Why I lose sleep...

There is so much... last week was a full moon... and the kids definitely felt its effects.  I was optimistic that the craziness would subside... but I was wrong... Let's see... if I can recap some events of the last couple weeks...

The highlights... home football games... getting some kids who are struggling to participate in my after school program... Found out one of my kids is medically cleared to play sports... through a possible suspension, met a girl who I think really needs some support at school... She was going to get suspended and broke down crying... broke my heart... she said she didn't want to be suspended... I asked if she was afraid to tell her parents and she said no... asked if she was just upset about being in trouble.. she said no... then, through heavy hyperventalation/crying said she was too dumb to miss school, that not being in school would mean she would fail.  So... in lieu of suspension, I will require her to come to my after school program for a few weeks... (and then hope it will be a habit and she will continue coming.)  I convinced a kid who never serves detentions, who prefers to get suspended, stay for a detention... when I talked to him he asked if he skipped the detention if he would get suspended... when I said no, he was intrigued.  I told him his choice was to serve the detention or have lunch in my office every day.  He didn't quite believe me... but... when I told him to call my bluff.. he decided to stay... we had some time to talk and I am optimistic that it is a good step... he shared with me some things that he would like to see different about his school day... and I think I can help with some of them...  and working together with the other assistant principal, the principal, and our school resource officer has been going very well...

The hard stuff... the school resource officer and I have spent A LOT of time together... a big fight between two kids who are, at th heart of things, best friends.... one of my kids... has been stealing things... and I am very afraid for him... and the road he is traveling down... another kid ... also going down a rough road... made a bad choice and when we had a meeting with his family it got worse... I broke up a fist fight that erupted between a child and a parent.  Another student... after having a decent conversation with this student in which she told me she appreciated that I saw how hard she was working to keep it together... she spoke with a parent and then she lost it... and because I was there, in the room, got the brunt of her anger... she stormed out and because I have to follow kids in that state of mind I stayed close to her and tried to get her back in my office... didn't work... she ended up marching through the halls, yelling at me to get away from her or else she would hurt me (specific threats made)... she called me some names... including the name that she knew would solidify her suspension... truth is... she purposefully got in trouble... and it ended sadly... handcuffs and a cruiser... and another student came to school badly beaten... and had a video of the fight from which the bruises, bumps, and blood came...

My job is hard... and while I still love what I do, these last two weeks have been hard... I have had more struggles than triumphs... but there are moments in those tough days where I talk to kids and get signs of good things happening... after seeing a student taken out of my school in handcuffs I was pretty distraught...and when I returned to my office a student was waiting to talk... she had a studyhall and had wanted to stop in... we chatted for a bit and in the conversation we discussed social media... as it relates to the drama at our school... and she told me that she is grateful for my 'patrolling' of twitter.  She said she thinks it has helped...

There are tough moments... and it makes me want to do more... I am contemplating proposing something to our principal... wondering if I could come in late one day a week or every other week and that same day spend that time in one of our really tough neighborhoods, meeting with parents, families... becoming a presence within that part of our community... I feel like much of what I do is making a difference... but I also feel that there are things that are so much bigger than I am, than the school influence is... and things need to change. 

I am exhausted... very tired this week... I need to have some good things happen with kids... I need to see some positive things... and that may mean working harder and trying to think of new ways to reach more kids, more families. 


It has not been uneventful!

So we are in the midst of week two of school and.. it has not been uneventful! 

I find it is hard to share as much here  about my job as I used to because so much of what I do is so specific to kids that I battle whether or not I am violating confidentiality laws... I can say that the relationships with kids remain the heart of what I do.  Seeing 'my' kids in the building is something that makes me smile... I see them in the halls and some of them act too cool to be tight with their AP (Assistant principal) but others smile widely, offer an inconspicuous nod, and others give me a shout out and the most bold, demand a fist bump or high five... Today, however, I am sure they were offering some other gestures... perhaps giving me the bird was their top choice!  Today... it was 90 degrees with about a one thousand percent humidity!  It was miserable.  Miserable.  To my staff's credit, they kept teaching, they kept kids engaged, and the kids behaved pretty well... the crux? Dress code violations... I shake my head at what kids wear to school.  There are some male offenders, but many, if not most, are the females.  Today, was also the day where kids have their photos taken which means the dress code is already being tested... I try not to be too over the top when I talk to kids about their clothing... but did have to say to a male student... nobody wants to see your nipples! And to a female student... the ONLY place those shorts would be even remotely, appropriate, would be the beach on top of a bathing suit and even then it would be questionable.  Most students, when addressed are respectful and most actually admit that they debated about whether or not they should wear it or that their parents told them they would get busted for what they were wearing... but then there are the others... entitled.. Quote of the day: "Well, I don't wear Abercrombie and Fitch!"  From a student who, after being caught the second time in one day with the same inappropriate shirt on. (The first time she assured me she would change!) We have some t shirts we dole out to kids who are inappropriately dressed and they are brand name for goodness sake.. but she... turned up her nose because she doesn't wear that brand.  Get over yourself!  As the other assistant principal would say.. she messed with the bull and she got the horns!!!  Dress code is a tricky thing.... for male teachers and administrators... more so when the student is a female.. so I get to take that on in our building.  I am sure that my name will be on twitter and facebook tonight!  Oh well!  A couple of staff members thanked me today for taking it on... well.. I can't just sit by while kids dress like that!  I wish I could take pictures and send them to parents, but that would not be a good idea. (Since our policy says we cannot photograph people who expect a certain level of privacy...) 

