Robert A. Teegarden's Blog

February 22, 2012

When God Created Principals

Filed under: Education,principals — by Robert @ 12:45 pm
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When the Lord created principals, the heavenly workshop looked like the aftermath of a great holocaust.

“What a mess!” exclaimed an angel.  “Who’s in charge here?”

“I am,” responded the Lord.

“Oh, excuse me, Lord,” said the angel, “but you see I was concerned about all the debris here, you know.  And, what with attractive nuisances and the children running around…”

“Not to worry,” said the Lord.  “I’ve got it all under control.  The children won’t be harmed from all this.  I’m creating a principal for them.”

“A principal?” asked the angel, “of a school?”

‘Well, that’s where you’d usually find one,” answered the Lord.  “But there’s more to it than that.  You see, there  are five basic designs and I’m just at the composite stage.”

“That they may all be one?” queried the angel.

“In a manner of speaking, yes,” said the Lord.

“Is this going to take long, Lord?” asked the angel.  “What with the next field trip coming through here in an hour, I don’t know if…”

“It’ll only take a minute,” said the Lord.  “But it will also last a lifetime.  It’s like the first model here. I call it the Hallmark.”

“The Hallmark?” asked the angel.

“When you care enough to send the very best,” said the Lord.  “You see, this is the one doctors and lawyers call ‘in loco parentis.’”

“Lord!”  the angel reacted.  “Such language, even here in the workshop.”

“I can see your Latin has slipped since the vernacular,” answered the Lord.  “loco parentis means you send yourself…  the best that you can give. The Hallmark is the loving, caring parent in all principals.  You see, it has broad shoulders to help with the swings, a large set of  hands to hold all the contents of a six-year-old’s pocket, a lap like a mother’s, that disappears when it stands up, and when it has to do some thinking, intelligent feet that…”

“Intelligent feet?” chortled the angel.  “I suppose you’re going to say next that it has four sets of eyes.”

“How observant you are!” scolded the Lord.  “That’s the Bionic model over here.  You see, this is the model with the photographic memory for remembering all those names, personalities, and families.  It has a set of eyes here for long-distance yard duty and the x-ray set for seeing behind the field buildings.  Then it has the set in front here that listen to every detail of situations.”

“Eyes that listen?” wondering the angel out loud.

“And eyes that speak!” retorted the Lord.  “Eyes that say, ‘you’re wrong and you know it, but I love you just the same.’  Eyes that say, ‘you blew it,’ ‘you’re out!’ ‘no,’ ‘you can’t.’  But eyes that always say, ‘I’m for you.  You can do it.  Try.’”

“But Lord,” challenged the angel.  “The drain on that one would need an energy source as large as Hoover dam.”

“True enough, my friend,” said the Lord.  “But it, too, does not live on bread alone.  Look here at the Univac model.  This one knows all the names of all the graduates of the school,  knows where they are and what they’re doing in life, and gives a welcome ear of support.  It also has an insatiable appetite to learn new ways of solving age-old problems:  problems like loneliness, heartbreak, failure, mistrust, and greed.  It has all these things and can yet support and encourage.”

“I think you overloaded this one,” said the angel.  “The hands are a nervous twitter.”

“Oh, that’s the Xerox model,” said the Lord.  “It has to type 200 words per minute, balance all ledger accounts, keep track of student council funds, be a master printer, a resident postman, a speed dialer on the phone…”

“How come there’s no hair on the hands?” asked the angel.

“That’s from getting burned too often,” said the Lord.  “You know, those cold winter mornings when the furnace goes out and you get a frantic call about the temperature in Room 3. Later on it’s  parents, teachers, school boards, district boards, government intrusions, police, fire and a host of other departments.”

“There’s a leak in that one, Lord,” said the angel.

“That’s the Humilitas model,” answered the Lord.  “It’s not a leak; it’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?” asked the angel.

“It’s for the ain of sometimes knowing too much and not being able to share.  It’s for standing alone, even among your friends.  It’s for realizing there’s so much to be done, and so little time in which to do it. It’s for seeing too much time being spent on making a living and not enough on making life.  It’s for the job of birth and the pain of death.  It’s for letting children in small bodies and in large bodies know that their onceness with me doesn’t really count as long as their isness really am.”

“Your grammar, Lord!” exclaimed the angel.

“That, too,” said the Lord.


February 18, 2012

Outcomes in Education

Outcomes in Education

 Parents, have you ever thought about why you send your child to school? Is it because the law says you must? Is it because everyone else does?  Or are there more substantial reasons why you send your sons and daughters off to learn their 4 Rs?

The second question undergirds the first. In today’s world you either pay for your child’s education with your taxes and/or with cash.  Parents who send their children to private schools wind up paying twice.  They pay their taxes for a service they don’t redeem and they pay tuition.  Now that just doesn’t seem fair at all.  Parents who send their children to the government (“public”) schools don’t pay tuition (although there are more and more charges for labs, sports, AP classes, etc., today) but they do pay upwards of 50% of their taxes for their child’s education.  This so-called “free education” is not really free at all; in fact it’s pretty expensive compared to the outcomes in private schools.  Are you getting your money’s worth?  If you had to shell out a monthly payment instead of the hidden costs and payments through the tax rolls, I wonder if you might make a change.  Here’s why…

Following are 22 possible outcomes for K-12 education.  Read through the list.  This is a mental exercise to help clarify your choices and ambitions with regard to your child/ren.  Rank your choices!  Rank them from the highest, most important, as #1 and the least important as #22.  Granted many of them are intrinsically linked—but the choice is yours.  Push is coming to shove in our world.  Only certain things will be taught, caught, encouraged and allowed.  Schooling is not just about what is being taught, but what isn’t being included.  Which do you want for your child/ren?  When things get tough, when we get down to brass tacks, what is the ultimate outcome you would wish for your children’s K-12 schooling?

[    ]          Behaves appropriately at all times.

[    ]          Knows about/appreciates peoples of other races, ethnic groups and religions.

[    ]          Can enjoy a number of cultural activities.

[    ]          Has the basic skills for acquiring and communicating knowledge.

[    ]          Can get along with teachers and classmates.

[    ]          Has a desire to learn; more intellectually curious.

[    ]          Respects authority; understands duties and obligations.

[    ]          Is informed of occupational opportunities and how people prepare for them.

[    ]          (For faith based) Knows basic doctrines and commandments of the church.

[    ]          Has good health habits and an appreciation of the body.

[    ]          Is prepared to enter personally worthwhile programs in high school/college.

[    ]          Learns material given by the teacher.

[    ]          (Faith based) Attends services regularly and is engaged in faith community.

[    ]          Seeks service to others: family, church community, wider community.

[    ]          Capable of figuring things out alone—an independent thinker.

[    ]          Can manage personal finances and has wise buying habits.

[    ]          Has an individual sense of values; has high personal moral standards.

[    ]          Loyal to the American way of  life.

[    ]          Has a realistic understanding of responsibilities/opportunities of family life.

[    ]          Is an emotionally stable person

[    ]          Is a good person.

[    ]          Is able to get a job.

If you could only choose five, which would they be?

If you could only choose three, which would they be?

If there had to be one, which would it be?


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