Monday, March 03, 2014

When Minor Annoyances Become Major

There's a major difficulty in my family right now, one that makes all the molehills seem like mountains.

My school district trusts me with up to 36 teenagers at a time.  It puts me in a room with them, with very little supervision, and trusts that I will teach them what I'm supposed to.  It also trusts that I won't physically harm them or allow them to come to physical harm.  That's a big responsibility.

They also trust me with a 70" tv and thousands of dollars of computers, calculators, and other electronic equipment.

On the other hand, in order to save a nickel, my school district doesn't trust me to turn off the lights when I'm not in the room.  They spent beaucoup dinero to install motion sensors; if the sensor doesn't detect movement after 5 or 10 minutes the lights will shut off automatically.  The district also doesn't trust me with the thermostat settings, either, controlling the temperature in my classroom from the district office.

When I stay after school to take my tests for my master's program, every few minutes I have to get up and walk to the other side of the room to trigger the sensor (I'm most comfortable sitting at my desk).  Today I was grading reports after school, and all of a sudden the lights went off and the room was dark (I keep the curtains closed so outsiders can't see that beautiful 70" tv I have in there).   The room went dark and my entire train of thought was interrupted.  Get up, walk over to the door (where the sensor is), let it sense my movement, and buy myself another few minutes of concentration.  Sometimes my students will be taking a test, staying in their seats calculating, doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing, and bam!--off go the lights.  It's unnecessarily distracting.

I've written before about the "power nazi".  Our district has hired someone to inspect classrooms, especially during long breaks, to ensure that everything electric has been turned off--and that includes the power strip into which I plug my computer and all other electronics.  During Ski Week, when I was on my cruise, my room was inspected and found to be compliant with policy.  My name was entered into a raffle and I won a couple dozen dollars' worth of Starbucks paraphernalia.  Another teacher at my school won a gift certificate for a massage.

Let's recap.  I'm entrusted with the education of teenagers but not trusted to turn off my lights when I leave the room.  The district spent money on motion sensors and currently spends money on the "power nazi" to inspect--and all those raffle prizes (I think there were 6 at my school alone) aren't free.

As I said, my family is suffering and while I'm trying to focus and get some work done today--the ****ing lights go off.  It's enough to make me yell an obscenity as I walk across the room.

Normally I just deal with it.  Today I don't want to, I'm not able to, I've got bigger things to deal with.  Show me the slightest respect--and leave my freakin' lights on when I'm in the room.  Is that so much to ask?


Anonymous said...

When I worked at a school like that, we would but a cheap rotating fan, tie streamers to it, and set it up near the motion sensor.

It also served to cool the room on hot days.

Anonymous said...

My father worked at Lockheed as a test engineer for satellites. As he advanced in his career, he was eventually responsible for the care-and-feeding of $100M+ satellites. Lockheed trusted him to do this.

To spend $25 on a piece of equipment he needed, however, required managerial approval ...

He (and I) didn't understand this lack of consistency. And I still don't ...

-Mark Roulo

KauaiMark said...

"...district also doesn't trust me with the thermostat settings"

THAT brought back memories. Way back when, I had to work a class with the damn thing stuck the middle of a heat wave!

Mike Thiac said...

One of my pet peeves is going to a rest room and the wash water is either set to a barley warm or the "hot" water spigot has no hot water. Annoying as hell.

Dan Edwards said...

Our district has temp. control based over 100 miles away in a different climatic/biological zone..... Hot water in the We have always had cold water to wash hands in.

IMO, good idea about the fan.

Dan Edwards said...

Our district has temp. control based over 100 miles away in a different climatic/biological zone..... Hot water in the We have always had cold water to wash hands in.

IMO, good idea about the fan.

Ellen K said...

I am fully of the opinion that the thermostat in my classroom is attached to nothing. There have been days when thanks to the idiots who signed off on single paned windows for a below street level room-that you can feel the cold radiating into the classroom. When I contacted the AP in charge, I got back a snippy email telling me to file a form with the front office. We don't have vents in our 90's style clerestory hallways, but somehow every time a band event it scheduled, even on weekends, the AC or heat is on as appropriate. Why is it easier to heat or cool the entire school hallway system than my single room? BTW, the room next door we call The Meat Locker because once the A/C cranks up in spring-the temperature can drop as low as 60 before it shuts off. You would think the district would be interested in saving money by not heating or cooling empty classrooms.