Today is the Maine Marathon and Half Marathon.  As I type this there are close to 3000 runners/walkers out on the course... I should have been with them... but... I have not had time to devote to training.  Starting my new job has kept me very busy and it would not have been smart for me to try to do 13.1 miles today.  For this year's marathon there were about 7 of us who were going to do it together, not all at the same pace, but start together and celebrate together at the end.... 2 of that group are actually participating... Sis and her friend Kalyn.  Here they are yesterday at packet pick ups...

They have both been working really hard to get to today and I am proud of them both!  And yes, a little jealous...

It is raining now as I type... it wasn't raining when they started, it was misting... So as they are out on the course I am toasty warm at home... I will head out soon to cheer them and others on as they approach the finish line...

To help them carb load this weekend I had bought some pumpkin whole wheat bread (Yes, Michael, pumpkin mmmmmmm)... they are both fans... the bakery nearby that makes the bread puts out a monthly bread schedule... and September's schedule only had pumpkin whole wheat on the calendar once... not knowing if they would have it again I had bought two loaves, put one in the freezer and left the other one out to have with my guests this weekend... Kalyn wanted to buy a loaf to take back to her Aunt who is watching her kids as her husband is also doing a race this weekend... so while they are out running the half... I walked to the bakery and bought the last two loaves!  And... am happy to report, got October's bread schedule and pumpkin whole wheat is on the calendar for every Tuesday.   (That means I will get some for Dad at some point too, because he would love it!)

Anyway , enough bread talk... I am disappointed that I am not able to do the half today... it was a goal I had set for myself and as a distraction too. In case I did not get  anew job,  I needed to have something to focus on... but having the new job has made it difficult to find time to work out... I have not regained any of the weight I lost after doing the 100 day challenge which I am happy about, but do want to get in better shape, and have it become part of my routine once again.  I am also looking forward to starting at a new gym and meet some new people.

I am really proud of Sis... I see today, her completion of the half marathon as such a symbolic thing... She has gone through a lot in the last few years... besides losing Mom, she has made drastic changes in her life, a new job and a pending divorce which has led her to living solo for just over a year now... She had never lived solo before this, and she has done well adjusting to it and embracing it.  In many ways she is a single Mom, not that she wasn't in many ways a single mom before.... she has been accepted in and has begun taking classes in a masters program, and has still managed to train and be ready for today's race.  She is amazing... strong...determined... beautiful... I am so proud of her. 

Well, I'm off to cheer on the marathoners as they complete their race!  (Though it is tempting to stay inside, where it is toasty and warm! Perhaps a hot chocolate is in order...) 



Work, today, was busy.  I should have known when my calendar appeared fairly empty that it would fill up quickly.  A few situations came up, and I managed to complete my first classroom observation of a teacher... I am used to doing observations of students, it was fun to be on this side of things.  

Then things got crazy.  We learned about a situation involving some students who had made some bad choices, some significant bad choices.  And it is one of those things where you just hope that they learn something and take that lesson with them... I mulled it all over, a lot today, as I wrote up the reports and contacted parents, and drove home between work and returning for a soccer game... and what I kept coming back to was: I think, for one of the students, this was one of those moments that could really be a reality check and could really prevent this student from making similar choices in the future... and if that is the case, we did our jobs... I hope that's the case for the others involved as well, but I am not so sure.  I hope, but... can't be sure... 

