Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Mine

So much to write, so little time. I could fill a book but this and the other little blog will have to suffice.

We have a chair shortage at Packemin High. Classes with 34 kids often only have 31 chairs. (Thanks Bloomberg--Keep It Going NYC Public Schools). Being resourceful, we scrounge around and borrow chairs from other rooms.

Mr. P is in the room next door. While I am short three chairs, he has at least four empty ones, so I send my students to get chairs.

Today, Crissy came back all upset. "That man won't give me a chair unless I give him my ID card", she said. I couldn't believe my ears and went to check it out for myself.

Sure enough, Mr. P said "I need my chairs. How can I guarantee they will be returned if I don't hold some identification."

I calmly told Mr. P that the chairs would be brought back, no ID needed. He often leaves the room before the period is over and he leaves with the ID card. He said, "Send your kids out a few minutes early." And then, Ms. Calm lost it. "You teach bell to bell but my kids should lose instructional time to return chairs that don't belong to you. That is not going to happen." I took the chairs and left.

The conversation continued again later in the day but by then I realized as I was talking to Mr. P, I was talking to someone with a pea sized brain and just left.

Many years ago I had a similar problem with a teacher who would not give my class chairs. I solved that problem also. I made sure I arrived much earlier than he did and emptied the room before he arrived! He never even knew the chairs were missing.

Gee, I know things are tight but do we really have to get so possessive of chairs?


Bonnie said...

Very sad indeed! Reminds me of last year when we had a pencil shortage at our school — during our state testing week! It could've gotten really ugly, but at least pencils are reasonably manageable for teachers to supply their own. What's next? Teachers lugging their own chairs into school with them? : )

Anonymous said...

Every year when we set up classes, we go from room to room looking for chairs or desks. Some teachers have extras and leave them out. You would think that these would be supplied to us by the administration rather than having to go on a scavenger hunt. I am so glad I have a Masters. What other "profession" requiring 30 credit above a Masters have people searching a building for basic supplies and furnishings.


JUSTICE not "just us" said...

"Keep it Going NYC"

Abstract Randomizer said...

I taught at a school where the new teachers would be given the crappy leftovers from everyone else's room. My first year there meant that I had large desks that were supposed to seat six students (the old art room rejects) and at least ten different styles of chair that would not have passed a safety inspection. I solved the problem by having the students "adopt" a chair, which they were allowed to customize as much as possible, including adding paint jobs and pinstriping and, in one case, a set of wheels (don't worry; they didn't roll).
I had a parent come in for an interview and her first comment was, "Jesus! Now I know what you guys mean by a maintenance deficit!" Her job was as a lawyer downtown and they were required to replace their furniture once every five years. I asked for her leftovers and she thought that was a possibility, but the school board is supposed to okay all materials in the classroom, so we ended up with the same crappy furniture and no upgrades...for the whole time I was there.