Time to Get Things Off My Desk. And Chest.

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It’s summertime.

This means two things. 

The first is I finally have time to clean off my desk (I couldn’t find a paperclip all year and now I stumble across 1,714 in one drawer… who knew?).

Not Really My Desk.  It's From CartoonCrunch.com.

Secondly, I find during the summer people continue to read this blog, but the number of comments go way down (yes, I’m trolling for more comments… I have little or no pride and apparently a great deal of free time).

The lack of comments could be a sign that the quality of my blog material isn’t as strong during the summer.

Or as I like to believe, readers are just way too busy (vacations, yard work, completing court-ordered community service, etc.)

Either way, I thought this would be a good opportunity to write(?) about a few of my half-baked theories that may not qualify for a full-blog.

So here are 10 possibly comment worthy theories of mine.


1.  World Cup soccer is the equivalent of ice skating in the Winter Olympics.

I’ll watch because I take great pride in pummeling less fortunate countries, but in two weeks I won’t be able to name one athlete who participated.

News to soccer lovers:  It still isn’t sweeping the country.  And it never will (although who knows, because I did think horse racing and boxing were here to stay…).

Little kids like soccer because it’s easy to understand (and pretty much every 6 year old likes to kick a ball and eat snacks after the game).

The rest of us don’t love it because you aren’t allowed to use your hands.

Americans like sports we invented.  And we only invent sports if we can use our hands.

I wish it was more complicated, but sadly it isn’t.


2.  There are way way too many loud blowhard white guys on cable news.  The loud I can mute, but is it too much to ask that we diversify a little bit? 

It is 2010 after all.

There has to be at least one obnoxious overweight Hispanic guy/gal out there somewhere who wants to complain about government.


3.  President Obama misjudged the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Turns out it’s kind of a big deal.

People are either incredibly angry or sad for those people/communities directly affected (and maybe more so for the birds covered in oil).

He’s not gaining many votes this summer.

He’s becoming the neighbor who leaves their trash cans in the front yard six days after the garbage has been picked up.

Not a big deal to them, but a huge deal to everyone else (yes, I just compared a massive oil spill to my neighbor’s trash… sorry about that).


4.  Twitter is great.

It’s also causing people to be less productive at work.

My estimate is employees are costing their companies $4.3 trillion dollars each year by Tweeting when they should be working.

But that’s just a guess.

It could be more (feel free to follow me on Twitter… @principalspage).


5.  Tony Hayward (head of BP) and General McChrystal (head of Afghanistan) are on my short list for Idiot of the Year (lucky for them we have a lot more year left).

Both should speak less.

Much less.


6.  My desk is like my dorm room in college.  It’s a magnet for crap I think I’ll need later, but as it turns out, it’s just crap.

I’m making a personal plea on behalf of everyone who holds a meeting or a convention.

Stop giving us free stuff.

We can’t handle it.

And we definitely can’t throw it away.


7.  As I get older (and older) winter is too cold and summer is too hot.

I have no point here, I just want to go on the record that I’m seldom happy with the weather.

No matter how bad my day, I always look forward to watching the weatherperson with contempt.


8. My daughter (the Evil Spawn) wants to be older.  I want her age to be frozen in time.

This is no doubt the first of 19,767 arguments we will have between now and her 18th birthday (again, could be more… I’m just guestimating).


9.  Education is changing.  Fast.

And the worst part is most teachers/administrators have no idea.

In 5 years most of us won’t recognize schools, curriculum, evaluations, or the technology advances.

My only hope is all of this makes education better.

But with the government involved, it’s 50/50 (but then again, isn’t everything).


10.  Buddy the Dog sleeps a lot.

And by a lot I mean at least 20 hours a day.

He only awakens to eat, roll over so we can scratch his big hairy gut, bark at big trucks (garbage, FedEx, UPS, busses, etc.), wander aimlessly around the yard, and use the bathroom (also aSeriously.... Why Did You Wake Me Up? lot… and I know because I mow).

His life is exactly how I envision my retirement years (I especially look forward to the belly scratching).


Feel free to comment. 

More importantly, enjoy your summer (it’s going fast).

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18 Responses to “Time to Get Things Off My Desk. And Chest.”