One of my regular kids came to me this week... he is so trying to be a good kid, but his life has so many roads down which he could travel that lead to trouble... I wish I could just rescue these kids... show them that there are neighborhoods where kids don't beat each other up, where drugs are not part of the every day life and culture... where doing well in life is appreciated... he is putting so much energy in avoiding the bad  he can't see how to move towards the good... I am glad he talks to me... I love my job.. but always feel there is more I should be able to do...

Learned this week that one of our kids is homeless... essentially... couch surfing... a different place each night... without money... without food... so I am rallying the troops to see what we can do... got her free lunch at school... getting her some public bus passes... trying to get a decent backpack for her to use to carry her clothes and toiletries around in... and making sure she can have her basic needs met so she can focus on school and graduating.  I was so lucky growing up... so so lucky. 

My goal this year is to find better balance... work and life outside of work... so far so good... more or less!  I am working to meet some new people trying to not just head straight home after work.. although I am wiped out tonight, think I am getting a cold... and while I don't want a cold.. am curious to see if it comes and goes or if it becomes an infection... I head back to the doc next week to check in and see how things are going. 

I can't remember if I posted this here or not.. but I have a roommate... sort of... a woman from my hometown is now teaching at a local college and is in this area a few days a week.  She needed a place to stay and since I have an extra room and am so busy much of the time it is a good arrangement.  She has experience with school administration and I think we will have some great conversations. 

When I started writing I anticipated there being so much more... but that's all I got for tonight... 


Pics of of me at Lakefest...

I prefer to be behind the camera... always.. but when it came to this crew, I ended up on the other side of the lens.  I like these pictures... because I look happy... and it was an accurate reflection.. I was happy.. AM happy!  Love my life!  

Jim wanted ot be in the lifeguard chair... Linda was taking the picture and I tried to do a photo bomb.. but it didn't work.. then we staged a photobomb.. WHERE's MY LEG???

I am not sure what was so funny here, but... it was funny!  

Out on the water... in my yak!  

"I'm SAILING!!!!!"  

Our crew!  (After the record attempt!) 

Loved this weekend!!!  Need to do more of these!  



Kayaks, kayaks, and more kayaks!!!  Today I was in NH, on Lake Winnipesaukee to help the effort to break a world record for the number of kayaks and canoes on one lake.  The bad news? We didn't break the world record.  The good news? We broke the record for New England... the best news? I had an amazing time with friends!  We drove down last night and stayed at the house my friend Rachel grew up in, her parents house.  It was so fun to meet them.  Also so fun to meet her husband who is an absolute riot !  We got to the area around 7:00 and stopped at her aunt's house to pick up the fourth kayak we needed for today... this was the view from her aunt's house... 

 Beautiful spot... 

from there we dropped off our kayaks, locking them up... and they were still there this morning!  After that we picked up pizza and headed to Rachel's house... and proceeded to sit around the kitchen table with her parents and laugh for about four hours... telling stories, just laughing.. it was AWESOME!  I laughed so much.  So when we had to get up before 6 a.m today I was a bit tired.. but it was worth it.. we arrived early to get some lake time... we wanted to paddle a bit before having to do the official count... 

See? Kayaks were safe and sound!  

Our crew:  Jim and Rachel in the front.. Linda and I in the back... with the lake behind us!  

The mountains were gorgeous!  And.. for the What about Bob fans... who know the movie was based on being on Lake Winnipesaukee.. yes.. I said a few times, "I'm sailing!!!"  

Our morning adventure began... the water was so calm... 


Awww the cute couple!!  They are so good together! 

Other kayakers also exploring before the big event!  

Eventually we circled back to the event area and saw this boat... I needed a picture because who can spell Winnipesaukee without some help?

Each participant was given a number, to help do the official count... Look at that... I'm Number one!!!  About time the world recognized that.  

I'm #1!  

Check out this cool craft... wasn't able to count in the official count.. but cool! 

More and more kayaks were gathering... 

Paddle salute!  Looked so cool!  

After the official count, they had a festival for us... and this was a demonstration in the water... this looked cool!  

It was an amazing time... So glad to have had the opportunity and so glad some friends were able to do it too... It was so fun!  

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place