Skip to main content

Forward Thinking


Sunday, April 26. It has been raining non-stop since the middle of the night, my son's first baseball game of the year has been cancelled, I am pondering the bad play of the Cubs over their last four games, and also contemplating how to balance the duties of my life. I know I must finish my homework, for example, before class Tuesday night; I also have work to complete for the four committees and task forces I am on in the district; there are several home improvement projects we have started that need finishing (why do I start plumbing jobs that I know will end with pieces everywhere and a phone call to the plumber to come and bail me out?); and then there are the hobbies and things I like to do for enjoyment... okay, never mind all of that stuff. There will not be time until, perhaps, the end of June.

There is a book, for instance, that one of my teachers recommended - Three Cups of Tea. I started this book and can hardly put it down. If you have it, please finish it for me and tell me about it, because if I don't get to my studies and concentrate on work, I will fail my classes and lose my job. And then I won't get to hear the stories of the students I love so dearly, which was really to be the central purpose of this posting. Ramblings, however, are perfectly acceptable on blog sites. In fact, we were made for rambling, we humans. And this is the perfect space for that. So read on, if you will, and I will continue rambling, only on a more defined level.

At our monthly Spirit Day Assembly on Friday, which featured 1st Grade and was, perhaps, the cutest and most entertaining performance we have had thus far this year (although the 5th Grade Variety Show is coming up yet, and this always promises to offer wonderful fresh talent), a teacher pulled me aside to tell me of the disappointment of one of her 3rd grade students. As it turns out, he was upset because we have 1/2 days on Spirit Days, which are also School Improvement days for staff. He didn't know what he was going to do with the rest of his day (which happened to be close to 85 degrees), and told me he would rather be in school.

Gotta love this kid. He would rather be in school. He would rather be in the place that offers him the only consistency he receives during the day. Only he makes me sorrowful to think that the end of the year is coming up. Which makes me think of all of the students who, for close to 3 months, will be at home with not much to do, minimal adult supervision, and with little interest in reading a book for pleasure. He makes me think forward to August and kids are complaining that they have to be back at school when it is still nice outside. Only I know what they are really thinking. They are thinking how nice it is to be back, thankful for some consistency.

Popular posts from this blog

Finally!

I am visited by two former Seniors on a recent Friday in early June.  They have been out of school for only a short time, having graduated three weeks prior.  We stay in touch because, well, that's one of the main reasons I am in this profession - to make a lasting difference in the lives of students.  But it's not only the students; it's their families as well.  I attend their graduation parties, keep up to date on their life happenings, I even recently attended the wedding and reception of one of my former students whom I had taught when he was in the 6th grade.  He's now 28.  
But this is what is required of this job.  We are in the business of making lasting impressions.  For anyone who doesn't believe this to be true, and that your only job as an educator is to impart knowledge and provide kids with information that they could just as easily find online, you are sorely mistaken.  I could easily insert here all of the research that proves, beyond the shadow of…

Parenting and the Principal

Very REAL Life, Part I

I need to tell you about my life as principal.
Particularly from the standpoint of this life as husband, dad and foster/adoptive parent.
And the daughter I have who is sitting in prison.

It is the winter of 2009.  I had just been accepted into the Doctoral program at National Louis University, and was heading to an informational meeting about the program when my wife called.  I was pulling into the high school where our cohort would be spending a lot of class hours together over the next few years, excited about this journey my family had agreed was the best time for me to embark upon, even more ecstatic to be the first in my family to achieve this prestigious degree.

We didn't realize the road I was about to travel was actually riddled with potholes, detours, wrong turns, and dead ends.

My wife can barely speak.
It seems like a lifetime, though it is actually 10 minutes on the phone with her,
trying to calm her down,
sitting in my Volvo with the engine turn…

Real Writers. Real Writing. Real Voices

Same 7th grade classroom.
Different group of students.   It is a warm afternoon and the fans are on.   I think back to my days as a 7th grader.   My teacher's name was Mrs. Zurn.   She passed away in the mid-90's and I remember her clearly for her loud voice;  Her booming voice and I remember her because she used to make us write.
A lot.

And it was always about the things that she wanted us to write about, never about the things that I CARED about like music and motorcycles and the ATV's that I spent my weekends on, flying through the cornfields and woods that I lived next door to.  Or my parent's divorce and my dad moving to California and how much I missed him.  We couldn't write about that stuff. 
Instead we wrote about St. Thomas and our favorite lunch, and if we could be anything when we grew up what would it be, and Mother Theresa and what our favorite color was and why, and writing a letter to Pope John Paul II.  I went to a Catholic school.  You can probab…