And then I came home... to have dinner before going to a soccer game... and looked at facebook... a man who was in my classes all through school... from second grade on... died.  He changed my life.  In second grade we were in the same classroom.  My teacher asked me one day if I would help him with his work and I said yes and in that moment my life, my future changed.  Kyle... was a student with Downs Syndrome.  I was lucky that school was something that I loved and it came easily to me, at least at second grade... and when asked to help someone I jumped at it.  Kyle was a kid who was very typical of many kids with Downs... sweet, kind and wanted to be everyone's friend.  After helping him with his work he would always thank me.  His speech at times was hard to understand and because of his needs he would disappear from our classroom... at the time I don't remember thinking that was strange... (and hope kids today don't see that as strange for their peers either...) and then one day I found out where he went.  I am not sure if I asked, if the teacher told me, or if Kyle invited me... but I got to go with Kyle to the special education classroom where he did a lot of his work.  It became a place I spent time as well, as his peer tutor and loved it.  I came off the bus one day and bounced into the house and told Mom that I was going to help kids like Kyle for the rest of my life... As any parent of a seven year old would, she said, "Ya, ya, go play..."  Understandably so, she assumed it was something I would change my mind about in time... but through the next couple of years I was able to spend time in the special ed. room with Kyle and help him when he was out in the general education setting.  Junior High was harder to find time to be there... and I think that is maybe when that is needed most.  During that time kids are cruel and think things are funny that are not funny.  Growing up in a small town we had a movie theater, and it was the place to be on a Friday night.  By junior high many of us were allowed to go to the movies without our parents... in a town as small as ours there was nothing else to do and our parents knew where we were.  Kyle was there almost every week.  And it was during this time when Kyle began being someone that people looked to... for entertainment.  They would get him to say bad words and laugh at him.. not with him... and whenever I was there, I would get in between Kyle and the other kids and tell the kids to stop and tell Kyle they were not being nice to him, that he shouldn't say those things.  And I got teased... was called 'A retard-lover'... and I didn't care.  It happened often on those Friday nights... and after a while it subsided... in high school I didn't have contact with Kyle... the movie theater shut down... and during my study halls I walked to the elementary school to help in the special ed room, convinced my future involved working in an elementary school.  Because of Kyle, because of our second grade teacher, because of that moment where my teacher gave me a chance to do something good, I became a special education teacher... and now, as you know, an assistant principal... I hope that, perhaps it is arrogant, that there is a student out there who one day will look back and remember a moment where their life changed and maybe I was a part of it... maybe that moment was today... 

Kyle is a person I will never forget and to whom I will always feel indebted... I hope that his life had been fulfilling... I am grateful for knowing him, even a little... Rest in Peace, Kyle, thank you for the gifts you gave me.... 



Originally I was scheduled to work today 7-3 at the tolls... but with my resignation I asked them to find someone else to do the shift and they were able to oblige.  (Thank you kindly!) so I was able to sleep in today.  Yesterday after work I called Sara and she and Maria were having a ladies night because Phil was coaching football, so I went up and joined the fun.  We had a great visit.  We attempted to make a fire, but the wood was a bit damp, but it was fun to get it going and watch it peter out.  Maria loves the fire.  We ate outside and as it was getting cooler I welcomed heading inside to hang out.  We danced, Maria, like her mom, loves music.  She's got some good moves!

So the 300 cow story has gone viral!  At least at a district level.  Not a bad reputation I suppose.  This week I went to a meeting with other female administrators in two of the counties in southern Maine.  There were ten of us there.  It was nice... the dynamics are interesting.  I am not sure how much I will share with the group... (because two of the other women there worked in the building where I am currently working and have connections with people there... and are not... known for keeping information to themselves...so I don't feel like they would be neutral and don't feel confident that information would not come back to my staff.)

So... one of my projects this year.. one of the students... is going well.  She is a student who has been pretty disengaged for a long time.  She is not the type of kid who likes people to help her for the sake of helping her... she doesn't trust people and has no issue telling the principal to f off  last year when he tried to intervene in a situation which was his first interaction with her... she's been described to me as feral ... which is sad in and of itself... but I can see where that description would come from.  She likes few, trusts even fewer...

