The Best Year of Their School Lives?


Mom's Class.

This blog is probably a little overdue, but I’ve been hesitate because I didn’t want to jinx the situation.

If you remember (and you probably don’t’), the Evil Spawn is in her mother’s class this year.

Yes, they are both confined to the same 4th grade room for 9 long months.

When this opportunity presented itself, my reaction was like most of my reactions.

How does this effect me?

My conclusion was it wasn’t going to be good.

Not good at all.

The fights.  The homework.  The awkward Parent-Teacher Conference.

The arguments at home about the fights, homework, and what a bad father/parent I am.

The worst part?  Me playing the complicated role of both room dad and husband (this could be my only chance at finally win a well-deserved Oscar… my one regret is I haven’t gained 150 pounds and used an accent for the role).

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t see much upside to this school year.

Again, for me.

But they both believed this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

And since I had no say, I took the position of “I’m all for it”.

For them this was the being in the right school, at the right age, at the right time.

As an administrator, I’m not sure I would have placed a teacher’s child in his or her classroom because of the numerous variables.

The kid.  The teacher.  The students.  The other staff members.

A lot could go wrong (and in school, it frequently does).

But, I’m happy to report (knock on wood) it seems to be going great.

But, I’m sad to report I think this has less to do with my wife and daughter and more to do with the other kids.

The Evil Spawn and her deadbeat friends seem to be a very good class. 

There are three types of classes. 

One, which comes along about every 5 years, is the class that makes kindergarten teachers cry in the hallway.  On the first day of school.

Once, these kindergarten teachers compose themselves, they immediately run to the teacher’s lounge and warn all the other teachers to make sure they retire the year before they get these heathens in class.

Then they go back to crying.

The second type of class are the duds.  Good kids, but they have no interest in anything.

The don’t like school.  Or reading.  Or work.   Or athletics.  Or even breathing.

They are just there.

Then there’s the third type.  The great class.  They are also on a five year cycle (so it works like this… terrible, dud, great, dud, dud,… and the cycle continues).

Teachers love the great classes.  This is what gets them to return from summer vacation.

And not retire.  In fact, there is no evidence a teacher has ever retired the year before they were to get a great class.

When they have a great class they love it.  The year flies by far too quickly.

They actually get to teach and not play referee.

This makes teachers very happy.

These kids are easily recognizable because they love everything.

A class like this so special because they like each other.  This may sound like a simple concept, but if you have ever been in a room with 25 students you know how important this is.

They are supportive, not demeaning.  They are happy and upbeat, not cranky and put-out.  They don’t want less work, they want more challenging assignments.  They are competitive, but gracious in losing.

They are so good as a group, they can even pull other students towards success.

This is the class my daughter has stumbled into (props to my wife for excellent birthing timing).

Being with a great group has allowed my wife and daughter to have a wonderful half-year.

Will it last?  Time will tell.

From my perspective, I hope so.

A once in a lifetime opportunity only seems to happen about once a lifetime.

Note to readers… wife not happy with “excellent birthing timing” reference.  In fact, any reference to all things pregnant makes her nervous.

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My Daughter’s Teacher and My Wife.


The Evil Spawn has finally arrived in 4th grade. 

It’s her Senior year of elementary school.

Things are about to get “very interesting” (my first and only Arte Johnson reference).

When parents think about his or her child’s class, they have a tendency to focus on the teacher (when I think they should focus on the group of kids… far more important… but that’s another blog).

Everyone wants the “right” teacher.It's Going to Be a Looooong Night.

Some families want the nice teacher.

Some want the mean teacher.

Some want the teacher who loves technology.

Some want the teacher who puts on skits that the parents get to take off work so they can attend (ugh).

Some want the teacher older siblings had.

Me?  I always hope the Evil Spawn is promoted to the next grade so she gets a new teacher.

This year, I got lucky.

The Spawn got promoted!  I don’t mean to brag, but that’s 5 years in a row!  The streak continues!

That’s the good news.

The bad news is she has been placed in my wife’s class.

Yes, the Tech Queen and the Evil Spawn are combining forces.

This can’t be good.  For me.

It’s a lot of pressure to have your kid in your spouse’s class.

My wife is about to find out what I’ve always known.

The Evil Spawn is made up of half of me.

Not good.

Not good at all.

The quips.  The sarcasm.  The constant references to “comedy gold”.

