I don’t know if I mentioned it before but there were big changes in my district this year. Our student body has shrunk to half it’s original size in the past 3 years, so 2 of the school buildings were closed. The two grade schools were consolidated into what was formerly the middle school and the middle school and high school were consolidated too. I was really looking forward to the change.
We’ve had kids for two weeks now and while it’s been fun, it seems like what could go wrong did. A lot of kids who had registered were somehow not assigned to a class and had to wait around for a long time because of some problem with the computers and took over an hour to load the buses on that first day.
They sold a lot of our furniture from our old school so there was a lot of pirating of furniture. The kindergarten classes started school without tables and I’m sure it’s only because parents complained that they scrounged up some tables from somewhere until the new ones arrive. I’m the reading teacher and have the literacy lab as well where teacher’s can check out all sorts of materials. Because of all the materials, I had a lot of nice shelves that did get moved to the new school. Every day a different bookshelf “disappeared” from my room with the principal’s permission. It’s ok because a lot of my materials are now stored in the big library but it was disconcerting to not know what was going to be there every day.
In the meantime, the library was overloaded with decades of junk from the two old schools and stuff left over from the middle school. I spent the first week of school unpacking tons of teacher materials and helping the new little librarian, who is only with us part time, sort through the hoard. We threw away tons of crap. I’m sure it was literally tons. Does anyone have a use for old encyclopedias? 7 sets of them?
I also took charge of distributing textbooks to the entire school since they’d been dumped in the library and even though the teachers were clamoring for their books, no one was getting it done. The books were haphazardly packed so I’d open a box to find ten 5th grade science books and four 4th grade literature books and 2 health workbooks so sorting became quite the project.
By the second day I got smart and recruited some big kids to help me but even so I went home everyday with my knees and feet aching and it seemed like we couldn’t make much of a dent in the mounds of crap that were there. Also, every time a kid would come back to me they would say that they couldn’t take that whole stack to Mrs. S because Mrs. P had waylaid them in the hall and said they needed 6 more of that book and took them from the kid. It became impossible to keep track of who had what and I felt like I had dozens of teachers coming at me saying there were so many short of this book or where was that book. The library is a thoroughfare from the office so the principal, assistant principal or special education teachers would come through and say they’d come back to help but no one ever did.
By Friday, I was tired, crabby and in pain and when the principal said she’d come help me I started screaming, “Liar! No one ever comes back to help!” with humor of course. She did come back in time to help with the last three boxes. Uhh gee thanks… I will say that she did talk to some teachers about not giving me any flack and if they were missing anything share amongst their teammates or check the storeroom.
This second week has been more unpacking and organizing in the library and also the air conditioning broke. Our old school didn’t have A/C so we were quite excited about having it when we moved here. It was such a let down especially since there are no windows in this new building. So in spite of sweaty Swampbutt this week, I can now see a difference in the library and if the middle school custodians would only come get their eighteen boxes of trophies and random crap I think we’d really see that it’s actually going to be a library.
Friday I got pulled to sub in a first grade classroom. I’d forgotten what fun actually teaching could be. The class was very good and some of the kids cracked me up. I love the way first graders are so grown up and yet still babies. I’d forgotten how you have to constantly “tap dance” to keep their attention but still ended the day feeling better than if I’d continued work in the library.
In fact, Friday was the first day I came home and didn’t feel like I had to lay down for a little while. I’m telling you I don’t get paid enough to be working in an unair-conditioned school as mover, unpacker, organizer, substitute teacher, bus monitor, box lifter, book sorter and book distributor. I’m going to put my foot down if they ask me to cook lunch. I’m hoping to finally be able to do some reading teacher stuff next week. ‘Bout damm time!