One of the men I work with, who I absolutely admire, went to a conference last year and he told me the biggest thing he learned there was that schools quietly uninvite students to attend school.  By doing things like not offering alternate classes, by making it a huge hassle to make up tests/work etc... students who are struggling may not have the energy to fight those battles... This is a student who makes me constantly think about that.  In Maine, students in grades 6-12 have individual laptops.  (for now anyway, this may be changing... to ipads or other tablets, or different laptops) Of course there are times when the machines get damaged and need repairs.  Families have the option of buying insurance to cover damages.  Some families buy the insurance some can't.  ($26 is a reasonable amount for insurance for the year, and we take payment plans.)  In middle school this student had damaged her laptop, but due to clerical errors she was not billed for it.  and was given a laptop the last two years.  This year, suddenly she was not allowed to have a laptop because she owes $175... which she had no idea about.  She said if she has to be in classes where everyone else is doing their work on laptops and she doesn't have one she will not come to school.  I believe her.  So I asked the tech guru what we could do and he said that the protocol is having the family pay insurance for this year plus 1/3 of the cost of the repair to get the laptop to use and that a payment plan needs to be established to pay for the rest of the cost.  So... 1/3 of $175 is about $60, plus the $26 for the insurance is $86.  This is a kid who is kind of flying solo.  She doesn't have $86... so I asked her if she could pay the insurance and she said she could.  OK... step one, check... step two... talk further with the tech guy.  When pressed he said he allows each assistant principal to have four 'cases' every year where he will allow the laptop to be given out without following protocol... if the assistant principal feels that the circumstances are special enough.  So yes I used one of these special favors to get a laptop for her.  Now... When he told me he would bring me a laptop and gave it to me I was very happy. I didn't take it out of the case right away because I was heading to a meeting.  Later that night I pulled it out, wanting to charge it for her so she could use it the next day and this is what I saw:

Actually I didn't think to take a picture until after I had cleaned some of it off.  But it was all sticky.  Someone had put a sticker on it and then put newspaper on it.  So ugly... And I immediately thought, way to send her an un-invitation.  And was not happy.  So the next day, with the help of a magic eraser, goo be gone, and some elbow grease, I managed to get it to look like this: 
Much better... 
So the other part was trying to convince her to pay off her debt... So I carefully approached her when I gave her the laptop, showed her the picture of the before shot and she asked why I cleaned it... and told her there was no way I was going to let her have a laptop that was in bad shape, that she deserved to have a good laptop, like everyone else.  I also told her I had taken pictures of it so that she couldn't be blamed for any of that sticker mess.  She seemed happy and when I asked her about repaying the debt, she said there was no way she could... and I told her I had an idea.  That for every five days of school she attends, we would 'pay' $10 towards her debt.  She, to my surprise, said, "Yeah, sure I can do that. But how is that going to really work?" I told her to leave that up to me.  I have yet to figure it out, but I will.  (I think that my secretary the other AP and I are going to use out bottle money to pay it off.)  So, to pay off her debt, she needs to come to school for 88 days.  And I figure that if she can get going on that with a good start, she will build a good habit of being at school.  I created a sheet, like a checkbook register, for her to keep track of her days of attendance.  (Another thing we have done is have her homeroom be assigned to my office with my secretary who she has a good relationship with.)  So each Friday during homeroom, they complete her attendance for the week.  And so far... she has attended 100% of the days!!!  I am so excited.  She's a kid, like I said, who has earned very few credits.  She is smart and this year she was enrolled in the same classes she was enrolled in the last two years, because she had not passed them and had not earned the credits.  So I talked to some teachers... one year she took a math class and had high B's for the first two quarters, then stopped attending and based on the attendance failure policy (that is no longer in place!) if you miss three classes without being excused, you fail the class, she failed her classes for the last two quarters.  This made it impossible for her to pass for the year.  So after talking with guidance and the principal, and her teachers, who know she is a smart kid, all agreed that it was silly for her to sit through the first half of classes she has already passed.  So we figured out a way to put her into some of the level 2 classes for the year.  We have found ways for her to do some independent studies, earn credits for the half year she passed, and provide a chance  to take the second half of those classes later this year... So, she could potentially earn 9 or 10 credits this year, which could put her in a very good position to finish high school in two more years, not three, which is what she anticipated.  She has shared with me that she knows she screwed up (Not her words, but...) that her life sucked for a while because of family stuff.  She used to play sports, was an incredible athlete, and that when things at home fell apart, she didn't know what to do.  She knows she wants to either graduate or drop out and told me that this year would be the deciding factor.  My goal is to not only get her to attend, but get her to a place where she is eligible to participate in sports and get her back into those activities... She's also a kid that when you want to talk to her you need to have her come to you.  So the other day she was in my office and I walked by on my way out and said, "Oh, I have a question for you.  Not knowing you well, are you the type of person who would want to know if I heard good things about you?"  She said, "What do you mean?" I said, "Suppose a teacher came up to me at open house for the sole purpose of telling me how good you are doing... would you want to know?" She smiled and said, "Who was it?" I said, "You have to answer the question first."  She said, "Sure," shrugging her shoulders with a bit of a smile.  ( I love it when kids act so tough, but are really not so tough!)  So I said, "I'll tell you in a minute I gotta go do something."  She yelled my name as I walked away smiling even bigger.  So I turned around and said to her... "Ok.. I suppose I can tell you." And shared with her the interaction I had with one of her teachers.  She was pleased that a teacher had sought me out to share good information about her.  I haven't checked her grades yet, but I hope she is doing well.  I am debating about telling her she could get a 'bonus' at the end of the first quarter,  if her grades are all above an 80, but worry that would add too much pressure... So I may wait for grades to come out and then give her a card if she has those grades...which I fully anticipate she will have.  

