Chrstmas Spirit

Chrstmas Spirit
My wife and kids having a little holiday fun

Monday, January 31, 2011


Welcome back my friends!  Today's post is going to have two parts to it.  The first is comparing public school teachers to illusionists while the second is going to say goodbye (for now).  Off we go!!!

I've always been amazed with illusion.  First, you see it; then you don't.  They can do card tricks, slight of hand, and even levitate.  How they do it, I don't know. But these acts entertain millions and I am one of them. 

One of the tricks that baffle me are the escapes.  I know there are secrets as to how they do it but I typically don't know how it's done.    When people have their hands tied, handcuffed, and shackled by their feet, escapes shouldn't be possible.  Yet, they are time and time again.

Thinking about these incredible acts, it strikes me as amazing that teachers are supposed to make the magic happen much like an illusionist no matter how unrealistic the trick really is.  Here are some examples.

1.  Teachers aren't handcuffed but they are significantly restrained by what they can and can't do.  For example, when  discipline problems exist in the classroom, there is not much a teacher can do besides deal with it to the best of their ability.  Remember, every minute spent dealing with a behavior issue is a minute taken from your child's education. The time lost is not accounted for when future tests are taken.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot an administration can do as well.  I remember as a teacher some colleagues would get mad at the principal and the counselor because of their lack of help.  The problem is there are hundreds of kids in a school and they have a laundry list of things that have to be accomplished.  In all my years, I never caught a principal or counselor playing card games on the computer or sitting around doing nothing.

2.  Teachers are expected to solve what appears to be an unsolvable mystery. What is a teachers job?  Simplistically, most of us would say to teach.  But, since teachers are evaluated on test scores, what happens when they are low?  Does it mean a teacher spent almost 10 months with a kid and didn't teach?  That seems a bit unlikely.

Test scores are obviously a quantifiable measure of progress.  But, this isn't like working the line at Ford Motor Company.  The parts aren't all the same.  Yet, teachers are supposed to produce a highly qualified and highly efficient test taking machine. Does this mean I disapprove of testing?  No.  Does it mean I approve of standardized testing?  Not really.  Again, it's an unsolvable mystery to me.

One of the main differences between an illusionist and teacher is this.  An illusionist only appears to have an unsolvable mystery.  With teachers, it's real.

3.   Teachers are expected to "perform" like illusionists with kids even if they aren't ready for the course work.  When a third grade teacher has to work with a 1st grade brain (happens a lot more than you may think) then either you give the kid extra instructional time (which means the other kids get less) or partially neglect the kid (in the air of fairness to the others) or totally neglect the kid (in order to work with the other kids who are on or closer to grade level).  There are not too many more options for teachers. Whatever direction the teacher goes will directly influence your child.

The grandest illusion of all is when parents believe schools will solve the problems.  The public has been fed the same line way before I started teaching and year after year, there are many parents who believe them.  That's why they get so mad at the system when problems occur.  They actually were fooled in believing it was going to work to begin with.  While it's frustrating even to me at times, I don't get surprised or upset.  I have responded by educating my kids to the best of my ability and wrote a blog almost 6,000 people have hit telling you all about it and what to do.   

Teachers work very hard but many are in a "box" they can't escape.  I was in that box as well and didn't realize it until years AFTER I left the profession.  When I taught, I can guarantee you I worked a lot of hours, ran a disciplined classroom, and taught the lessons I was expected to teach to the best of my ability.  There were kids who exploded with knowledge as the school year progressed.  There were others though who I couldn't help enough and continue to be "shackled" to this day.

Please keep a finger on the pulse of your children's education and help whenever you can.  Don't get caught up in the illusions.  I promise you'll never regret a minute of life working with a child you love.  

As I said before, this will be my last post for a while.  I try not to say never because I know better.  For those who have been following, you know I wrote a parenting book and am looking for the right publisher.  It takes an extraordinary amount of time to do this.  I am to the point where this needs to be my focus.  The purpose of the blog was to help great parents become even better and to get my name in the cyber world.  I truly feel I have accomplished both in a big way and had a lot of fun in the process.

I have had many people ask me about the book and when it will be available.  I am not sure but if anyone who has followed my work would like to purchase a copy down the line, shoot me an email.  If and when the book is published, I am sure I will be deep in the blogosphere again.

As far as people who have submitted parenting questions, I plan on responding to you privately.  If you are going to take the time to ask a question, I should take the time to answer it to the best of my ability.  This blog will also stay up indefinently.  If you have a question in the future, feel free to shoot me an email.  My door will stay open for you.

I wasn't sure how to end this blog until I checked my Twitter messages (@claylauren2001) about 10 minutes ago.  A girl I've never met wrote to me "we are beginning an adoption process from an orphanage and wanted some tips."  I fully admit I teared up a bit.  Anyone who knows my past would understand why.  If I help this stranger out in the smallest bit, all the hours spent in the creation, promotion, and writing of this blog will have been worth it.

Thanks again to everyone who has made this blog the success it's been.  Thanks for telling your friends.  Thanks for your comments.  Thanks for your words of encouragement.  If all goes well, maybe I'll be in a town near you someday signing my book.

Goodbye (for now) from the world of Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures.


  1. good luck with the book publishing!! How GREAT!!

    we homeschool. Not because I have anything 'agaiinst public school teachers'- but because I saw how tied their hands are. I feel bad for them and the kids sometimes. The y want to do the best job, but there is only so much they can do with the regs and all. And I have a time and a half dealing with just 3 kids. I can't imaging having THIRTY! Teachers are amazing!

