Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Second Guessing the Expert

I am a professional educator. I've been trained, spent thousands of dollars on classes and given up multiple weekends and evenings, not to mention parting with personal funds for the classroom, all for the students. I had to revoke lab priviledges recently and use book work as a consequence for bad behavior. I was bored, the students were bored. Science classrooms should be dynamic, fun and challenging. Accomodating 30 students in science is very difficult and presence many potential hazards.

Part of classroom management is room configuration. This past Spring, I knew I'd be getting larger classes and I also knew, after 2 years in this room, that the table design in my room just doesn't work. The tables are about 3.5 feet wide and 15 feet long. They are nailed to the floor and have electrical outlets and sinks built in. The outlets and sinks sound great. However, the outlets are rarely used and can be a hazard for students wanting to stick things in them. And the sinks? Well, the sinks were convenient trash recepticles and betel nut spitoons.

I had the sinks covered in plywood and then I painted them with enamel paint. The problem is, the tables aren't conducive to small group learning and I can't move them. They are perfectly centered in the room, which leaves a lot of wasted space and they are falling apart. The metal trim is coming loose from students removing the screws. Yesterday, a student ripped his pants as he brushed up against the corner of the table.

Last June, I put in a request to cut my tables into thirds, add new legs, remove the metal trim, the sinks, outlets etc. I wanted tables on castors that I could move in the room to accomodate 30 students. I wanted tables where I could sit 4-5 students instead of 12.

But Capital Improvements said no. They said they spent several thousand dollars, umpteen years ago, building the room and couldn't justify taking it apart.

I guess if mom calls about wanting money for her son's pants, I'll refer her to Capital Improvements. I was even willing to pay for the lumber.

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