Atlas has it easy.

Most people, nope, that’s wrong. Some people are aware of the myth of Atlas holding the world on his shoulders.You know, there he is standing on…. well standing there holding the world on his shoulders. Naked. What was he standing on? Snot – now I have to go find that out. Anyway, as an administrator in June, I’m thinking about seeing if there is any way to do a job switch for a few weeks. Now, I know that this sounds strange, but a couple times the last few weeks it has felt like some comicbook badguy has crept into town and stolen all the common sense and I’ve been tasked with finding it and giving it back all with my wondercape and tights out for cleaning.(Don’t ask, don’t imagine, just read. Trust me on this one.)

Yeah, I know, that is why I get the big bucks. Let’s just clear that up by saying that, here the BIG BUCKS are more like middlen bucks with the wonderful opportunity to practice the “camera pose.” Why do you think administrators always take such good yearbook photos? Speaking of yearbook, why don’t they ask for the principal’s message at the beginning of the year? If I were to truly give my message now  …..I might not have anything to trade with Atlas.

I know it’s the end of the year and all, but if I’m being required to be on my best at this time of year how come others are being let off early? Did I miss out on the memo on good behaviour? Maybe it was one of the 300 daily email I get that I didn’t read clearly enough or didn’t have a subject. How hard is it to put a title in that line? Do people not realize that when you get 400 daily email, not having a title really slows down the whole email sorting process. In fact, a good title can really make or break the email for me. So, from the 500 odd email, those without a title go to the archive folder unless they have the name of someone I know wouldn’t send me a time-waster. (For those people, if you are reading this, it’s ok not to have a subject. I open your email regardless!) For all the others who are vying for my attention out of the 600 emails, no subject and archived you are. This account for about 400 leaving me with 300 to sort through and decide if I answer them “now” or do I put them on “hold” for later in the day. That’s my email sorting system. With 800 emails, I need something simple and quick.

It’s like common sense, that subject line, and lately there seems to be a shortage. So with my cape and tights being cleaned, starched and pressed, I’m trying to do this without letting on to others my hero identity, which actually isn’t tough because no one is noticing me until there’s a crisis and then, when I arrive, they disappear. Like “poof” gone.  “Go get the principal!” can be heard in my office from the far reaches of our known galaxy (the farthest point south on our playground) or, better yet, I can hear from the phone the secretary has answered and she’s two doors down the hall and mine is closed.(I tell everyone the lights are off to conserve energy and make it cooler in my office. Like flurescent bulbs give off heat! And they believe me!) Really, I’ve had all kinds of things just dropped off at my door. There’s a knock and when I open it, some students have been just left there with a note stapled to one of their shirts with a brief explanation of what happened. When I ask the students, they aren’t even sure which teacher was there because they left so fast.

Common sense. Missing in action. Get this – some of my students – between the ages of 10 and 12 – didn’t realize that if they threw rocks at one another, someone might get hurt and end up bleeding. Yes, you read that right. And they were just playing a game – which involved throwing rocks at each other. And – I quote – I didn’t know that if I hit him in the head with a smaller rock it would cut him. I didn’t know he’d get hurt. What do you say to that? I’m not making this up – 5 of them. (The team with only 2 did lose the game but had better aim because the others had the more severe damage.) That was morning of the second day.

Today, I entered the library to find 3 or 4 classes in the resource centre (that’s our new name for the library with a computer lab) and 1 teacher was visible. When I mentioned this, there were all kinds of reasons for me seeing only one teacher. All I can say is thank goodness the librarian was away for the afternoon or she’d have been having a coniption and I would have been the one she would have been having it on! We all know that, after the secretary and janitor, the librarian is next on the list of “Do not tick off!” Like, no one planned any activities so all these classes were sent to the computer lab. And like the rock throwers earlier in the week, there was a lack of understanding about why this wasn’t a good idea. Really, you cannot have 75 students on 27 computers. Some will be doing nothing which, in June, is not a situation I like – 50 odd students, mulling about with nothing to do and one person watching over them who is not armed. Visions of City Slickers II and the coffee grinder just popped into my head.

To top it all off, this is happening at a time when I’m trying to figure out teaching assignments and determine class offerings for next year which, by the way, have not gone any where near how I thought they would and, unless something happens involving the school to which we broadcast, we, yeah right we, there will need to be some changes which might include going from a 6 period day to a 5 period day. And you should have been a fly on the wall when I delivered that bit of joyous news. You’d think Atlas had dropped the ball and the world as we know it was going to end. And talk about being treated like a 7 year old – there were times I felt like I was back in grade 2 being scolded by the teacher. I’m the principal for crying out loud. “Did you count the selections right?” HUH???

A suggestion was just to have the students taking the class leave their other class the 10 minutes early. Hmmm – over an entire semester – about 98 days that’s, well, hmmm. Well I can’t count from the sheets how do you expect me to figure that one out? But I can tell you  that it’s too much time to miss from any class.

I just want some common sense to return for a few more days. Please. If you are the badguy who’s stolen the common sense, what do you want to have it returned? Wait, maybe if Atlas will just do a switch for a few days, then it would only be one world I’d be trying to hold up not everyone’s separate universe. You don’t know how many times I’ve looked at someone and thought “What colour is the sky in your world?” One world, the sky is blue, a few days. I only hope no other principal has thought of this before and Atlas is on to it. I’m not worried that he wouldn’t come back. I’m more worried that someone would steal his common sense and then we’d all be in trouble. “No Atlas, you can’t use it as a hackey-sack! I don’t think it’s good for the oceans! I don’t care what the rock throwers said, it will definitely hurt an ankle. Did you look at their foreheads? They threw rocks at one another!”

My wife compares all of this to giving birth. It starts out all fun, with some type of party which hopefully includes fireworks for someone. Then, as things progress you begin to remember how things were but you still don’t recall the end. There are moments of warm glowing happiness and times of really bad vomitting.  When the final few days arrive, you wonder if you’re going to make it at all, hoping it all will just end. Finally, when the moment arrives, you question your own sanity but almost as soon as it’s over and you hold that miracle in your arms, you forget all about what just went before. Sure, over the next few weeks, you’re reminded of it with pains here and there but, after a few months, you’re willing to have that party all over again. (Look, I’m a principal and a father of 7 children so this works for me!)  I’m at the “I just want it to end” stage. Grad is in 8 days. Birth.

Common sense. Maybe I’m the one who has none! Really, who’d want to trade with a guy like Atlas – all he does is hold up the world – I’m trying to help create it one student at a time. (minus the rock throwers would be nice. I’m just lucky the bars are close together on the windows or someone would have been buying a new window!Not. The bars I mean. They’d have had to pay for a new window. Hey, I don’t make that much!)


  1. Reply

    Glad to hear this is not just happening at my school. Instead of rocks, it was one kid who was telling everyone to kick him in the stomach. “I didn’t think it was wrong to kick someone if they asked me to!”

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