On Death

The 2013-14 school year was a difficult year for my family.  One of the issues that we faced in that year was death.  In December of 2013, my wife’s great-aunt died.  I know that to many people, that sounds like a tortured relationship (“How close can you be to a great-aunt?”)  And yet, in our family, that was a very difficult death to face.  Aunt Paula was the last of her generation and dementia had already robbed her of memories.  Her death was the closing of a book for my wife’s side of our family.  It was as if a door slammed shut.  How much of that side of our family’s history will we be able to pass on to our children?

Then in February of 2014, my grandfather died.  And so it was, with those two events fresh in my mind and heart, I wrote what you see below.  Part one is from the day that I heard that he was on his deathbed.  The second part was written upon my return from the funeral.  In remembrance of our lost loved ones (the previous February my wife’s grandmother died) I submit the following:

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The Least of These

In 1987, NFL players went on strike and the league scrambled to find replacement players to keep schedules running.  In the end, between players crossing picket lines and the availability of many who wished to fulfill their dream of playing in the NFL, the league only missed one week worth of games and was able to keep going along.

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You Can’t Win

This originally appeared in the Maine School Board Quarterly and was distributed at a SLED event in 2005.  Read it… and I’ll share my thoughts at the end:

School principals, like all other educators, should expect to please no one.  All too often they are caught on the horns of a dilemma regardless of the action they take or fail to take.

If they report to school early, they have insomnia; if they leave school late, they are slow workers.

If they attend sports events, they are overemphasizing athletics; if they miss an event, they have no school spirit.

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Top 10 Principals

I have been going through some old files and recently across a clipping of Top 10 Principal Traits.  I cannot find any source for this clip, even online.  I do not know the author of the following, but if anyone knows the source, I would love to cite it:

Top 10 Principals Behaviors

1—Respects and values teachers as professionals

2—Has an open-door policy—is accessible, available, willing to listen

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I have to confess… I hate this number.

Our state has adopted the “180 days in session” model.  I have taught in other states that required 166 days, a certain number of hours, and even 132 days for early childhood.

Let me tell you a quick story to illustrate my frustration with this particular benchmark:

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