So... I know people who know me, were worried that this new job would take me away from what I love about working with kids, getting to make those connections... and I was a bit worried too.  But I am able to make those connections, in a bit of a different way, but... still make them.  And I feel like I can help in different ways...Like telling a teacher this week he needs to make accommodations for a kid who told me his excuse for not doing it was that he was teaching an AP (Advanced Placement) class... and my response to him was, yes, this is an AP class, and this girl, she is an AP student who needs accommodations.  And reminding another teacher that his attendance at meetings about students he works with is expected, that waiting to get the minutes is not enough.  
  I have found my niche! 

And of course, there are kids right now who are not so happy with me... kids who I am holding accountable... and while they may hate me for now... I hope there are lessons to be learned.  (I revoked senior privileges from a girl this week for speeding in the parking lot. (Senior privilege means that if a kid has a study hall they can leave school.  For kids who have them first thing in the morning, they can sleep in, and if they are at the end of the day they get to leave early. so they are quite coveted.) As it works out, it was the second time I had spoken to her about her speed.  This time, I saw her because we were outside after the fire alarm had been triggered and she was running late for school.  She came flying around a corner, flew past a fire engine, and screeched into the parking lot.  At first she didn't see what the big deal was... so I gave her a lecture reminding her that there could have been people in between cars, emergency personnel near their trucks and told her she could have hurt someone.  She's a good kid, never been in trouble.  But, seriously, driving like that, is going to get into an accident.  She ended up in tears, when I put her on the phone with her parents (so glad that having them tell their parents still works to really get to some kids!) Her mom later told me that she never cries.  (Rico, I know... you are proud of me for making a kid cry!) 
I hope, perhaps naively so, that she slows down and thinks more about safety when driving.  

Wow.. I have even more to write about... 
Cyberbullying.  Un. Believable.  The amount of drama that is created through texting, facebook, twitter, and email is amazing to me.  That has, to be honest, taken up a huge amount of my time.  Yesterday I asked the principal and other asst. principal if I could hold a movie night in the auditorium.  I want to show the movie Cyberbullying.  It's an ABC family movie that starts out pretty cheesy, to be honest.  But as it unfolds it really gets to the heart of what cyberbullying can do to someone and how the day to day interactions of kids keep that drama going.  I would love to have it shown at our high school where our kids, with their parents, watch the movie.  I would also like to have some people available after the movie to talk with families about it.  The state of Maine has instituted a change in our bullying laws that pertain to school.  Events of bullying that happen off school grounds, which include the cyberbullying is not mandated as something we must report.  We can suspend students for their online bullying, their text messages, and their off campus involvement, if their actions could cause another student to feel that school is an unsafe place for them.  I applaud the state of Main for this new law and hope it helps our kids.  

I suppose that's it for now... I am going to try to unpack a few boxes in my guest room and then later head to a marching band competition.


Feels like the first time...

