I had to stop by school today to see if one of my textbooks had come in. Considering we have three weeks from today until the start of school, I figured I probably needed to start going through the new book to figure out what I’d be teaching. I decided on the book because I’d glanced through it at a workshop and have great respect for the author, however, I have no idea how I’m going to use it with my students.
Our school has been under construction for the past year. Aside from some terrible tar fumes, a temperature gage that stopped working (thanks in part to the hole made in my room by the workers) and banging that was so loud I had to stop discussions, I wasn’t too bothered by the construction. At the time it seemed like a lot. It made teaching hard, but not nearly as hard as it was for the teachers who had no classrooms and had to travel around with all their materials on small carts.
I knew that this summer things were going to get kicked into high gear. Construction was scheduled to go into a sort of hyper drive. I had no idea, however, that three weeks before the start of school, the school would barely be recognizable. My classroom, if you can call it that, is a nightmare. Once I had two windows. Now I have one, the other has been bricked up, which looks really odd since my walls are white, off-white, concrete gray and an odd sort of tan from where the chalkboards were ripped off the wall. That’s right, no chalkboards of any kind. I also have no door. I have what appears to be a door frame shored up with some wood. It is surrounded by blank space where I’m assuming wall or windows will eventually be put in to fill it up.
Our desks are all stacked in the hallway, covered in a layer of dust that is about an inch thick. Most of our mini-fridges are stacked by the desks in the hallway, with the same layer of dust on them. I have no idea where any of our actual books or teaching materials are, much less any of my classroom decor. Not that it matters as I don’t think there is anyway in the world the walls can get painted, white boards get added, cabinets and desks get put in, or the carpet get installed before school starts. Heck, I think I’ll be lucky if I have a door and some sort of filler to connect it to the rest of the building.
And my room isn’t the only one. About half of the building is in a similar (or worse predicament). I don’t think we have locker rooms for our gym classes. I think there might only be one working student bathroom. Hallways are packed with various boxes, desks and classroom equipment, all ful of dust. Lights are hanging exposed from the ceilings. Some rooms have no lights (and no longer have any windows). What used to be classrooms are now just big empty spaces filled with bricks, dust and misc. construction odds and ends.
The janitors are trying desperately to get things ready for the start of school, but I have a feeling they are also at a loss as to what to do. Our book room is full of nothing but boxes. Not that it would do much good to open them as there aren’t rooms to put the books in.
Now, I know I have a penchant for exaggeration, but I do not embelish at all here. It looks like a bomb went off in the school and there are only three weeks left to make it semi-inhabitable. I’ve also heard a rumor that we might not have air-conditioning at the start of school (which makes sense as we have big gaping holes where windows are supposed to be and former exits that don’t have doors but just lead outside now) and that there is going to be a real crack down on paper usage–1 box per teacher each semester. This might be fine for me since I only made 1 set of copies all 2nd semester, but without a classroom, I am also without computers, which means I’m going to have to take everything I had on computers and make paper copies.
One of my co-workers pondered whether or not school might have to be delayed. I won’t lie, I wouldn’t mind the extra time to get ready (all my travels have put me way behind), but the thought of going to school until mid to late June without possibility of any real improvement in the building, is also daunting.
I’m just going to pretend the mess isn’t there and hope that maybe, just maybe, I’ll have something that resembles a classroom in three weeks. I’m not getting my hopes up though.