Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Behavior Support starts in your own backyard

I've been too swamped with work to post until I witnessed this craziness at a conference in Columbia yesterday. It was too rich to pass up.

Picture this:

A packed hotel conference room full of school administrators. That's fancy talk for Principals, Assistant Principals, Superintendents and the like. You know, the people teachers and students alike will walk down different halls to avoid, the ones who sometimes wield their power with wooden paddles drilled with holes. The authority figures, the check-signers, the deciders. Yeah, yeah, surely the vast majority are like Morgan Freeman in some 1980's movie where he saves the gang-ridden school from a horrid fate, but play along with me here, kids.

The speaker was a honcho, a muckety-muck and frankly, the real deal. He had flown in from Oregon, and is someone who is well-respected, frequently published, and clearly had gone to some trouble to speak to this huge crowd.

I'm in the back row, so I can see the crowd and the Expert.

Which means I can also see the three different people who are openly READING THE NEWSPAPER, cover to cover, while the Expert talks. When one woman finishes the sports page, she opens her laptop, connects to the hotel's wireless connection and begins shopping for a new cell phone.

They're not even trying to hold the newspapers on their laps. They hold them open, full page up, leisurely turning page after page, occasionally glancing at the speaker, and sipping from their coffee cups.

Do you think they would tolerate this rude behavior from their students?

I wish the speaker would have stopped his talk and sent them out.

I wish I would have had the courage of my convictions to have told them to go to the lobby to read and surf the net.

I wish I could tell you positively that a couple of them sported name tags from Lebanon Schools, but I'm only 85% sure.

More than anything I wish I'd only dreamed this horrible behavior.

Oh yeah--the topic of the conference? Missouri Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support.

Administrator--heal thyself.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Tennessee Williams Kind of Day

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers

After writing many blog posts describing sad situations, and after allowing my sadness to overwhelm me to a point that I just wanted to hide in the woods, I was reminded yesterday that it is truly through the kindnesses of others--sometimes the kindnesses of strangers-- that we see the love of God.

I am humbled and awed by the power of Kindness.

I vow to pass it on.

"What one heart cannot bear alone, a hundred loving hearts can bear with faith"