A Bad Day at School is Still a Pretty Good Day.

goodthingsIt’s that time of year where school employees are getting tired.

And cranky.

School is no longer new and exciting.

It can become old and draining.

The holiday breaks are right around the corner, but they can also seem so far away.

Students and the day-to-day pressures have a tendency to wear us out.

It becomes easy to focus on the never-ending almost unattainable challenges of education (am I the only one who feels like this?).

So, I think it’s time we all took a minute and made a list of good things that happen at school.

Because I don’t know about you, but I can always use some good news.

My List

1. Kindergarteners in art class

2. Corn Dogs (Thursdays!)

3. Recess

4. The last bell on Friday

5. 3-day weekends (does this count?)

6. Snow days

7. Watching the best 1st year teacher you’ve ever seen

8. 2nd graders losing their teeth (always considered an accomplishment)

9. Seniors getting accepted to college

10. Volunteers

11. Alumni who are so excited to tell you about their experiences in your school

12. Students who want to show you their report cards

13. Grants (I love these)

14. The days before a holiday (exciting… even after all these years)

15. About a 1,000 others things that I sometimes take for granted

Please feel free to make your own list. It really will make you feel better.

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Beloit College “Internet Class” of 2015.


Our annual blog about the Mindset List.


Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall.

It was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation.


1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.

2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.

3. States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.

4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.

5. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.

6. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.

7. As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.

8. Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.

9. “Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?

10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.

11. More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.

12. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.

13. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.

14. All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”

15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

16. Women have never been too old to have children.

17. Japan has always been importing rice.

18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.

19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.

20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.

21. They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.

22. John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.

23. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.

24. “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.

25. Video games have always had ratings.

26. Chicken soup has always been soul food.

27. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.

28. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.

29. Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.

30. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!

31. Women have always been kissing women on television.

32. Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.

33. Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.

34. They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”

35. The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little whacko.

36. Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.

37. Music has always been available via free downloads.

38. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.

39. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.

40. Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.

41. The United States has always been shedding fur.

42. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.

43. No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.

44. They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.

45. They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.

46. Russian courts have always had juries.

47. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.

48. While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.

49. Public schools have always made space available for advertising.

50. Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.

51. Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.

52. Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.

53. Charter schools have always been an alternative.

54. They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.

55. New kids have always been known as NKOTB.

56. They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?

57. They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.

58. Their parents sort of remember Woolworths as this store that used to be downtown.

59. Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.

60. Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime.

61. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs.

62. Nurses have always been in short supply.

63. They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.

64. Altar girls have never been a big deal.

65. When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.

66. It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.

67. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi Cola.

68. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.

69. They’ve grown up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.

70. They’ve always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.

71. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.

72. Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.

73. McDonalds coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.

74. “PC” has come to mean Personal Computer, not Political Correctness.

75. The New York Times and the Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.

Copyright© 2011 Beloit College

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You Want to Feel Old? Read This.

It’s time, once again to feel badly about yourself.

The year is 2010.  You are at least a year older.  Kids are way younger.

The gap between old and cool gets larger by the day (just ask my daughter).

I’m always fascinated by the list of cultural touchstones that Beloit College compiles each year (making us feel old since 1998… thanks Beloit).

It gives a real picture of the events that have shaped the lives of this year’s freshman class.

The list makes one thing perfectly clear… time really does fly and the only constant is change.


My favorites from The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014 (you can visit all 13 lists HERE).

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992 (as if you didn’t feel old enough already).

1. For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks and Tony Perkins have always been dead.

2. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

3. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.

4. Los Angelenos have always been trying to get along. If You Are Reading This You're Probably Old.

5. “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.

6. With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities.

7. Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.

8. Entering college this fall in a country where a quarter of young people under 18 have at least one immigrant parent, they aren’t afraid of immigration…unless it involves "real" aliens from another planet.

9. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.

10. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.

11.Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.

12. Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.

13. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.

14. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.

15. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

16. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.

