Why “MiddleMan2012”?

One thing you’ll soon learn about me if you continue to follow my blog is that I tend to get pretty random. Of course you won’t know what actually inspires me to blog about something unless I share it with you. Which…is probably a good idea since most of you don’t know me and you’ll think I’m what my good friend refers to us/me is “bat ___ crazy”.

Case in point, let me clue you in on one of my own creations in punctuation. I like to use (…) instead of a comma because the … gives the reader what I call the soap opera pause. You know the one where Luke reveals to Laura (Cool that I know this isn’t it?) that he’s actually a space alien and she’s now carrying a hybrid baby. Yeah…that’s the pause I’m talkin’ about!

On with the blog. So why MiddleMan2012″? If you’ve seen the movie with Steve Martin and John Candy called Planes, Trains, and Automobiles you might recall the scene where the two are forced to sleep in  the same bed in some skanky motel right? So in the morning Steve Martin comments, as the two are unknowingly spooning, how warm his hands are between “two pillows”. Too John Candy’s horror he screams, “Those aren’t pillows!” Well let me tell all you elementary and high school principals something. More often than not, those of us in middle school administration feel like Steve Martin’s hands!

Sandwiched between the cute little world of elementary school and the “This really counts now kids.” world of high school lies this little place I call John Candy’s bum. Ok…(soap opera pause) so it really isn’t THAT bad but if you never administered in a middle school or junior high you may not understand the push/pull feeling you get when working with your colleagues. Let me be perfectly clear at this point though. I have absolute Rock Star principals working with me and the next rising star in public education, our own director of educational services. It’s because of this one-two punch in my world as a middle school principal, I sometimes feel the squeeze of trying to meld the great work happening in the elementary world with our own unique work in getting kids prepared for high school AND keeping the middle school brain engage in learning. (Here is where my director of ed services would be screaming “That is NOT our job to prepare kids for more school!”) Of course she’s right but as of now our current system is what it is.

However, there is a bright spot and one that isn’t always recognizable by the sleeping giants on either side of me. Because our letter grades (That’s a whole other topic someday.) don’t matter for anything relevant, and we aren’t necessarily building most if not all of the critical foundational skills like in the elementary school, we are freed up to be as creative and innovative as we want and need to be. I’m talking flexibility folks. I’ve always said that, “Kids will learn in spite of us.” which is very unsettling to some. (Take it for what it’s worth now. I’ll blog it later. ) There is a certain amount of freedom that exists in the middle that allow us to punch convention in the mouth. Our job is not to kill the learner. Our job is to engage not enslave our students in the learning process which makes being in the middle the best place for me.

I guess being Steve Martin’s hands ain’t so bad after all! 😉

I’ts better in the Middle!

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