a record pace.

Worst case, I continue writing (I just cracked myself up…. this can hardly be considered “writing”… more like incoherent babbling) about technology so often that administrators start using more technology in the hope I will just shut up.

Either way, I figure it is a win-win for students. And it keeps me off the streets.

A couple weeks ago (that is how far I am behind), I was reading an internet article about 10 Technologies About to Go Extinct.

The article was about how technology sensations eventually get overtaken by new faster, better, sleeker technologies.

Their list (Foxnews.com… which as always is Fair and Balanced… there I go… cracked myself up again):

1. Landline phones walkman

2. Floppy disks

3. Wristwatches

4. VHS Tape and VCRs

5. Beepers

6. Film Cameras

7. Typewriters

8. The Walkman

9. Dial-up Internet

10. DVDs

After reading this, I once again realized I could be getting old. I can remember all of these items. Worse yet, I still have some of them.

The rundown:

1. I still have a landline phone. Hopefully Google Voice will help me pull the trigger on getting rid of this. It’s time.

2. I have to admit…haven’t seen a floppy disk in years. I’m not even a fan of flash drives. Thank you Google docs.

3. Wristwatches. Love them. I would be a collector if I made more money. They will have to pry one off my cold dead wrist before I give it up. Although, I never look at it. I do have a clock on my laptop and cell phone after all.

4. VHS Tape and VCRs. Still have them and they are drawing dust. The DVR is the world’s greatest invention. Up to now.

5. Beeper. Never owned one. My parents didn’t want to lose me in a gangland style killing.

6. Film Cameras. I have noticed I’m a much better photographer with a digital camera.

7. My first opportunity at a real career, typewriter repairman. Loved typing class in high school. Don’t miss the whiteout.

8. The Walkman was cool. I don’t care what anyone says. And so was my Flock of Seagulls cassette tape.

9. I hated Dial-up Internet. Even when it was brand new and cutting edge, we knew it was slow. What kind of technology is that?

10. DVD’s. Never understood this. Who has time to watch movies? And who buys the movie and watches it more than once?

I think there is a lesson to be learned in almost every situation and this is no different.

From this list it is painfully obvious that technology always advances. If something better hasn’t come along, it is on its way.

How do we take this lesson and apply it to schools?

Educators are going through a phase where we are teaching (in some cases forcing) staff members to learn about email, Google docs, SmartBoards, Moviemaker, YouTube and other assorted technology programs.

This is wonderful, but I think we need to look at a much bigger picture.

We can’t just teach teachers how to use specific programs and then walk away. Those technologies are going to change. It might be in 5 years, or a year, or in 10 minutes, but they are going to become obsolete.

Everything does.

As administrators, IT people, and technology trainers, we have to get our teachers comfortable with technology. Not just learning certain steps to create a project or use a computer program.

We can’t be helping people with their email folders 5 years from now.

They must feel comfortable helping themselves.

Then they can truly help their students.

Note from Editor in Chief… a.k.a. Wife: AMEN!

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Lawyers and Teachers.


lawyerI have been thinking about how people and careers are perceived.

After giving this way too much thought, I have concluded that I am confused. I have also decided that as I get older, I am more easily confused.

I tend to get distracted from time to time by these unimportant subjects. I don’t have a clue what causes me to think about them.

And then, after I think about them for days on end, I am left with more questions than answers.

Nothing is ever solved. Just more confusion on my part.

Long story short, people’s perceptions on different occupations have me dumbfounded.

Why is it that everyone hates lawyers?

Lawyers are typically considered to be one of the lowest forms of society. In casual conversation we make fun of them. Mention a lawyer and people react with disdain or a joke.

There have to be at least a 1000 jokes about them and their profession.

Most of these jokes end up with the lawyer waking up dead.

Seems kind of mean spirited. Granted funny, but mean spirited.

While people make fun of lawyers, most of us would be terribly proud if our children went to law school. Broke, but proud.

Yet, we can’t stand lawyers because they are considered bad people. That is unless we need one.

Then we want the most despicable lawyer we can afford.

Teachers on the other hand are generally considered to be in a wonderful profession. Good, honest, hardworking people that we trust to teach our children.

We may consider them slightly foolish, but for the most part they have our admiration.

In large part, society believes teachers serve an important role. We admire them and the work they do.

There aren’t 1000 jokes about teachers. And if there is a joke, the punch line doesn’t end with the teacher drowning… or worse.

While we generally have good feelings towards teachers, lots of people would be disappointed if their child went into this profession.

This seems odd to me. And just the opposite of our feelings towards lawyers.

It’s all very confusing.

We don’t like lawyers, until we need one. And we would be thrilled if our child went to law school.

We love teachers, but it isn’t our first choice for our children as a profession. In some cases, teachers discourage their own kids from following them into teaching.

Shouldn’t we be encouraging our best and brightest to become teachers? Shouldn’t we have that goal for our top 10 students in each class?

Become a teacher… as opposed to being a lawyer.

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The Teacher’s Union Dropped the Ball During These Negotiations.


