Saturday, May 12, 2007

Another Thing They Don't Teach in Ed. School

Yesterday the student teacher who works in the trailer adjacent to mine approached me between classes.

"Is it cold in your trailer?" he asked. It wasn't.

"Ours is freezing," he said.

I decided to investigate. I went in and looked at his trailer's thermostat. It was covered with a thick plastic shell. Only the custodial staff had the key.

Now when New York City builds trailers, it covers all the thermostats. This is because students and teachers are patently incapable of determining whether they are cold, hot, or any degree between the two. Only custodians can make those determinations.

One April, a few years back, it became unseasonably hot. I complained, but was told it was heating season. AC season did not officially begin until May 15th, and there was simply nothing that could be done. As luck would have it, the plastic cover over my trailer's thermostat mysteriously disappeared by the next class, and to the consternation of the custodial staff, we had free access to heat, AC, or whatever our selfish little hearts desired.

When they work, I mean.

Now it's been a testy few weeks between the custodians and trailer teachers. We complained there was no soap in the trailer bathrooms, and suddenly there was no soap in the faculty bathrooms either. Now, this poor student teacher, who looks all of twelve years old, was suffering the consequences of our imprudent insolence.

I examined the thermostat carefully, and noticed some small holes on top of the cover.

"Has anyone got a bobby pin?" I inquired.

A young woman obligingly pulled one out of her hair. I advised her I couldn't return it, she nodded, and I managed to manipulate the thermostat from 50 to 70.

"Remember," I told him, handing him the newly minted tool,"this job is largely about problem solving. You can't count on anyone to help you with anything. Anytime you work out a problem yourself, you're way ahead of the game."

I wonder if I could buy bags of liquid soap and squeeze them into those dispensers. Maybe they sell them at Staples.
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