26 Things That Would Happen If I Ran a School

Monday, January 18, 2016

The full title of this post is, “26 Things That Would Happen If I Ran a School and Also Had a Trillion Dollars and If Safety Weren’t an Issue And Magic Existed” but the shorter one was more Internet-friendly.

Before I had an awesome principal, I used to think A LOT about how I would run a school. Sometimes I would come up with very serious things I’d do differently, like, “Wow, I would not spend my Teacher’s Appreciation Week banquet speech passive-aggressively calling my teachers lazy and untalented,” which were my actual thoughts during the Teacher's Appreciation Week banquet one of my first years. Other times I'd invent unrealistic ways I’d run a school, like, “I would totally have a cereal bar installed in the teacher’s lounge along with a milk fountain where the milk comes out of a bucket held by a cat who is standing on its hind legs and smiling."

This post is full of the type of reasons in that latter realm of thinking.

I should also clarify that I’m writing this post late at night after consuming an alarming amount of sugary treats sent to me from a friend in Scotland.

Also, be aware that this post features the use of “they" as a singular pronoun because I love it and because it’s a thing now

Here we go.

26 Things That Would Happen If I Ran a School and Also Had a Trillion Dollars and If Safety Weren’t an Issue And Magic Existed

1. Teachers would have a bank of five additional vacation days called Nope, Not Going to Happen Today Days for those times when you get to school and realize you’re wearing two different shoes, or that you forgot your laptop, or that all your students are inexplicably savage and might set you on fire in the near future. You’d just email your supervisor and go home, no questions asked.

2. At back-to-school professional development I’d pretend that teachers are actually NFL players. I'd  rent one of those inflatable gates for them to run through to enter the school. There would also be a pyrotechnic display and I’d make students come to school for that day on their summer break and cheer maniacally and paint their faces and stuff. It’d be part of their service hours graduation requirement.

3.  We’d watch Whiplash during professional development as an example of how not to run your classroom followed by Mr. Holland’s Opus for morale. 

4. The whole school would follow a midday routine of 40 minute lunch à 30 minute recess à hour-long mandatory quiet time (no talking or technology; reading or napping or staring only).

5. There would be these giant, six by six-foot soundproof Plexiglas cubbies installed on all classroom walls called pods. The pods are big enough to fit a kid and their desk. If a student wanted to work by themselves or needed to make up a test or quiz they could just go in a pod and have total silence.

6. I’d have like eight therapists on staff, and every student has to meet with a therapist at minimum once a year even if they don’t think they need to. If they insist that they have absolutely no emotional conflict whatsoever in their lives, they can just talk to their assigned therapist about Netflix or something.

7. I’d have another free therapist on staff just for teachers, and there would be a small cookie oven in their office.

8. Students would take a Career Exploration class where they choose nine careers to shadow over the course of their sophomore year. (Obviously some nefarious careers would be banned, like writers of education policy.) Some career experts would be there at school to provide free services to teachers (e.g. chef, barista) and would also offer technical training to students. 

9. There would be a school garden and the chef would teach students how to grow food and prepare it.

10.  Instead of in or out-of-school suspension, students who broke major rules would have to come work in the school garden for eight hours on Saturday and then have to write a poem comparing their inner transformation to that of a plant.

11. The library would be an exact replica of the one in the castle in Beauty and the Beast.

12. The cafeteria would be an exact replica of the dining hall at Hogwarts.

13. There would be a doggy day-care on campus where faculty and staff could leave their dogs so they’re not alone for ten hours every day. There would be a vet on staff that oversees the day-care and also is part of the Career Exploration class, so students could shadow him or her. And then if you’re sad during your conference period you could go play with a bunch of dogs.

14. The substitutes are all super awesome undergraduate education majors from a local university. We get free substitutes, they get observation/classroom hours. Win-win.

15. In addition to stairs there are slides and rock walls to travel between floors.

16. Teachers would go on a surprise mystery international all-expenses paid vacation every year for Teacher Appreciation Week.

17. Teachers would be given a school debit card and an excitingly large budget to use on student supplies.

18. Each teacher would be assigned a professional assistant. The professional assistant’s job is to make and field phone calls, input grades, respond to emails, schedule meetings, fill out forms and hall passes, make new supply requests, inventory and organize current supplies, create and rotate work on bulletin boards, run errands related to teaching for supplies and resources, keep track of teacher’s academic budget, run correspondence with parents and administration, keep track of important school calendar dates such as school events, standardized testing, district initiatives, deadlines, etc. Oh and also answer the teacher’s personal phone calls, text messages, and emails. This way, teachers can focus their energy on their students, and on planning, teaching, professional training, and giving feedback to meet the needs of each child. Just like in the old days!

19. The scary red exclamation point on urgent emails in Microsoft Outlook would be replaced with the unicorn emoji. 

20.  Student desks could be converted to standing desks, lap trays, or rocking chairs.

21. Special robots would monitor standardized tests, not teachers or staff, because no human should have to do that job except for the people who design them.

22. The IT technician would be a wizard. Not figuratively. An actual wizard.

23. All students would be required to take a class senior year called Really Important Things where they are taught a rolling curriculum of information teachers deem students need to know but doesn’t necessarily fit in a traditional course subject. E.g. how to invest wisely in the stock market, knowing which side of the sidewalk to walk on, developing emotional intelligence, which direction the toilet paper should be facing when you replace it, using your turn signal, and other random bits of knowledge teachers want to impart to children before they graduate.

24. Snuggies would be not only permitted in the dress code but encouraged.

25. Fluorescent lighting is outlawed. Ambient lighting only. Also candles are allowed, but nothing that smells like real food (cupcakes, caramel, cookies, etc.) because that’s unconstitutional*.

26. Every year in June just before summer break, there is an end-of-year concert that is required attendance by the whole school. Between the two groups of students and faculty, whichever group has the lower average number of unexcused absences during the school year gets to choose the band/artist. So if students have fewer unexcused absences, they could vote on Rebecca Black and faculty would be forced to listen. But if faculty have fewer unexcused absences, they could vote to bring in ALANIS MORISETTE and life would be awesome and students’ heads would kind of explode.

I’m going to stop now because it’s 11:45 P.M., but not because I can’t think of 800 more things to add to this list, because I can.

Love and dreams,


*See the 8th Amendment