Kids, Schools, Lunch Ladies, and Thanksgiving.

Lunchlady from the Simpsons.As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, it is time to pause for a moment and count our blessings. As school employees we have lots of things we need to remember and appreciate. Here are just a few items for which we should all give our thanks.

At school, Thanksgiving week is a short week. People involved in education always look forward to shortened weeks, even though we all know these can seem longer than a regular five day week. There is nothing better than Tuesday turning into Friday.

Actually, it can get better when that Tuesday is an early out day.

Consequently, Thanksgiving brings us a long weekend. Nothing better than a mini-vacation in the middle of the year. People in the real world look forward to their two week vacation that comes after 50 weeks of hard work. In education, we get time off at least once a month.

Another reason to be thankful is that Christmas is right around the corner. The countdown clock on tells me there are only about 30 days left.
How sweet it is to know that another vacation is on the horizon. I love my job.

One of the greatest reasons for which to be thankful, the kindness bestowed upon you in the form of extra helpings of turkey & noodles and mashed potatoes from the lunch ladies. Well, that is, only if you have shown them the same kindness throughout the year!

Who knew you could get that much white food on one small lunch tray (don’t forget the extra slice of white bread with the perfectly pre-portioned rectangular butter slab). This may well be the best school lunch of the year.

I am personally thankful that I no longer have to monitor the junior high lunchroom. If you have not been in charge of junior high lunch, you have no idea why I am thankful. If you have been, we are now officially bonded for life.

There are lots of other reasons we should be thankful; secretaries who actually run the school, janitors who clean up everything (and I mean everything), the bus drivers, lunch ladies (I am being nice because next Thanksgiving is just a year away), aides, bookkeepers, nurses, teachers, administrators, assistant principals, deans, coaches, and everyone else who helps to make a school run smoothly.

But I think the #1 reason I am thankful is that I don’t have to completely grow up.

My life continues to revolve around the start of school, games, tournaments, holidays, long weekends, school pictures, open house, field trips, dances, graduation, scholarships, yearbooks, and summer vacation.

The majority of my life continues to be a small part of kids growing up in their lives, and I get paid to help them. Go to school and get paid. What a life I lead. One day I might just have to grow up and get a real job.

Every school year the students get a year older and yet in my own mind I stay the same age.

For that I say, “Thanks.”

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody.

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Life Moves Pretty Fast.

Life Moves Fast.We now have about two weeks until Thanksgiving break. Life continues to speed by. I am sure it was just spring like ten minutes ago. This whole thing is starting to approach the ridiculous stage.

The longer I work in schools, the faster I think the time goes. School day after school day rolls by like we are sitting still. We get through one holiday and another one is upon us.

I think it is more noticeable in schools because we judge time not by years, but by midterms, nine weeks, semesters, seasons, holidays, and events like graduation. Every time I turn around, there is another event quickly approaching.

I get to school early (unless I’m sleepy), work for an hour (unless I’m lazy), go to morning duty (unless I get lost), come back to the office (again, unless lost), and then it is 7:30 p.m. (back to sleepy).

Kids who were just in 5th grade are now picking out their high school graduation announcements.

Teachers in the middle of their careers, when I began teaching, are now looking forward to retirement.

Students I had in my classes now stop by and visit when they come to school to pick up their kids (from 4th grade).

We just brought my daughter home from the hospital, and now she is almost a third of the way through her first grade year. Before I know it she will be in junior high (unless she continues to forget to do her chores; then we are giving her away- I am not joking- her room is such a mess that the other day she lost her bed).

Somehow, someway I have got to figure out a way to slow life down. If I could figure this out and then bottle it, I could make millions.

As that great American figure Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

He was/is a genius (and never got sleepy).

The fact that Ferris Bueller 2 was never made is the greatest crime of the 21st century.

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Please Pass the Gravy, Soccer Guy.

I like to read, primarily the classics – golf magazines, newspapers, Sports Illustrated, internet sites, bathroom walls, and messages written on the backs of dirty semi-trucks.

Lately, all over the news (which happens every 2 or 3 years) is the fact that soccer is right on the cusp of capturing America’s attention as one of the major sports. Soccer people everywhere call into sports radio shows to declare that “Soccer is popular” and the rest of the major sports should get out the way.

Soon, the NFL and MLB, along with college football and basketball, and even golf will have to take a backseat to the world’s most popular game- the original football, aka soccer.

In the 70’s Pele was going to make every child in the United States want to grow up and play soccer. In the 80’s indoor soccer was going to be the rage. We got to the 90’s and soccer people everywhere thought that hosting a World Cup would grab our attention and make soccer the new national pastime. Soccer Guy is Handsome.

We even had a female soccer player score a goal and rip off her jersey to show us her sports bra. This was the event that would make all of our best female teenage athletes want to grow up and dominate the soccer world.

Now it is 2007 and David Beckham and his wife, Posh Spice, are going to be the catalyst for soccer’s entry into the public consciousness.

Along with soccer guy, newspapers are too blamed for starting this bandwagon that the rest of us aren’t jumping on. How long will it take for the 60 year old sports editors of major newspapers to figure out that NHL hockey isn’t a major sport, boxing is dead, and professional soccer doesn’t excite the average American who watches Sports Center.

Soccer guy will argue two points: one soccer is the world’s game, which is correct, it’s just not our game. Secondly, they say soccer is popular because 198 trillion six-year olds play it on Saturday morning.

Both of these facts are true, but there is more to it than that. In America we have what I like to call choices. There are a thousand and one things to do after work or on our weekends, fortunately most don’t involve kicking a ball into a net. As a group, Americans, like the outdoors, traditions, games that we can see the object being hit (you can’t even see a hockey puck on TV) and violence. Hence, the NFL is the most popular sport.

In small countries all around the world, people can’t waste their money on green fees for a round of golf, tickets to the movies, or a trip to Hardee’s for a Monster Burger. I am not saying this is right or fair, but we are busy people with lots of choices and we choose not to make soccer one of them. We can’t add professional soccer to our busy schedules because making room for it would mean giving something else up.

I think we like football so much, not because everyone who watches played the game, but because it looks good on TV and our favorite team only plays once a week. Who has the time to watch a professional soccer game on a Tuesday night?

The soccer pushers are correct about our six-year olds playing soccer. The kids love it, right up to the point that they can play a sport that allows them to use their hands.

Don’t get me wrong, professional soccer takes a great deal of skill, but for a small child nothing more is required than an hour on Saturday morning, a pair of tennis shoes, and a team t-shirt with Dairy Queen, Chicos Bail Bonds, or Tommy’s A-1 Mortuary on it.

More proof that soccer is the third cousin to football. When your six-year old is playing, it is usually on a football field. Has anyone ever gone to a football game held on the soccer field? I didn’t think so.

Just because a child plays it, doesn’t necessarily mean they will continue to love it when they get to be adults. Hence, there are not professional tag leagues, or hopscotch leagues, hide-and-seek leagues, or even Candyland tournaments in Las Vegas.

Our best athletes choose team sports that are backed by a traditionally strong professional league. You can go to any high school and out of the best 10 athletes, 8 play football, basketball, and baseball. If my math is correct, that leaves possibly one for golf and one for soccer.

It is not that I am anti-soccer, it serves a role in America. It certainly makes a six-year old tired and that makes them more likely to go to bed sooner, so we have that going for us.

If soccer was invited to the sports Thanksgiving dinner, it would have a seat- at the card table in the living room. Also, if you need more pumpkin pie soccer guy, you are going to have to get it yourself- the rest of us will be watching football.

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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.