  1. Dave Meister
    on Jun 26th, 2010
    @ 7:17 pm

    Education is changing fast? Show me the signs. I like to proclaim myself a change agent…(I wear different clothes to work everyday). I don’t think most folks who went to school 30 years ago would miss a beat if they sat down in a classroom today. Yeah, there are some neat new tools, but until the standards are changed (ok, so Illinois adopted something new this week…) and what schools are expected do changes….um…uh… I lost my train of thought. It is summer you know.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Dave Meister, Patience… wait for it… wait…

    it’s changing.

    Slowly, but surely.

  2. Ashley Burleson
    on Jun 26th, 2010
    @ 7:23 pm

    I LOVE this list!

    #1 – My coworkers and I have talked about this for the last few days. All of us have noticed an insane amount of Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. about the World Cup…who knew our friends and family even cared? Oh wait, they don’t! It’s just national pride (which I’m not knocking), but you’re absolutely right…soccer is not sweeping the nation. Although I’m sure you’ll have a few women who will remember Landon Donovan. :)

    #2 – Concur wholeheartedly. Nothing more to add.

    #4 – Please don’t share this tidbit too loudly. I’m afraid my boss will think I’m contributing to the $4.3 trillion figure. I’m addicted. But I keep rationalizing that trolling for education-related news can’t be a bad thing, right?

    Thanks again for the list. I so enjoy your blog!

  3. Olwyn Hughes
    on Jun 26th, 2010
    @ 9:23 pm

    Well, if you came into my classroom, you would find that it functions significantly differently than a grade 1 class 30 years ago and is still evolving (I got my smartboard last week!)

    Twitter? Facebook? Have to say I don’t use either.

    I feel the same way about the weather.

    And, I hate to tell you but you will most likely have something like 125,678 arguments with the Evil Spawn. I have had roughly a quarter of that this year alone!

  4. Tim
    on Jun 26th, 2010
    @ 11:14 pm

    1. Wrong. We don’t like soccer because you have to use your head… How’s that for cynicism.

    2. Al sharpton, George Lopez.

    3. It’s Katrina for Obama… Doubt his political career is going to ever live it down, poor guy.

    4. Twitter is great, especially with Hootsuite.

    5. Not going to say anything on that topic. they’ve said enough.

    6. I have a collection of Pens that rivals anyone… People keep stealing my post it note pads and Coffee mugs get tossed when penicillin starts colonizing them… I know your pain….

    7. All I can say about the weather this year is I do not believe in Global Warming… It’s been STINKIN’ cold here, far too long. I want some warming and I want it now!

    8. Comedy Gold…. Nuff said.

    9. If you don’t have your iPad already, you don’t need one, it’s obsolete… I’ll take my textbooks delivered to the chip in my brain, thank you…

    !0. Buddy the Dog is a bittersweet topic for me. He always makes me think of my “Buddy” who met his untimely demise at the front of a fully loaded log truck…. I have never used a dog sitter since….

    I now feel less guilty about not commenting enough and I’m pretty sure this will hold me over until September 15 when I’m sure I’ll have something to say, and by something I mean drivel…

    Cheers! Happy Summer to you!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Tim, George Lopez??

    Can’t we find somebody funny??

  5. Michelle Howell-Martin
    on Jun 27th, 2010
    @ 4:11 am

    Regarding the “Evil Spawn” and the arguing, wish I could say it will get better…but you all still have to survive the TEEN YEARS. Just learn to accept that she is smarter than you, has better fashion sense, is smarter than you, is more cute, and is smarter than you. Practice saying this phrase over and over, “You could be right.” And then walk away…far, far away.

    As far as the rest of your post, you could be right.