This isn’t going to end well.

My wife is going to see what I’ve created.

It’s going to make for one long Parent-Teacher Conference.

I could be a failure as a father and a husband… all within 20 minutes (which would break my old record by 14 seconds).

I will no doubt spend the entire meeting sweating, looking at my watch, and cursing the day my daughter didn’t get held back.

As if things couldn’t get worse, my wife has her whole class blogging.  Now a bunch of 9 year olds are trying to root themselves into my line of work.  Double ugh.  Click HERE to read the future.

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I Stink at Vacation.


Vacation.

You are either good at it or you are me.I'm the One on the Right.

And as usual, that’s not a good thing.

Because I stink at vacation.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the time away from home (code:  work).

I’m just not good at it.

Vacation is everything I despise.

No structure.  No schedule.  No reason to set the alarm to get up early.  No To Do List where I can scratch off my accomplishments in the order of importance. 

Just day after day of sitting around watching time pass by.

It’s unstructured and exhausting.

On the other side of the spectrum, my wife (Tech Queen), daughter (Evil Spawn), and Buddy the Dog are great at vacation.

They have walks to take, books to read, little towns to explore, naps to take, and movies to watch (in the effort of full-disclosure… Buddy isn’t that great of a reader).

This is also exhausting.

Watching them relaxing and accomplishing nothing.

The best part of vacation for me is the anticipation of going.  After that it’s all downhill.

Once I arrive at the chosen vacation spot, my thoughts turn to when we have to leave.

When should we start packing?

What time should we leave so we beat traffic?

Will we get back early enough so I can mow the yard?

A vacation is almost more exhausting than staying home and being in my normal routine.

Actually, it’s more than exhausting.

It’s a little pathetic now that I think about it.

 

Question/snide remark from said “Tech Queen” – A little pathetic?

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Off the Grid.


I’ve been a little lax in my blogging.  The reason… we’re on vacation.

The View From Every Window in Our Cabin.

Well, kind of.

I’m not sure if you can technically call it a vacation when you drive over 19,000 miles with the Evil Spawn and Buddy the Dog in the backseat snoring (if that isn’t bad enough, they both drool while they sleep… and neither one can figure out why the truck seat is wet).

I must admit this obnoxious snoring is better than hearing “Are we there yet?”

To get from our house to the North Shore in Minnesota took approximately 87 hours.

Or at least it seemed like 87 hours (it may have been longer because at one point I passed out).

The trip was so long that I could have sworn we were going in circles.

I kept thinking… I know I’ve seen this “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign at least a dozen times.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is I’ve been able to drop off “The Grid”.

For educators “The Grid” is a triangle.  It goes from your home to school to Wal-mart (feel free to substitute another large mega-billion shopping store of your choice).

It’s a law.  Every teacher and administrator must spend 90% of their time inside their grid (unless school is in session… then it’s 98.5%).

I think there might be some fine print in NCLB that requires us to stay inside this restricted area.

Rumor has it educators who venture outside the “Grid” too often are never heard from again.

It’s the opposite of tenure.

So it’s a fine line between leaving your grid and going insane (and not a little insane… I’m talking Jack Nicholson in The Shining insane).

Because I don’t see the need in chasing the Tech Queen with an ax, we like to go on vacation at least once a year (unfortunately these never take place during school).

This year we headed for the woods.

A cabin in northern Minnesota.

Frighteningly close to my sworn enemies… the Canadians.

People ask me what I have against the good people of Canada.

Nothing.

I just don’t trust them.

Sooner or later they are going to get sick of the cold and storm our borders with the intent of taking Florida just so they can sit on a beach.

Mark my word, it’s coming.

As I sit here and type this blog, I’m within miles of the US-Canadian border (rest easy, I will keep an eye on them and if I can’t chase them back… Buddy the Dog can… unless of course, he’s napping).

So for the next several days I’m officially off “The Grid”.

No ESPN.  No internet.  No email.  No phone calls. No meetings.

No contact with any other human beings (unless it’s on a golf course… and I do apologize for almost hitting you with my drive off #7).

I’m unreachable.

I’m a ghost.

I don’t exist.

At least that’s what I told everyone at school.

Do you think they will believe I pre-wrote this blog and uploaded it before I left?

I guess I’ll never know since I’m not getting their emails.

Or at least I’m not answering them.

It’s good to be off “The Grid”.

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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.