Monday, April 11, 2005

I could spend all day enumerating the myriad indignities I suffer every day due to lack of space, lack of funds, administrative buffoonery, and kids… Who. Just. Won’t. Shut. Up. I could tell you how I spent an hour today - when I should have been correcting and responding to the truly frightening Horror stories I solicited from my kids - running off and collating copies of a short story because we don’t have enough books. I could describe in lurid detail the sounds of toilets flushing and pipes gushing that permeate one of my basement rooms, located, presumably, beneath a sewage treatment plant. I could try to convey the absolute insanity that jumped off today when some assholes bullied a nerd into trying to urinate in my classroom. But that would depress us all, and I try my best to spread sunshine around here (can’t you tell?) so today we will focus on one specific beef, one small wish that if fulfilled would my make my job infinitely more effective.

I want my own classroom.

I’m sick of running form one far-off corner of the basement, through the filthy, crowded, insanely loud students’ cafeteria, up three flights of crowded stairs, and through another crowded hallway (often while trying not to spill my coffee) to get from one class to the next between the bells, and with enough time to spare to scribble the “Aim” and “Do Now” on the board whilst somehow ushering the less-than-eager students into the room.

I’m sick of being harassed over the state of my non-existent, out of date, or not appropriately perky, bulletin-boards in rooms I share with five or six other teachers. Rooms that are never empty (or clean) during the day, leaving no time during the day to perform this perfunctory decoration without disturbing someone’s class.

I’m sick of walking into classrooms to discover the desks in complete disarray, to step into the stench of garbage and the sticky mess of a giant Kool Aid spill, to find obscenities scrawled on the board and the various surfaces covered in chalk-dust, or worse, ink.

I want my own classroom.

I want somewhere halfway convenient to keep my coat, somewhere quiet to get some work done during my free periods. I want a bookshelf, equal parts great literature, comic books, glossy magazines, and trashy “Urban Fiction.” I want to be able to use my CD player without carrying it around with me everywhere I go all day long. I want to hang up posters; Woody Guthrie, the Clash, Goodie Mob, Tego, Futura, Banksy. I want a whole wall devoted to student art/graffiti (keep that shit off the desks, yo.) I want some fucking houseplants. Hell, I might even hook up some mood lighting.

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