I Wore My Coat in Class Today

It has happened at least once in every school–public or private–where I have taught. At some point the furnace goes, and it’s always on the coldest day of the year. How strange to keep working with gloves, scarves, and winter jackets wrapped tight. I resisted the peacoat until I made a trip into the hallway and realized the hall was warmer than my room.

My classroom is often uncomfortably cold in the winter and stiflingly hot in August and late spring/early summer. It’s one of the harder parts of maintaining such a sprawling complex. It’s more barn than building, more mall than office park. We bleed energy from every gap in the double doors and around every warped-seal on a window. All I can do is dress in layers when it’s cold and bring a fan from home to stir the air when it’s hot. To the person who solves the energy efficiency/heating and cooling problem for schools–you will be one very wealthy person.

Please get on that. Soon.

Another down side to the cold weather is that it has driven a few mice into my desk drawers. My principal likes to give teachers a chocolate bar and card for birthdays and I hadn’t taken a nibble of mine before a mouse squirmed its way into my desk and gnawed nearly a third of it while my students and I were away from the room. How impertinent! That happened before the holiday break and I managed to clean out the “remains” my visitor had left. Today I found that another “friend” had attacked a sealed bottle of vitamin C in the opposite drawer. Is there anything worse than wondering when you reach into a desk drawer for a pen or note pad that you might come in contact with a mouse–or its leavings?

I’d like to laugh. To shrug it off and say, well–these things do happen and can happen to anyone–but I wonder. I wonder.

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2 thoughts on “I Wore My Coat in Class Today

  1. Funny that this happens in both buildings. Someday I shall share my solution, but don’t tell the custodians! A few ‘did you know’ musings: Our finance director won a 50K grant to change the light fixtures in the South building this summer. This should save the district 60K per year. PER YEAR in electricity bills. The South building is also going to get a new roof this summer….Why aren’t there solar panels on our buildings? FloRo has solar panels….How about the HS? Why no wind turbines? Did you know that the South building has a non-working air conditioner unit on the roof that is powerful enough to cool the entire building? It has been non-working for 5 years. Do the math….
    PS…I liked your PD by Twitter remark today!~

    • I heard the great news about changing out the light fixtures. That’s the kind of forward-thinking, proactive change that is possible with leadership and vision. As for the rest: I get it. We’re a sprawling enterprise and it costs money. It’s a bit like driving an old car. Sometimes when something breaks down, it’s easier to pretend it doesn’t matter than to pour money into it that could be reallocated elsewhere. It’s not necessarily “right” but it is understandable.

      Good news for me, too. The heat is on! No more frosty mornings for me or the kiddos. I got left off the inital repair list yesterday because I didn’t know there is no janitor in North until after 10:00am and the newest member of the staff hasn’t learned how to check the phone messages. I tell you what–it just doesn’t pay to be the new kid!

      The mice thing, though, just grosses me out. How many people (outside teaching) just “know” it’s likely that a mouse will root through their desk drawers?

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