Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Dust Clears
Morale is at an all-time low at Shitty High. Two more mini-schools have been moved in, forcing massive relocations of all Shitty departments and requiring extensive construction work over the summer, work that is, of course, not quite done yet. The scaffolding is down, though, and the building façade has a fresh coat of paint, as do many of the new classrooms, which look great.

Too bad we don’t get to use them. We’re down in the basement, right by the supermarket, and on the same hall where I saw my student brain somebody with a padlock. Home sweet home.

Down there, amongst the peeling, tagged-up paint of the tiny classrooms with eight-foot ceilings and exposed piping and ductwork, the true nature of Shitty’s renovations is revealed; lipstick on a dieing pig. The stench of the pig’s rotting corpse is palpable on the breezes that waft through this forgotten corner of the basement’s too-small windows. Wait, no, that’s just the dumpster, right there outside the classrooms, surrounded by piles of broken desks, blocking out the sunlight, and reeking of fish.

We finally got our schedules and room assignments sometime yesterday afternoon--less than 24 hours before the first kids were to arrive, and after an interminable and hoaky speech from Principal Popeil about his immigrant, illiterate coal-mining grand-parents and his heartfelt love of education (no-one clapped, not even a 'Nolia clap)--so yesterday was spent scavenging these parking lot refuse piles for salvageable tables and file-cabinets. I made some pretty choice furniture scores, and even found a stash of about thirty brand-new graphing calculators which should be making their way onto Ebay any day now.

We don’t have a book room anymore, instead our books are packed up in cardboard boxes, forty pounds each, packed six deep and twelve high in a couple of out-of-the-way stairwells. I spent an hour or so yesterday grunting and sweating and tossing those boxes around, taking down one stack and re-stacking it somewhere else, ostensibly looking for the books I’ll be using, but really just getting out some frustration and making as much noise as possible, especially when Principal Popeil strolled by.

He didn’t look my way.

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