I am not here to judge, but who was on the negotiating committee for these teachers?

Rules for Teachers – 1915teacher-1900

1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.

2. You are not to keep company with men.

3. You must be home between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am unless at a school function.

4. You may not loiter downtown in any of the ice cream stores.

5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have permission of the chairman of the school board.

6. You may not ride in carriages or automobiles with any man except your father or brother.

7. You may not smoke cigarettes.

8. You may not dress in bright colors.

9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair.

10. You must wear at least 2 petticoats.

11. Your dresses may not be any shorter than 2 inches above the ankles.

12. To keep the classroom neat and clean you must sweep the floor once a day, scrub the floor with hot soapy water once a week, clean the blackboards once a day and start the fire at 7 am to have the school warm by 8 am when the scholars arrive.

School Rules – 1872

1. Will fill lamps, trim wicks and clean chimneys.

2. Each morning teacher will bring bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.

3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.

4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if they attend church regularly.

5. After 10 hours in school the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or any other good book.

6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

7. Every teacher should lay aside for each pay day a godly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.

8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity, and honesty.

9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of $.25 per week in his pay providing the Board of Education approves.

Sources

The sources for these “rules” are unknown; thus we cannot attest to their authenticity… only to their verisimilitude and charming quaintness.

They have been used for years by the New Hampshire Historical Society Museum as part of its Going to School outreach lesson, but they also appear independently on numerous other websites from Auckland to England.

The rules from 1872 have been variously attributed to an 1872 posting in Monroe County, Iowa; to a one-room school in a small town in Maine; and to an unspecified Arizona schoolhouse.

The 1915 rules are attributed to a Sacramento teachers’s contract and elsewhere to an unspecified 1915 magazine.

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President Obama and Great Teachers Have This in Common.


Professor Obama.

Professor Obama.

Today was one of those days that our great grandchildren will read about in history books (like books will exist when my great grandchildren are running around… or laying on the couch if they take after their grandma).

In my 40 years there are only a few days that get their own chapter in textbooks (or hard drives… or whatever technology exists by then).

There is 9/11, the Challenger crash, OJ’s trial (first…), and… well, that’s all I’ve got.

What separates today (which if you have been living under a rock was President Obama’s inauguration) is that it is the only positive event that I can list.

In 40 years, I can come up with a grand total of one.

That is a little sad when you think about it.

What I can come up with is President Obama reminds me of a great teacher.

You say how can the leader of the free world remind me of a teacher? How can the most popular politician of the last 25 years remind me of a teacher? How can the first African American President remind me of a teacher?

Great teachers are focused, committed, energetic, and passionate. Great teachers get people to follow them. Great teachers make others believe anything is possible.

A great teacher can energize an entire group.

They can walk in the classroom a transform the attitude of everyone they meet.

One person is able to change the dynamic of an entire group. One person, such as a great teacher, can make a difference

A great teacher can provide a different perspective on the same old problems. They can take difficult situations and find solutions.

They don’t see obstacles, but opportunities.

They make others feel better about themselves, especially when things are there most difficult.

A great teacher provides hope.

Just like President Obama.

Today was one of those days that our great grandchildren will read about in history books (like books will exist when my great grandchildren are running around… or laying on the couch if they take after their grandma).

In my 40 years there are only a few days that get their own chapter in textbooks (or hard drives… or whatever technology exists by then).

There is 9/11, the Challenger crash, OJ’s trial (first…), and… well, that’s all I’ve got.

What separates today (which if you have been living under a rock was President Obama’s inauguration) is that it is the only positive event that I can list.

In 40 years, I can come up with a grand total of one.

That is a little sad when you think about it.

What I can come up with is President Obama reminds me of a great teacher.

You say how can the leader of the free world remind me of a teacher? How can the most popular politician of the last 25 years remind me of a teacher? How can the first African American President remind me of a teacher?

Great teachers are focused, committed, energetic, and passionate. Great teachers get people to follow them. Great teachers make others believe anything is possible.

A great teacher can energize an entire group.

They can walk in the classroom a transform the attitude of everyone they meet.

One person is able to change the dynamic of an entire group. One person, such as a great teacher, can make a difference

A great teacher can provide a different perspective on the same old problems. They can take difficult situations and find solutions.

They don’t see obstacles, but opportunities.

They make others feel better about themselves, especially when things are there most difficult.

A great teacher provides hope.

Just like President Obama.

Today was one of those days that our great grandchildren will read about in history books (like books will exist when my great grandchildren are running around… or laying on the couch if they take after their grandma).

In my 40 years there are only a few days that get their own chapter in textbooks (or hard drives… or whatever technology exists by then).

There is 9/11, the Challenger crash, OJ’s trial (first…), and… well, that’s all I’ve got.

What separates today (which if you have been living under a rock was President Obama’s inauguration) is that it is the only positive event that I can list.

In 40 years, I can come up with a grand total of one.

That is a little sad when you think about it.

What I can come up with is President Obama reminds me of a great teacher.