    (Our latest Forensic Science Activity:

  2. I'm so sad you won't be writing your blog anymore as I have enjoyed it. Good luck on your book and I hope to read it once it is published.

  3. I've rally enjoyed reading your posts and hope you will stay in touch! I've been on a similar path (different topic) and I know how time consuming it is. Publishing is not what it used to be. Good luck!

  4. Best of luck to you during this exciting time in your life! I would be interested in purchasing your book when it is published. Congratulations and I look forward to your return.

  5. You will be much missed...but I do understand about the book process. However, I'll say two things about that:

    1. I was told by literary agents, who read my proposal and loved it but didn't want to take on the project, that I needed a PLATFORM...back then I didn't really understand what a platform was...thought they meant I needed to stand up in an auditorium and give a I know they meant I needed a giving workships, connecting with my market, having a radio talk show, giving speeches at conferences. The following you were building with your blog is of great value. That being said, I totally understand that time is finite...and there are just 24 hours in a day...I'm suffering also, trying to find the time to promote and market my new book, connect with parents with social networking, volunteer at local schools in a reading/crafting program aimed at kindergarten students based on the activities in my book.

    2. The time and ENERGY needed to find a literary agent (do you have one or are you going solo?), polish the proposal/manuscript, find a publisher or self-publish is unbelievable. And, once the book is published (as I'm sure yours will are a great writer...and you have so much of value to offer) the journey has just begun.

    The very best of luck to you in this exciting endeavor...I look forward to reading your book!

  6. This, as with your others, was a great post. Thank you so much for writing all of them and best of luck to you, and to your family. I will miss reading your posts, and look forward to you returning AND to your book being published.
    Best of luck Clayton!

  7. Best of luck with the book. I've enjoyed the blog and look forward ot an eventual return.

  8. Whihoo good luck! Crossing my fingers, praying, and sending positive thoughts!

  9. Clayton,
    While reading your post this thought came to mind: We could never become disillusioned unless we'd first been under some kind of illusion. What an excellent post on the illusions most parents are under who believe that the system will education their children. It's probably one of the biggest illusions of our time. Childen, like adults, learn from life. And we, as parents, are responsible for allowing them to grow and learn at their own pace instead of cramming them into that infamous box.
    Blessings on your publishing journey. We'll be watching and waiting for the book!

  10. I don't know if you will even get this or not...but I am your newest follower. If you would like to follow me back on my review and giveaway blog, that would be great! Here is my link:

    In My Opinion…

    I do have several blogs, but this one is where I am looking to get followers. Thanks so much!! :)

    Best wishes! :)

  11. Good luck with publishing your book. You have a great blog. Hope you come back soon.

  12. Hi, sending you following love from Social Moms!

    Hope you can stop by and follow me too

    Great blog, looking forward to reading more once you have returned. Good luck with the book, wishing you lots of success.

  13. Hi from your newest follower. Wonderful Blog you have. When you get the time please check out my blog and return the follow. I am going to be having AWSOME giveaways all throughout the year. Also PLEASE consider buying one of my cookbooks as it is our ONLY Income. If you want me to be a guest blogger on your blog I will send you a FREE online copy on the cookbook in either PDF or WORD format (I usually sell these for $5 each) and if you have ANY Suggestions on how to get them to start selling PLEASE email me you idea’s. I am also a avid coupon user and would like any extra’s you may have to stretch our food stamps each month.

    Thank You and Many Blessings to you and yours,
    Connie C

  14. Thanks for following and good luck with the book.


  15. Lovely picture on your blog header.
    Thank you for visiting me. Your new follower!

  16. following you back from the hop thanks for stopping by!

  17. I feel so honoured for such a wonderful comment I got from you in my post. Thanks for stopping by commenting and following. I'm following you too not just because you followed me but because I love this blog and can benefit a lot from your posts.
    As for the book, I'm definitely getting one when it's published. Wishing you all the best.

  18. Hi there!

    You stopped by my blog to follow this past week and I'm returning the favor. Thank you so much! I look forward to reading! Have a great weekend!


  19. Very nice post! Its not fair how teachers are blamed for every negative attitude of the student.
    I love your blog, why do u have to leave when i just found u?lol

  20. Good luck with your publisher search!

    Thanks for stopping by Six in the Nest!

  21. Good luck with your book! :) I'm sure you'll have great success!

  22. Thanks for stopping by Life or Something Like It. Love your redheads...I'm slightly partial to them as I am one myself, and have 3 children that are also one shade or another of red! Following you back. Good luck with your book!

  23. Thanks for the great advice and good luck with the book!

  24. Thanks for stopping by and following my blog! Returning the love...
    The Purple Goddess

  25. Thank you for visiting Homeschool Circus. I am now following you via NWB. Hope your book is coming along!!! Have a great Easter!

  26. I thought you disappeared for the book thing!

  27. Best of Luck to you! How very exciting! I'm certain you'll have great success.

    Have a nice day!

  28. Thanks for following me from the hop :o)
    I am following back!

  29. That's a brillilant and oh so true post about teachers! I think it's hard to explain a teacher's job to those who haven't done it, but you did it in a very interesting way with that comparison!

    Good luck finding a publisher for your book. I'm an aspiring author too - and I read a while ago that "a published writer is a persistent writer". I'm sure you'll find the best publisher and be very successful!
    I'll watch out for you at your first book signing in Cairns!!

    Thanks for visiting our little blog - we appreciate the follow - and I'm following you back - hoping that you'll pop back on your blog sometime!!

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