Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Watch Where You Step

I've never had a shyness problem, and I'm quick to complain about trailer conditions. I'm now marginally questioning whether or not that's a good idea.

One of the first things I learned as a new English teacher was to never piss off the person who runs the bookroom. In fact, the very first time I selected a book, I had to get a kid to steal it for me, and give him extra credit for helping out.

But the most powerful people in any school building are generally acknowledged to be the custodians, and I've angered them repeatedly with my complaints. Oh, there's a bar hanging off the stairs, and you're worried a student may accidentally kill himself? Or intentionally kill someone else? You don't like it when the soap is covered with a black mold-like substance that no one will touch? You want towels in those bathrooms? You want us to clean the trailer, after 15 years of dirt have accumulated? We'll show you.

And show me they have. Every morning the AC is on full blast, the temp is set to the lowest possible setting, and it's like walking into Antarctica. They've not yet left polar bears, but I'm careful when I open those doors. And though the 15-year-old gum still covers half the floor space, they've thoroughly cleaned my desk. They took all the papers I'd graded and dumped them in the trash, along with absolutely everything else I'd left in the drawers. In fact, they dumped two of the drawers altogether.

You want towels? I got your towels right here, pal. Now I get towels every day, on my desk, along with a fresh roll of TP. I actually placed the towels in the dispenser the first two days (our custodians don't do that kind of stuff), but they dump new piles on the desk even if the old ones are still there.

The lesson? Don't complain. Things are never gonna be the way you want. On the other hand, while it's way over the top, I now have towels, the kids can use the bathroom, and there's plenty of TP to cover it, being as it hasn't been cleaned anytime in my memory. All in all, I don't regret it.

But who knows what comes next.
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