  6. Karen
    on Jun 27th, 2010
    @ 5:29 am

    I have not commented in a while but have to again for this post. Please keep in mind I am retiring which I find skews one’s view a bit.
    1 Now maybe I will have time to actually watch a game and totally understand it. Maybe the same will be true of basketball, football, lacrosse, track, ….you get my drift.
    3. Did you read the article this morning that plastic trash has now been found in the Antarctic Oceans? We may not be experiencing global warming but we are doing a nice job of global trashing.
    6. I could write my own blog post about this topic. Your desk map resembles my own to a great degree. I tried throughout the year to apply the circulating file theory. Make piles on the corners based on who might actually care about the stuff in that pile. If no one asks you about it or sends a threatening email saying the State DOE will throw you in jail and fine your superintendent large amounts of money if you don’t comply for three months, file it in the circulating file that the custodian “files” every day out back in the dumpster. This process cleans your desk regularly. As for all the other stuff including glass chickens, rubber stars on wobbly legs that say “World’s Best Principal”, every smelly candle known to man, metal chckens in school colors, dead flowers (dried flowers from Whole Foods because you were sick onece but had to come to work anyway), baskets of greeting cards, little stuffed things, and on an on…I quietly dumped it all as I was cleaning out the office for the new girl. I hope no one I know reads this blog (or recognizes me). I gave all my good markers to the second grade teacher, all the math books to the second grade teacher, all the writing prompt books to the second grade teacher…hmmmm…wonder what her room will look like when she retires, she is about 15 years younger than I am.
    Well, enough.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Karen, I feel like we should have some sort of retirement party for you.

  7. Melanie
    on Jun 27th, 2010
    @ 12:35 pm

    Not to whine or anything, but some of us teachers are busy gaining new education through 6 weeks of Professional development. Very little time for commenting! :D

  8. Zachary
    on Jun 27th, 2010
    @ 3:02 pm

    World Cup gets so much more exciting in the knockout stages. But it’s still soccer.

  9. John Lawrence
    on Jun 27th, 2010
    @ 4:01 pm

    Some teachers, and certainly the kids are changing when it comes to technology and education. Last night my 3 yr old was sitting on my lap playing a skateboarding game that had attracted his attention on KidZui (a kid friendly web browser). And before you suggest that I likely don’t play with my child – yesterday we also: 1) Went to the library and picked up some “real” books, 2) went swimming at the pool, and 3) washed the car/had a water fight before having a bath and going to bed.

    In my experience, the ones who don’t seem to get it are the administration. Nice to see a principal that embraces the education revolution that is happening RIGHT NOW!. It certainly would be interested if there were a time machine and we could go forward 10-15 yrs!

    My prediction, there will be fewer schools and children will be much more aware of their global peers (although sadly, probably less aware of their own cities and neighbourhoods).

  10. eduguy101
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 9:24 am

    I too am cleaning my desk for the first time since since winter break. Luckily I am not finding anything critical in the piles, except for articles I have meant to read.

    As for the World Cup, I prefer to think it is achieving cult like status. I keep believing it will catch on, sort of like the idea that the US will jump to using the metric system too.

    Although I do not comment, I read your blogs regularly.

    Enjoy the summer.

  11. Ashley
    on Jun 29th, 2010
    @ 3:20 pm

    The oil spill is nothing to laugh at but I just saw a kid wearing a t-shirt that cracked me up. BP – We’re bring oil to America’s shores. I died laughing because BP’s billion dollar image change to their new sunflower logo is forever going to be associated with the worst environmental disaster to strike America. Check out the shirt here – http://bit.ly/bJAuTb

  12. Dave George
    on Jun 30th, 2010
    @ 6:31 am

    I watch the World Cup every four years, and can’t get enough of it. I’ll watch Slovakia vs. Upper Volta and root passionately for one or the other. But then, when the Cup is over, I don’t even think about soccer anymore. Go figure.

    And yes, totally agree that education is changing! Some for the better (don’t want to pitch virtual education, since I’m biased!) and some for the worse.

    Great list!

  13. Dentist in Brooklyn
    on Jul 20th, 2010
    @ 6:04 am

    What a great blog. I’m truly a fan of your writing. Keep up the good work.

  14. Diane Mauffray
    on Jul 21st, 2010
    @ 6:43 pm

    I contemplate if they will come to their senses and stop with the oil. Alternate technological know-how is already there to replace it!

  15. Traci
    on Sep 13th, 2010
    @ 11:57 pm

    Your dog Buddy looks like my Jack Russell Terror who is full of energy, loves to hunt, dig, bark and bites me if I get excited about anything. Ugg, I love the dog but really… what a bully. Your dog looks VERY mischievous but cute. Anyway I’m not a blogger or tweeter so thats my special comment.

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