Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Inside!

The Monday before Christmas was a teacher workday for me in my large suburban district. I had two options: 1) take an annual leave day and enjoy my day off or 2) go to work and mark some items off my "to do" list. I decided to go to work.

Too bad our school district decided to turn the heat off to all its buildings on the students' last day of school, the Friday before the workday. The half dozen or so of us that ventured to our school building found frigid temperatures. Even though our custodian hit the override to turn the heat back on, the temperature never seemed to make it above 60 degrees.

Am I overreacting when I ask that the heat be turned on -- on one of the coldest days we've had so far this winter -- on a day that I am expected to go to the "office" to work? Am I making too big a deal out of the fact that this just seems like one more of those little things in the list of things where teachers find themselves being treate unprofessionally?

When stumped with such a question, I result to the the "education vs. corporate world" question: what would Bill Gates do? Would Bill Gates expect his employees to work an eight hour day in unacceptable temperatures? I don't think so!

When we talk about teacher working conditions, facilities certainly play a part in what we expect to be appropriate and professional. I don't mind a smaller than usual classroom. I can deal with having no windows, if I have to. I can make do with concrete flooring, even though my feet may ache at the end of the day.

But I've got to have heat!

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