If all goes according to plan, as you read this I should be on my way to Southfork Ranch to address the assembled administrators of Garland ISD. For me, this marks the opening bell of the new school year—the first inservice.  I expect you have heard the observation that teacher inservice is the best time for a person to die—because the transition from life to death is so subtle.

I hope to make my inservice presentations more lively than that.  Fortunately, I always have interesting things to talk about, since the law is ever evolving.

But here are a few observations about teacher inservice from a veteran:

1. The coaches always sit in the back. And they were off task long before the rest of you were. Nowadays, everyone is off task, or at least prepared to be so. Just about everyone has a cell phone or ipad at the ready in case the presentation is a total bore.  But the coaches were ahead of the rest of you on this, diagramming plays in the back of the room.

2. We speakers always appreciate the folks who sit up front.

3. It’s really hard to corral a group of teachers coming together after being apart for the summer. They have too much to talk about.

4. If you are the speaker, try not to come up after the magician.

5. Also: try not to come up after the superintendent has explained the higher cost of insurance and the likelihood of no pay increase for the next five years.

6. The women in the audience appear to be more attentive than the men, but they are not. They are more likely to make eye contact with the speaker, and to nod and smile. But that’s just that nurturing, helpful maternal thing. They are trying to help the speaker along with nods and smiles, which is all very nice, but this doesn’t mean they are really listening.

7. The men in the audience don’t give a flip about helping the speaker along, so you won’t get those nods and smiles. But you can tell when a man is really listening carefully because his head goes diagonal.  I think this is because the male brain is not as well connected as the female brain. Women have a brain that is well connected—the right half and the left half, that is. So they can listen to the speaker with both halves of the brain, while holding the head upright. The male brain is not as well connected, so we men have to cheat a bit, and go diagonal with the head.  As you can tell, I know a lot about the human brain.

I enjoy speaking to educators.  On the whole, y’all are a good audience, and I look forward to another year on the road.  In fact, in September and October alone I will be speaking in Regions 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, the Harris County DOE, the TASB Convention and a TCASE/Legal Digest Conference. See you on the road!