Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Opinion
Education Opinion

Confession

By Roslyn Johnson Smith, Ph.D. — March 24, 2008 3 min read

I’m a procrastinator. I put off tasks that are tedious, unpleasant, or difficult until the last minute. I am rarely early for meetings, assignments, or church. I think that I’ve always been a little late, even for parties, weddings and fun activities. Whether it’s a doctor’s appointment, a beauty salon engagement, or a luncheon time with a friend, I will probably arrive a bit tardy. During my years as a teacher, I was on time because I rode with a friend. I was grateful when she picked me up at my front door, but I was hardly ever standing outside waiting for her.

As a principal, I was never one of those who tried to be the first person in the building each morning. I usually arrived a few minutes before the bell rang to start the day. That was because I had to conduct the morning meeting. We started the assembly with a song instead of a bell. Everyone was supposed to be in place when the song ended, including me. Many times, as I drove to school, I’d hear the song playing while I was still a block away. I knew that I had to park my car, run across the playground, dash up the ramp and be in my place at the top where everyone could see me before the final “Good morning to you” finished playing. It was the only time I remember people enjoying my lateness. The mad dash delighted the students who hoped I would not make it. The rule was that everyone stopped walking and froze in place when the music stopped. Sometimes I was at the bottom of the ramp; sometimes I was on the outside of the closed gate with the other tardy people. A few times, I handed my bags and purse to one of the parent visitors and sprinted up the ramp in my high heels, just to entertain the students, who were chanting at me “You’re not going to make it!”

But, I’m older and a little more experienced. Plus, I’m retired. How hard can it be to do things on time? Well, I still find myself late too often. Today, I plan to complete a grant application that is long overdue. Last week, I received an email from someone at the state department office who wanted to know if our school was still interested in applying for some federal funding. The $200,000 grant will reimburse us for start-up costs. It is a special fund for new charter schools. Unfortunately, you have to spend $200,000 first and then request reimbursements. It’s not upfront money that you automatically get when you open the school. Also, it’s not competitive money that you lose, if someone else gets to it first. I did not feel any real urgency until now.

We are entering the fourth quarter of the year. Now is the time to begin requesting reimbursements so that we can close out the books by June 30th. We’ve spent $200,000 in January and February that I believe is reimbursable. Unfortunately, since our plan has not been approved, I’ll need to wait to find out. The plan asks a lot of questions that need to be answered in detail. But, a lot of the answers are already written in our approved charter school application. I need to check a few things with my friend, Paulette, who did this application last year. It is going to be finished today—I promise. The completed application only needs the budget pages and it will be done.

When we get the reimbursement, it will be just the cushion we’ll need to pay our teachers their end-of-year bonuses and the pay-for-performance plan money. Ironically, the pay-for-performance money comes from another grant that has already been submitted. However, it is another case of our having to pay the teachers first and then request reimbursements. Most schools operate with a large line of credit, if they don’t have a management organization to fund the upfront costs.

Nothing is going to stop me from finishing this grant today. I will get it completed as soon as “The Young and the Restless” goes off.

The opinions expressed in Starting Over: A Post-Katrina Education are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
The 4 Biggest Challenges of MTSS During Remote Learning: How Districts Are Adapting
Leaders share ways they have overcome the biggest obstacles of adapting a MTSS or RTI framework in a hybrid or remote learning environment.
Content provided by Panorama Education
Student Well-Being Online Summit Keeping Students and Teachers Motivated and Engaged
Join experts to learn how to address teacher morale, identify students with low engagement, and share what is working in remote learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Join us for our NBOE 2021 Winter Teacher Virtual Interview Fair!
Newark, New Jersey
Newark Public Schools
Special Education Teacher
Chicago, Illinois
JCFS Chicago
Assistant Director of Technical Solutions
Working from home
EdGems Math LLC

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read