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I can't decide between these two -- the first from Wise Educator and the second from Sara (not me!) -- on working at a school without air conditioning.
... How about teaching in a major US city, a first world country, where you can't drink the water, often have no heat, and often no air conditioning. Mold is everwhere. Rodents and roaches not uncommon, roofs leak, patched floor tiles rarely match, on and on! Somehow we think "our most precious resources" should live in this environment all day every day. This is their childhood!
Posted by: wise educator | May 6, 2009 6:45 PM
In response to another commenter who said a little sweat never hurt anyone:
Absolutely Jen. A little sweat is unlikely to hurt anyone permanently. But is that really the point?
All of my college educated friends have jobs where they have air conditioning and the opportunity to leave the room to pee whenever the mood hits them. They also generally have offices (or cubicles at least) that are cleaned regularly by someone else, furnished by their company not their own pocketbook, and sometimes even a nice selection of hot beverages or a cafeteria that caters to adults. They also do not share their workspace with 20-30 hot, sweaty, grumpy people and their BO.
I know it would be expensive to air condition schools adequately, but having taught in both schools with and without air, it's a no brainer to know that hot, tired kids don't learn. Nor do hot, uncomfortable teachers effectively teach.
When I transferred from a older BCPSS school to a newer building, wonder of wonders, I stopped getting sick so much, I haven't had a single child have an asthma attack in my classroom, and I was able to stop screaming my lesson over the three box fans that I had running the entire month of June.
Don't get me started on the bugs. Posted by: sara | May 7, 2009 6:42 AM
i know this is off topic but does anyone know if this weekend is the voluntary transfer fair for teachers in baltimore city? thanks
May 8, 2009 1:39 PM
Yes, it is Saturday at the Renaissance Harbor Place. I couldn't figure out how to register!! It's probably too late now. Every announcement that went out about the fair was for Principals to register - not teachers. I don't think an official notice went out to teachers. It's like they were trying to *not* let teachers know about it in order to register in advance (which is required, I believe). Very suspicious...
In regards to facilities issues.... last year, about 10 minutes after school one day, I opened my desk drawer and a mouse literally jumped on me! I see mice all the time in my classroom (along with various insects), but this was my first real 'encounter'. Students don't even freak out about these things. Their responce - "Hey, it's Baltimore"
May 8, 2009 2:26 PM
Ventilation, operating windows, personal hygiene and the other concerns raise are all quite legitimate (and the actual issues to be dealt with here btw) but are all also quite immaterial in that they will continue to exist the rest of the year whether there is air conditioning operating or not.
The capital costs to install and the operating costs to maintain air conditioning for a marginal number of use days is just indefensible.
If we suddenly and actually have these multiple thousands available to be spent per classroom... my goodness but there are thousands of other more worthy ways to spend that money.
May 8, 2009 8:57 PM
@Mr. Rational,Actually,doing the AC and other heating/venilation issues would be multiple millions.The issue under discussion(in my mind) was never just the AC but facilities issues in general. Lack of heat was a bigger problem.Let me guess. Jen would have us shiver all winter. We did! The results of venilation issues are research based .and well known. Mold presents major health problems to health impaired children.Excesive heat and cold temperatures do not support student achievement.
In theory, I agree with MrRational that we could use the money for instructional resources but hopefully one day healthy, comfortable school environments with well equiped classrooms will be the norm. We should not have to choose one over another while we spend billions on failed banks, auto companies, and wars.
@Jen-No wonderful teacher I know got into teaching with elevated expectations of fame or wealth.We DO make a difference everyday! So do nurses, doctors, social workers, ministers,business people etc.Being a teacher does NOT mean that you have to be a martyr. Basic needs are not too much to expect. I wonder if you would continue to be insulting if met me, visited my amazing school space, and talked to my incredible students? If you are really related to Baltimore City teachers, try showing some appreciation. Most of us are doing our very best under some very trying circumstances. My last word on this topic!
wise educator |
May 9, 2009 12:45 AM
In our building it was, on one (strike that, on MANY days in a row) cold late fall/early winter day, 120 (yes, we used thermometers to find actual data) degrees in my office and in many of the classrooms and 40 degrees in other classrooms. When I mentioned to another teacher in my school that I was shocked that the kids had not all walked out of the building in protest and that the parents had not stormed 200 E North Ave, he reminded me that,"this is what the kids are used to, this is what they think they deserve." And while it shocked me, I knew that he was right. Kids and families and heck, teachers, all believe that we deserve a crap sandwich. Sometimes we are honored to get less moldy bread or a leaf of wilted lettuce, but always it's crap. When are we all going to finally say enough? Enough of the crap, enough of the moldy bread, enough of sometimes not getting bread at all. When do we say we, as a community, deserve BOTH buildings that have working heating and cooling systems AND money for supplies? When do we storm North Ave and demand that "fair" student funding doesn't just mean that everyone gets the same amount (as in, "Why, that's fair to give every school the same per pupil funding.") but that fair also means that we are being treated with respect (as in, " more than adequate in quality") and dignity? I am sick of listening to politicians and those in power talk about spending priorities as if we cannot envision having what we actually need to have to do the job right. I am not saying that we need to have unlimited funds or that people have not spent what we have gotten unwisely in the past (do you really want to know how many brand new over head projectors we found in locked closets?), but to hear it tell, we cannot possibly spend the money on getting working intercom systems and door knobs that work and a heating system that responds to thermostats and the one-on-one aids that our students need in order to remain in the regular classroom. When will the citizens of this city rise up? If it were 120 degrees in my kids classroom you darn well know I would have been on the phone to Sara and AAA and I would have held my kid out of school and stood outside 200 E North Ave as long as it took to get action. Where is the rage?
And that dear readers is what I am trying to teach my students:-) Watch out!!!
Interesting Observations |
May 10, 2009 5:16 PM
You better believe that I do stand up for one-on-one aides and a FAPE ESY. And while we're at it, extra classroom funding that's tied to the students who are scoring advanced and then getting more money for their schools. And I hope that while I'm fighting for my kids that this has an affect on all kids in my kids' schools and even all kids in BCPSS schools. As much as I'd like to change the whole world, I'm going to focus on our little corner. And maybe that will mean that other parents will say, if those kids get services, why don't mine? And maybe that can lead to the system realizing that it's not OK to provide poor facilities and half-hearted services and pretended that these accomodations are appropriate (the A in FAPE). And that is the reason we didn't bail out of Baltimore City or public education, because maybe we can make it better.
a parent |
May 10, 2009 7:17 PM
And you, my own children, the children of the parents who I know in the city and of course, my students, are why I continue to push to fight the good fight. Thank you for doing what you do.
One little corner at a time:-)
Interesting Observations |
May 11, 2009 6:11 AM
My facilities are reminiscent of the building I went to high school in up in Harford County.
I sat next to closets with tape sealing the doors plastered with asbestos warnings. The heat was rarely effective, with situations like Wise's being the norm and no effective AC.
That building was built in 1950 and is just NOW being replaced. And this was a supposed "well-to-do" district.
There is a mouse that lives in my room now, but my location is relatively pastoral they are field mice, not rats. Beetles and bugs are here, but not on a level that raises any alarm.
All in all, I teach in an old building, but by the city standards it might as well have been built last year. Thus is the problem with urban school districts - space. In more rural areas you just buy up some land and build anew. In urban districts that is not as easy. So we retrofit, and rehab, and renovate. That only holds off the inevitable, buildings DO die and eventually need to be replaced.
James from Hampden |
May 11, 2009 2:27 PM
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