17. Cross-burning has always been deemed protected speech.

18. Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.

19. Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.

20. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.

21. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

22. “Viewer Discretion” has always been an available warning on TV shows.

23. The first home computer they probably touched was an Apple II or Mac II; they are now in a museum.

24. Czechoslovakia has never existed.

25. Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.

26. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

27. Pizza jockeys from Domino’s have never killed themselves to get your pizza there in under 30 minutes.

28. There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.

29. American companies have always done business in Vietnam.

30. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.

31. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.

32. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.

33. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. 

34. A purple dinosaur has always supplanted Barney Google and Barney Fife. 

35. Beethoven has always been a good name for a dog.

36. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine. 

37. Their parents’ favorite TV sitcoms have always been showing up as movies.

38. The U.S, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.

39. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.

40. It seems the Post Office has always been going broke.

Bonus… the nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing (and my guess is they never will).

I can’t imagine what The Evil Spawn will see and experience before she graduates from college in 2023 (or truck driving school… I’m not going to lie, I would be thrilled with either).

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Times Change, Do You?

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List.  It’s a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college.

It’s a reminder of how quickly the frame of reference changes for the next generation. Born in 1991?  When Did I Get So Old?

I love the list because it brings together two big concepts from this blog:  change and the fact I’m getting older (and older… and older).

You can see all 12 lists HERE.


My favorites from The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2013 (just so you feel worse about yourself… most students entering college for the first time in the fall of 2009 were born in 1991).

1.  For these students, Martha Graham, Pan American Airways, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, The Dallas Times Herald, Gene Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead.

2.  Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian, and Mike Tyson have always been felons.

3.  The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables.

4.  They have never used a card catalog to find a book.

5.  Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister.

6.  Salsa has always outsold ketchup.

7.  Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.

8.  They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives.

9.  Rap music has always been main stream.

10.  The KGB has never officially existed.

11.  Text has always been hyper.

12.  Babies have always had a Social Security Number.

13.  They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer.

14.  American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing.

15.  State abbreviations in addresses have never had periods.

16.  McDonald’s has always been serving Happy Meals in China.

17.  Cable television systems have always offered telephone service and vice versa.

18.  The American health care system has always been in critical condition.

19.  There has always been a Cartoon Network.

20.  They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen.

21.  Women have always outnumbered men in college.

22.  We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time.

23.  Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, and Estonia have always been independent nations.

24.  It’s always been official: President Zachary Taylor did not die of arsenic poisoning.

25.  Ozzy Osbourne has always been coming back.

26.  Kevin Costner has always been Dancing with Wolves, especially on cable.

27.  There have always been flat screen televisions.

28.  Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the Evening News came on.

29.  Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?”

30.  Most communities have always had a mega-church.

31.  The status of gays in the military has always been a topic of political debate.

32.  There has always been a Planet Hollywood.

33.  For one reason or another, California’s future has always been in doubt.

34.  There has always been a computer in the Oval Office.

35.  Two Koreas have always been members of the UN.

36.  Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been outlawed.

37.  The NBC Today Show has always been seen on weekends.

38.  Vice presidents of the United States have always had real power.

39.  Conflict in Northern Ireland has always been slowly winding down.

40.   There has always been blue Jell-O.


My frame of reference (1985):

1.  Stamps cost 22 cents.

2.  A gallon of gas was $1.09.

3.  The first mobile phone call was made in the United Kingdom.

4.  President Reagan and Soviet Leader Gorbachev meet for the first time in Switzerland.

5.  Live Aid Concerts in Philadelphia and London raise over 50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia.

6.  Compact Discs were first sold (Night Ranger and Dokken never sounded better).

7.  New Coke was introduced (in retrospect, not the best idea).

8.  Dire Straits… Money for Nothing (and Chicks for Free…).

9.  President Reagan was in charge.  America was cool.

10.  I started college with a plan.  And 25 years later, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

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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.