Sunday, November 8, 2009

Really, all I wanted to do was make a difference

DSCN0252 As I drove to the Georgia coast for an elementary school principal conference, I reminisced about why I ever went into administration. The answer is simple.

I wanted to make a difference.

It is hard to feel like you are making a difference when you phone a parent to let her know her Kindergartener loudly took the Lord’s name in vain because he wasn’t getting his snack fast enough and all she was concerned about was whether or not he got the snack. Apparently, God didn’t want her child to be hungry. Don’t mind the swear. I’m guessing he is only a product of his environment.

And when you call the parent of the child who had a tantrum and crumbled and threw his peanut crackers in the classroom when asked to eat his snack in the hallway in an effort protect the child who has severe peanut allergies, it won’t be his fault because he is impulsive. What the hell?! The student could have died! A grand excuse that I intend to borrow.

But then there is the bad boy who knows how to push his teacher’s buttons. How I love those bad boys! This boy dreams of becoming a professional football player and I hope he makes that dream come true. In some shape or form. In the meantime, I’ll keep encouraging him and I’ll keep a desk in my office for those moments when he is driving his teacher mad because I believe in him. And he knows it. And when he is raking in the millions, he’ll probably remember some high school jerk coach who helped him. Not me. Still, my goal is to be his manager.

And then, there is the little girl who should be in the movies because she is beyond adorable. Too bad it isn’t acceptable to call adults “doo doo head” her behavior isn’t always as pretty as she looks. But I appreciate that her mother is working with us because in my office are some u-g-l-y clothes for this little girl to wear anytime she is misbehaving. Since she loves to be the center of attention cute, she has made HUGE strides in her behavior so that she won’t have to wear the despicable clothing. She will probably grow up and land some great modeling gig. Or become the next Lindsay Lohan.

While this isn’t the Hollywood ending I envisioned, I guess all hope isn’t lost. Still, I wish I could save them all.

25 comments:

blueviolet said...

People don't realize how difficult being a principal is! You're dealing with students, teachers, and parents, none of which are easy!

Kulio said...

You can't save them all, but you can be the one person who wants to. And that's huge! I'll bet they remember.

Brian Miller said...

you cant save them all...but that sure does not get in the way of our trying...or in the way of our hearts breaking...keep changin the world, one at a time...

LucyCooper said...

I pity the fools (and I include myself in this number) who chose careers to make a difference. I chose healthcare for this very reason. And I do think my job makes a difference (as I'm convinced yours does, more than you think) but sometimes it's painstaking and the "difference" is not immediately evident.
I wish someone would follow me around and excuse all my assy behavior by saying I was impulsive.

Herding Cats said...

Ugh such a hard job...and it's sometimes thankless too! But on we educators prevail, right?

only a movie said...

Cute. I had some classroom stories from last week. We had a week. One story included a new kid visiting my room for the first time... all the while 3 police officers and a police dog were "visiting" right outside my classroom window. Really nice.

;-D have fun at the conference, Beth!

otin said...

You really want to teach? Don't you?

Jules said...

I called a parent Friday to tell her that since her son refused to work all day, I made sure ALL of his work was in his backpack and he had plenty to do over the weekend.

Her response? "Thanks."

I guarantee none of it comes back done.

The Peach Tart said...

Well it appears you have your hands full

Gaston Studio said...

You have the patience of Job, Beth.

Is that the "new" bridge in Savannah? You're going to Savannah and you didn't invite me?!

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TechnoBabe said...

How was the conference? I hope it was a rewarding investment of your time. You put so much into your position at the school.

Christine Gram said...

I never imagined vanity could be used as a motivation for good behavior. That is creative.

smiles4u said...

You might not be able to save them all but you do make a difference every day by doing what you do. You will most likely never know for the most part the difference you make but you do. And I'm glad you do too!

Leslie Hanna said...

I like the "ugly clothes" approach. Very creative, and how horrifying for her. See, you ARE making a difference, one child at a time.

sun lover said...

Really you do make a difference. The sad part about it is that most of the people that you are helping don't even realize or care. Still it would be nice if you could save them all, wouldn't it?

Sande said...

Yes BUT .... how do you eat an elephant ... one bite at a time.

Keep chewing.

Mrs. K said...

i'm sure it will be neat for you to see what your students end up becoming- unless they all end up in prison- that won't be good!

Unindicted Co-Conspirator said...

Profanity doesn't rate that high on the list of Parenting Don'ts. Are you their teacher or their parent? If this is the way they want to raise their kids, who are you to criticize? I mean, it's not like you'll make a difference to them all.

I'd count my life as worthwhile if I only make a difference in one life. Pretty sure you've passed that bar.

Beth said...

blueviolet - The kids are the easiest part of my day.

Kulio - I hope so.

Brian - I will keep trying. As will you.

Lucy - As a matter of fact, I am impulsive...

Herding Cats - Yes, we do!

Movie - Sounds like you had a FUN week. :)

Otin - Why, yes, I do.

Jules - I think I know that parent.

The Peach Tart - The good news is - there is never a dull day.

Jane - The bridge was in Bruswick. I would always invite you to show me around Savannah.

Anonymous - Welcome! I'm impulsive and always off topic. So I understand.

TechnoBabe - Actually, the conference was great! And I got a lot of educational swag.

Christine - I had to find some way to get this girl's attention.

smiles4u - You are too sweet.

Leslie - I've used this approach before for kids who like to soil themselves. Sometimes they just need a little motivation...

sun lover - I really wish I could.

Sande - Who eats elephants? Kidding. You are right! I need to remember that quote.

Mrs. K - I do like watching them grow up. Most should stay out of jail. I'll keep my fingers crossed for good measure.

Unindicted Co-Conspirator - What about the rights of the other children and their parents who don't want them to hear swears screamed at school? It is absolutely my right to teach children (and sometimes their parents) when it is appropriate to swear and when it isn't. I'd like to use a swear on you but I'm showing my restraint - despite being impulsive. And I try to set the bar a little higher than trying to save just one.

Jan said...

I'm very impressed with the ingenuity of the ugly clothing as a consequence for bad behavior. Who's idea was that?

And, as always, you ROCK. Love your response to Unindicted Co-Conspirator.

H.K. said...

Sometimes you don't see the benefits of your work until years later or sometimes sooner, but I know you're definitely making a difference whether it's with a student, parent or a teacher.

bernthis said...

you are incredible and it is sad that he would remember the coach and not you. It's a sad testament to our society that is for sure. I thank you however for all that you do.

sherri said...

Thank you for doing what you do! My oldest has a peanut allergy, some people aren't aware how serious it is. Uggh. What a doo doo head that kid was.

MilesPerHour said...

As a counselor I related to your post in a very similar way. We do our best to offer what we can then send them out the door with all our hopes and prayers. Great post.