Hiring a Teacher to a 35 Year Contract Makes Me Nervous.


As a school administrator I have lots of challenges.

Which tie to wear.

How to keep lunch off my tie.

Getting the stain off my tie after lunch.

It never ends.

Tomorrow is another day and I will need another tie (today’s has something on it). 

And if history tells us anything, it’s very likely I’ll be eating lunch.

It’s a vicious cycle.

But you will be glad to know this isn’t my biggest challenge.

There’s one thing that makes me more nervous than eating spaghetti in the cafeteria wearing a white tie while sitting between two 5th graders with sharp elbows and attention problems.

It’s hiring people.

Any time you have an opening within your staff, it’s an opportunity for your school to get better.

This isn’t to say whoever is leaving the position is bad, but as an administrator, the goal is to find someone who is at least a little better.

Because if you think about it, none of us are looking to take a giant step backward (if you are… you might be in the wrong profession).

But this is where it gets tricky.

Interviewing isn’t a science, it’s an art.

Which is a nice way of saying, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t (feel free to quote me on this).

This isn’t what makes me nervous.  I know I’m not going to hit a home run on every new hire (I think I just invented a baseball analogy).

The mediocre hires don’t worry me as much as the pretty good hires. 

This is because a brand new pretty good teacher may be employed by the district for the next 35 years (a mediocre one hopefully won’t).

35 years.

That’s three and a half decades.

That’s 8.75 Presidents.

Or think of it this way.  In 35 years, I will be 73 (if I’m lucky).

Even more disturbing, 35 years ago it was 1976.  I was in the 4th grade (for the first and only time… as far as you know).

This means a teacher who was hired during my 4th grade year is still teaching.

Meanwhile the world has changed ever so slightly (you’ve probably heard of the internet… since you are on it right now).

But have they?

I would say most have changed, but the ability to be progressive in your career is a hard thing to project in a 30 minute interview.

To sum up, a new teacher who is hired this year could be with the school district for a very long time (check my math… but I’m guessing until approximately 2046).

And that makes me nervous.

Not nervous enough to skip lunch, but nervous.

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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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Being a School Principal can be Wrought with Danger.

It Looks Good.  And It's a Danger.There are a lot of good things about being a school administrator. Unfortunately, with the good there must be some bad.

This kind of symmetry makes the world of education go round. First hour and last hour. Teachers and students. Homework and recess. Boys and girls. Math class and recess. Junior high students and detentions. School days and vacation. And the good and the bad.

If this highly organized system breaks down, our schools will be overtaken by mass confusion and total mayhem (alright… more than we have now).

I love the structure of the school day. Everything happens at a certain time.

School starts at 8:00 and dismisses at 3:30. Lunch is the same time every day. The work week is Monday through Friday. Pay day comes once a month whether I need it or not.

Structure and lots of it.

Nothing ever changes, until something goes horribly wrong. Which happens by my estimation about 113 times a day, if it has been a good and unusually peaceful day.

Last week I had one of those days. By late afternoon, things had almost been going too well. It had been almost too easy. It was quiet, maybe a little too quiet.

No crisis. No excitement. Nothing out of the ordinary. Until…

….I felt a sharp pain around my neck. Apparently I was being choked.

A variety of things ran through my mind. Who could it be? So little time and so many suspects. I quickly came up with a lengthy list of possible attackers.

Was it an angry parent? Had I upset a student or possibly a teacher? Someone in the community who was not happy with me? Maybe even the home school mom who keeps emailing me, or a soccer parent, or even the chocolate milk kid who haunts my dreams.

It could be one of a thousand people I had dealt with over the years.

One’s mind races in a time like this. My entire life flashed before me.

The highlights and, as it turns out, a lot of boring parts. If I survived this vicious attack, I really need to turn up the excitement a bit (alright… a lot).

My run as a school administrator was coming to an end in about 90 seconds if I didn’t act quickly.

Then it occurred to me.

I wasn’t being choked. I had just closed the file drawer on my tie. Sad but true. At least no one will ever know.

The moral of this story is I hate ties.

The good is I survived my attacking myself with a file cabinet. The bad is I am an idiot and still a target for about a thousand people (a guesstimate… there may be more).

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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.