Your principal made the most inane suggestion! I completely agree with the
post on "micro-managing."
Our school has a bell system wired into the clocks. It merely took a
little programming to have a clean-up bell ring only in my classroom at
five minutes before the dismissal bell. Not only does it warn students to
clean up (because many were the times when I'd forget about the time -
understandable if you are in your right brain), it also keeps them from
cleaning up too early e.g. "How come you have cleaned up, the bell did not
I'd clap three times and tell the pricipal it was the signal for her to
butt out (of course, only on the list. In person, I'd do exactly what you
PS My pricipal just walked in to check on a student who was not in school,
and I related your story. First he laughed, and then he said, "I hope I
never insult one of my teachers like that."