You say how can the leader of the free world remind me of a teacher? How can the most popular politician of the last 25 years remind me of a teacher? How can the first African American President remind me of a teacher?

Great teachers are focused, committed, energetic, and passionate. Great teachers get people to follow them. Great teachers make others believe anything is possible.

A great teacher can energize an entire group.

They can walk in the classroom a transform the attitude of everyone they meet.

One person is able to change the dynamic of an entire group. One person, such as a great teacher, can make a difference

A great teacher can provide a different perspective on the same old problems. They can take difficult situations and find solutions.

They don’t see obstacles, but opportunities.

They make others feel better about themselves, especially when things are there most difficult.

A great teacher provides hope.

Just like President Obama.

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Sammy the Snake Slid Silently Down the Seashore.


My Friend... Sammy the Snake.As students work their way through school, they must take many important classes.

An argument can be made that any one of the following are the most enlightening: Math, English, Science, the Fine Arts, Physical Education, Drivers Ed., or a Vocational class.

The list is almost endless.

I am hesitant to leave out other classes because there are so many that are vital to a well-rounded education.

Kindergarten is one. If you are in my age bracket it may have been offered for only half a day. In my case, you attended in the AM or PM, depending on what side of the tracks you lived.

I got started by going to the early morning version. My first experience in growing up on the wrong side of the tracks.

Just to be fair, they switched us after Christmas break (back in the old days we could still call it Christmas break).

Personally, my choice for the most important class isn’t that difficult.

At least it’s easy today; 35 years after the fact. As with so many things in life, I had no idea at the time that it was important.

The class was Speech (thankfully, recess and lunch don’t qualify as classes because this would have made my decision much more difficult). And I am not talking about the kind of speech class where I demonstrated how to bake brownies (they were both a huge hit and delicious).

I can’t remember exactly when I started Speech class or how long they made me go (by they, I mean evil administrators).

My best recollection is that it began in 1st grade and I had to attend for roughly 27.4 years.

At least it seemed that long. Could have been longer, but it’s hard to tell (I have slept since then).

You see, I hated Speech class.

Actually, hate is too strong of word. Actually, it isn’t. I hated it.

Not because of the teacher, loved her.

Not because of the work. I liked the challenge of saying my S’s correctly (hence, Sammy the Snake Slid Silently down the Seashore… aah, I remember it like it was yesterday).

It was the circumstances that I hated. Mostly, because they pulled me out of class at least twice a week.

I dreaded leaving class, not because other students made fun of me (they probably did, I just have a “selective” memory and again, I am a big sleeper), but because I missed coloring.

Yes, my one clear memory of Speech is that I got yanked out of class and everyone else fired up their crayons.

Seems like a small thing, but nonetheless quite painful for me.

In a way, I feel like part of my youth was taken away (okay, maybe a little dramatic… but you only get to color for a very short period of your life).

My appreciation for Speech came years later. After I had conquered my S’s (sort of… it’s still a daily battle) and a slight stuttering problem (although oddly enough, I never stuttered while on the phone).

Now, all that is left are my memories of Speech. And an inability to color inside the lines.

Every so often, I think about my time spent in Speech class.

Usually the memories are good ones. I am appreciative of the skills I learned when I have to talk in front of a large group of people. And I am also thankful that I am now in a position to recommend students for speech services. This comes in handy when I run into a 1st grader whom I can’t understand.

But most of all, I think about those years of speech when I walk by a classroom and see students who are incredibly happy because they are…. coloring. And this makes me jealous.

But then I remember Sammy the Snake. And Mrs. Davis my Speech Teacher.

I guess the lesson here is that sometimes you just don’t realize the importance of a class or a teacher until later in life.

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Which Grade Should You Teach? I Can Help.


Hmmm.... Which Grade Should I Teach?As I travel this great country of ours (back and forth to work), the question I am asked most often is… “How do I know which grade level I should teach?”

Future educators seem to be confused by the differences in kids at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.

This is understandable because each grade comes with its own set of strange and fascinating creatures. And when I insinuate students are strange and fascinating, I mean they are strange and fascinating.

The answer to the “Which grade should I teach?” question is, of course, quite simple.

If you are confused, check the nearest restroom (pick the right one, and if you don’t, please keep my name out of it).

You read correctly. The secret of choosing the teaching position is to walk into any school and head straight to the bathroom.

That is where you will find the answer to your career questions.

Other stuff is also kept in there, so ignore that if possible. If you can’t, call a janitor.

When you arrive, wash your hands then ask yourself “What kind of restroom troubles do I want for the next 30 years?”

If you want a restroom in your classroom, teach kindergarten or 1st grade.

If you want to yell at goofy boys for doing goofy things in the restroom, teach 2nd thru 5th grade.

If you like general weirdness, in the vicinity of a restroom, focus on teaching junior high or middle school students.

If you are interested in discovering why there is smoke coming out of the restroom, focus on high school.

So there you have it. Answers to career questions can be found in a stall near you.

Now that I have cleared up this mystery, I can focus on the other question that I am asked almost every day.

“Where’s the restroom?”

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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.