Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day #119

Following a string of 90-degree days the higher-ups at the March decided to turn on the AC in the building. It makes sense, given we're one of the few schools to have this luxury. But because the HVAC system is so old and decrepit in our school, when the heat is on the rooms boil at a consistent 85 degrees, and when the AC is on the rooms freeze in the mid-fifties. There are no regulators anywhere, and there is not a classroom in the building with windows that actually open, so the students and staff swelter and shiver. And once it's on, the AC is on until November. They can't turn it off without bringing in a five-man crew from Central Office. It's like Terry Gilliam's Brazil, with Bob DeNiro in the ducts and pipes.

I wore a very light shirt to work and brought no jacket to school yesterday, and I froze to death along with the kids, who were attempting to climb entirely into their short-sleeved uniform shirts. They looked like turtles with tufts of curly black hair sticking out their colors. Mr. E, the math teacher next door, had on his leather bombadier's coat and a fur hat. He kept teasing me about my thin button-down. I could see his breath.

Teaching and learning continues to be a problem. The kids aren't interested. I can get them to read and answer questions about the reading, but they won't give me a chance to show them new skills. Because we spent so much time this year on reading comprehension and literary analysis skills, they badly need writing and grammar, usage, mechanics work in order to move to 7th grade. The climate in the building (and I'm talking the literal climate, not the metaphorical) is not aiding in this endeavor. 25 kids in a classroom continuously moaning about the cold and complaining and swearing is not conducive to learning. And reminding them to wear a long-sleeve shirt under their uniforms in Spring just doesn't seem right. For once I'd rather be in a school without AC again.

At least the violence seems to have diminished again. We're back to stupid horse-play rather than face-kicking.

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