I, for the first time in a looooong time... have only one job!
I resigned from the turnpike.  After about 10-11 years, I resigned.  In order ot be the kin of assistant principal I want to be, I want to be at many school events.  I want to see kids playing sports, performing in concerts, competing in academic challenges... and those events happen at different times.  I also want to have time for me.  Time to see my family and friends... so... as you all know, I do not make snap decisions... I am a muller... I have been mulling the idea around in my head for a while... and last weekend I didn't work the tolls.  I had two days off in a row.  And I loved it.
So, for now... no coaching... no collecting tolls... I am a one job person... does this mean I am maybe feeling like I am in my career?

I am continuing to have new experiences every day... and am continuing to love it.
One job? Yup... One job...


A cold, A cellphone, and 300 cows...

What a week!
Last weekend I worked a shift on the tolls and partway through the day I felt like I was getting a cold.  That afternoon I went to a soccer game and then went out to celebrate a friend's birthday.  By the end of the evening I knew I had a cold.  Sunday I slept most of the day... and felt pretty crappy on Monday.  Tuesday my symptoms subsided a bit and I thought I was in a better place... then I got no sleep Tuesday night (will explain that later) and felt awful on Wednesday.  Wednesday night I slept great and felt better Thursday, was just tired... and had a long day, left home around 6 a.m. and got home at about 9 pm... today was also a long day work, then I went to a cross country meet, came home and found Jacey here picking up her laundry and we decided to go to dinner together, and then tonight I went to a home football game, my first of the season... (Our team got destroyed....)  I am feeling much better.  The great news, is that even with having a bad cold, and the craziness of the week (to be described further) I am still happy!  Very happy.  I am so excited to be where I am.. it is the exact right place for me.

So... the week... overall the days were not that eventful... until yesterday and today... Yesterday one of my students who is on probation (with a sad history that makes my heart break) left school..... not a good choice... he left because the program he is involved with tried to enforce a rule that he had to hand over his cell phone in order to participate in a field trip.  He refused.  After school I had a meeting with a parent and another staff member.  Wow... crazy.  I am constantly shaking my head about how absurd some parents can be.  So bold.  So rude. So disrespectful.  My job was to witness the meeting and to help contain the parent.  It was interesting.  I was glad I was there to support this other person.  And to document.  People often wonder why kids act the way they do... two words answer that.... apple...tree...

I also had a lot of meetings this week, with parents, students, and teachers.  Not IEP meetings, but what are called 504 meetings... which is a way to provide accommodations to kids who do not require special education services.  Way easier than IEPs, but still meetings that require paperwork.  Much much LESS paperwork than before, so It's all good!

Today... perhaps my most difficult and most rewarding day... the student who bailed on school yesterday... met with him this morning to break the news about his in school suspension... we first talked about yesterday and his choice and he got so defensive... that it was his phone that he had paid for and nobody was going to take it from him.  I knew there was something more to the cell phone than he was saying... so I told him that because he chose to leave school grounds he needed to spend part of the day with me for in school...which caused him to take off, again.  This put his probation at risk, big time.  I was told that he was gone, no reason to really try to get him back.  So after contacting his parole officer I tried to call his parent.  Instead he answered the phone and he was freaking out.  FREAKING out... crying, screaming, so overwhelmed.  My heart hurt so bad for this kid.  I told him that he had no reason to trust me, that he doesn't know me outside of the few interactions we had, but that I asked him to give me a chance... I talked to him for about 20 minutes... and eventually he shared that he was overwhelmed dealing with so many things including a terminally ill parent... and it dawned on me... that when Mom was sick, my phone felt, in ways, like my lifeline.  I was convinced that I had to have it on me, an don, and be ready to answer at any moment to hear the news I had been dreading... and not having it was something that would have been something I could not have handled... not having my phone... so I asked him...straight out... and it caused him to cry harder and I knew I was onto something... and so I asked him about options for his phone in future field trips and came up with an agreement... and then approached the idea of him returning to school... he wasn't sure.  I told him that it was his choice, but that I would love for him to come back. And told him it would be a better choice for him based on his status with the probation stuff.  He wasn't sure and was still worked up and so I asked him if I could give him some think time and then called him back in 10 minutes and...made him promise he would answer when I called back.  He agreed.  That was a pretty long ten minutes... I was afraid he wouldn't answer my call a second time... but.. he did.  And he came back to school.  And he talked with me and the social worker he has known for a while... and this kid poured his heart out... I feel so honored that he shared with me what he shared.  This kids  is poetic.  The way he expressed his feelings... like 'I feel like I am covered in gas running away from the fire...'  was amazing... The social worker said that she was surprised he opened up like that, that in the two years they have worked together he had not been able to share what he shared... she shared some of his history with me... and it's unconscionable It was so hard ot not break into tears with him... HE was able to calm down... eat lunch (Hadn't eaten in 3-4 days) and relax and actually get a little school work done... which is so not the priority for this kid... I was pleased tonight when he saw me at the football game that he approached me and had a good conversation about the game.  Such a good kid whose circumstances destroyed his innocence... and he learned to to fight back... hard.  He is a survivor.  I know there are lots of tough days ahead with him... but know that today inroads were laid... and I am pleased... after that was over (which brought me to about noon) and I had just settled into start calling a few kids to my office... a teacher appeared with a student who had gotten the worse end of a fight... was beaten up pretty badly.... which meant making sure he was safe, the other kids was safe, investigating the details, deciding about suspensions and contacting home.  I am thankful for the other Assistant Principal.. I am learning a lot from him.  He was out of the building when the fight happened but returned before the consequences were given and helped me decide the outcomes...

