To my more serious readers (yes, all three of you): It is Spring Break in Minneapolis’ public school system. Rather than high-tail it with Michelle to the Gulf Coast of Florida to visit my mother-in-law, and the beach she just happens to live near, hop on the old scooter (which blew the crankshaft for a second time in four years), or do anything that might be loosely defined as “fun,” I have decided to use this so-called “free” time to try to tackle the long list of things I have wanted to do but had to shelve to address more immediate concerns.
Take today, for instance. I went into the office to meet with a few others — who have also transmogrified their “free” time into “working” time — and draw up a Top Ten of projects I hope to get done by the end of the week before the show gets on the road again seven days from now.
I’ll spare you the nasty details, but suffice it to say that I finished my Top Ten list in about ten minutes. Mostly, it involves software updates, database preparations and updates, reorganizing certain areas, writing a bunch of e-mails to people, getting cost estimates, and planning the next quarter of my class for a new bunch of students. Whee!
No, seriously… Whee! Almost every morning when I arrive on the campus, I hit the ground running and don’t stop until the class dismissal bell. Some days, I don’t even get a chance to drop my coat off in my office because something requiring my attention has come up. Because of all the budget cutbacks and reductions, most of us — teachers, administrators, and staff — are conducting the educational and administrative equivalent of meatball surgery. Granted, it’s not pretty and it leaves a lot of rough edges, but we get the job done quickly and effectively.
You probably know how many critics of education argue that public schools should be run like a business, right? Well, if schools were run in such a manner, the employees would go on strike in a heartbeat due to the arduous working demands, the rough conditions, and the less-than-adequate compensation for their expertise. As I indicated in my previous post, if my school contracted out for the technical support I provide, it would be in a financial hole five to six times greater than what I receive…
… Of course, I did happen to crash the school’s network last week. Hey, it could have happened to anybody. Besides, I fixed it in less than an hour (it should have been less, but I didn’t ask the important starting question, “Okay, what did I do that caused this?”) and finished re-wiring the third floor lab all at the same time.
God, I wish I had George W. Bush’s job. All he does is tell people to do things or not to do things. He’s not a “details” person, by his own admission. He never has to accept blame for his failures. He just passes them off to his underlings’ underlings, or his underlings themselves if the failing issue is too hot. He doesn’t even do e-mails, or so he says, anyway. Most importantly, he works nine to five, takes super-long vacations that are truly vacations and not some demented version of free time to address the as-yet-unaddressed tasks, browbeats and bullies others without a care in the world, and is chauffeured all over the place. All that, a six-digit annual income, and no calls for accountability from the Right Wing Nut House, too.