Category Archives: in-service
In-services are not my favorite way to spend early-release-for-the-students days. After the students are on the buses, I’d rather retreat to my classroom to plan lessons and get my materials in order.
However, today’s district-wide in-service was bearable—mostly because the other middle school special ed teacher and I were allowed to meet with the guided-reading coach to strategize ways to ensure our students’ reading success, instead of enduring whatever whole-group activity was going on in the cafeteria.
The best part of the afternoon happened post-event in the parking lot as we were getting into our cars. I told Teacher One that I was tired and hoped tomorrow would be a better day.
“Another day, another dollar,” Teacher One said.
“When did you get a raise?” Teacher Two said, feigning indignation.
Why do administrators think that what they have to say is more important than letting teachers work in their classrooms to get ready for the first day of school?
Our Beloved Principal devoured 90 minutes of our valuable time this morning with “housekeeping details” that could have been covered in 30 minutes—tops.
Never mind. Among the chaff there were a few kernels of wheat. Here are three things Our Beloved Principal said that are worth remembering—really:
The way you receive love and respect on the job is more important than money.
My work is to make it easier for you to help kids.
Middle school kids are fun because they’re lousy liars.
One in-service down and one more to go.
Today’s district-wide orientation, although tedious, wasn’t an unmitigated disaster. While the speakers droned on and on and on, I managed to write 53 new haiku in a steno book that I brought along just for that purpose. Like a mentor I had when I was in graduate school, I refuse to be bored at meetings that are anything but interesting.
My mentor’s name was James D. Glasse, and he was the president of Lancaster Theological Seminary. During the September seminar my first year at LTS, Jim decided to take us new seminarians to the local court house, where a forum on aging was in progress. I sat next to Jim as the speakers droned on and on and on.
Jim seemed to be keenly interested in the proceedings, because he was filling page after page of a yellow legal pad with notes. My curiosity was piqued. Maybe I was a poor listener. I decided to try to refocus my attention on what the speakers were saying, but thirty seconds later I was fidgeting in my seat.
Jim, however, was still scribbling furiously, so I decided to take a peek at his notes. That’s when I discovered that he was writing letters to friends. He looked up just before I could look away, and flashed me a huge grin. He leaned close and said, “I made up my mind years ago never to be bored at boring meetings. That’s why I carry this legal pad.”
I’ve followed Jim’s example ever since. I find legal pads too cumbersome and too conspicuous, so I prefer a steno pad instead, but I never go to a meeting without one. Two in-services, one on Thursday, the other on Friday, will be perfect opportunities for me to write more poetry.
Any day I can write, I’m a happy guy.