Oh.. I forgot to explain the sleepless night... A few weeks ago I got a call from my old principal.  He told me that three of the special education files I worked on last year were missing.  That they had not made it to the high school.  Which I knew was garbage because I took them ALL over myself.  I took a couple of trips, one where I met with one of the high school spec. ed teachers and watched her shove the files randomly into file cabinets wherever they fit... and another where I left files in the guidance office on a shelf.  The principal seemed happy with my explanation of where the files would be.  On Tuesday my lovely ex coworkers planned a party for me at my old school.  It was really sweet.  On my way out the principal stops me and again asks about files, saying the missing number was now 6.  He also told me that the spec ed director was pretty upset and that he had to say to her, "Why would Kim take the files? What motivation would she have?" So... to me this means she was making accusations that I had dome something intentional to misplace the files.  NUTS.  I again told him where i had taken the files and he said ok.  That night one of my closest friends from my old job called me (After I had already been sleeping for about an hour) and said she hated to bother me, knew I was sick, and knew I was exhausted, but felt she needed to give me a heads up.  The spec. ed director had cornered her and had asked for my new address... because of the missing files she wanted to send me a letter.  My friend refused to give her my address... Now... when I moved I notified my old district because I will need my W2s, etc.  So I fully believe this was a ploy to intimidate my friend ... then proceeded to hint that something like misplacing or withholding files could be career ending for someone... My friend took it to mean that she meant MY Career.  Now, keep in mind, this woman NEVER called me directly.  Never had any conversation with me about it.  which is sooo unprofessional... and the fact she is saying such things is damaging to my reputation.  I was pissed.  My friend said that the director even insinuated that maybe in my move I had put them in a box that was somewhere in my house.  So... after talking with her it was now 10:00 at night and I, sick as I was, got out of bed, paranoid, and looked in every unopened box in my guest room and in my basement... and of course found no special ed files.  I was so upset that this woman was questioning my integrity.  How dare she? How dare she talk about me to other people and make accusations? I stewed all night.  No sleep.  Then when I got up to go to work at 5:00 I checked my facebook page after having sent a message to the spec ed teacher at the high school to see if she had searched where I had told them to look... and lo and behold there was a message from my old principal... he emailed me a message he had received at about 7 pm that evening (a call would have been nice) that the spec ed teacher at the high school was in an IEP meeting in the guidance office, looked at the shelves and noticed... Yup.. SIX spec. ed files... exactly where I said they were.  Exactly where they have been in past years... I was relieved and angry all at the same time.  Not to mention cranky from not sleeping... I am deciding how to respond.

Oh...Cows.. So.. one day this week, Weds. I think it was.  I met, along with the other Asst principal and our truancy specialist met with a mother of a child who wanted to register at our school... a student with a lot of history.  The mother was from a country in Africa and when we met I could tell she liked my height.  At the end of the meeting when I said good bye to her she said to me.. you are so tall it is so wonderful... in my country in order to marry you a man would have to pay your family 300 cows to wed you.  300 cows??!!  HOLY COW!  She was not being rude at all... just sharing her appreciation for me... now of course that word traveled quickly and cow jokes will be common this year... and on the way out the other asst. principal, who is about 5'6, said.. well if she's worth 300 cows, what am I worth.. she said... 2 monkeys!

This job is so different than my other job... in so many ways... but... the parts that are the same, working with kids who are the underdog, misunderstood, students who have not been appreciated and loved.... is the same.  My role is a little different, but... I was worried about being distanced from the kids... and I think now, more than ever, I am working with kids.  

So yes, I am tired.  But... happy... very very happy.


So far, so good!

For the loyal blog readers, you may recall that I often have that 'night before school' dream where I cannot get my locker open because I cannot remember my combination... which is silly because it is many years later and I remember my high school locker combination, 9-39-27... but that dream has cropped up when school is starting and I feel nervous or anxious about things.  This year, I didn't have that dream.  I don't feel nervous, which is a little crazy...and I keep asking myself, are you nervous? You seem to calm... but... the truth is, I feel like I have been at this job for a long time.  Granted I have been in the building since early July, so the space itself is very familiar.. the change is the activity within the halls.  Today the freshmen came, just them, to see the school and attend their classes.  We also had some assemblies, which I think had mixed results.  The keynote speaker was someone I heard speak last year at my old job... and I was equally unimpressed with him today.  His message is that EVERY person needs to go to college.  He said that you can go to college for any and all jobs including pro-wrestling and monster truck racing.  Really? College for monster truck racing? Dude... c'mon... people who race monster trucks study by being in the field.  I am sure courses in mechanics wouldn't hurt, but four years of college? He said there are people among us who disagree with him, who believe not all kids need to go to college... at which point I wanted to JUMP out of my seat and say, "Me, Me, that totally describes me!" I think the bigger point he was trying to make, which was totally missed because the kids were not about to dig that deep, was that there are no limits to what you can do.  That no matter what you like, no matter your grades, you can be successful in college.  That is a good message... but there are so many ways that message could have been shared.  And the message should be, IF you choose to go to college or want to go to college you can, and you can find something to study that you will love.  But... I think about that... and think about all the core classes still required at college... the English classes, Sciences etc., even when those classes do not apply to your anticipated degree.  And I think about the kids for whom school is more than an inconvenience, but is torture.  Why can we not offer more programming like career technology classes offer? There were kids today, in the crowd, who were so unhappy being there... kids who I assume are going to become frequent flyers in the Assistant Principal's office... and wish that we could figure out a way to engage those kids... I won't be working too closely with freshmen this year, because of the way the responsibilities are divided, but it was good to be there.  I did, however, meet a kid who I will work with.  He and his mom stopped by to day hello, following up with me because I had called them this week to introduce myself... knowing that he was a kid who spent a lot of time in the assistant principal's office... he was not thrilled to be at school today when it was not required, but hopefully we will be off on the right foot...  my message to many kids this year has been and will continue to be... I do not expect you to be perfect or to be able to behave perfectly, but I want them to start thinking about things and told him that when we drive and we are speeding as we go zooming by the state trooper, it's too late to hit the brakes... I told him that as he feels himself pushing the accelerator to get away from things, to come see me, before he gets a ticket.  We'll see how that works out...
I got a nice compliment today, from one of the teachers.  She told me that her interactions with me make her feel like I have been here longer than three days... she feels like she has known me for a long time.  I hope that is the case for others as well.
It is strange to be here, at home, in the evening, at 7:30 and have time to blog.  I don't have lesson plans to write, don't have IEPs to review and write... I am really going to try to not leave work until things are done, until my desk is cleared off... so that when I am home I am home... and not doing work from here. So far, so good.

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place