Wednesday, September 24, 2008

some people

I am out of sorts a bit this week for only one good reason and lots of little mediocre reasons; I anticipate a dramatic turnaround once I spend quality time with friends & family this weekend.

One of the minor reasons I feel sketchy has to do with an unnecessarily complicated story about the school where I teach. Essentially, we are housed in an old building that we have made the very best of (I once taught a poetry class on the stage in the auditorium and moved tables, chairs, whiteboard and books every afternoon & morning - we are flexible people!) but are told by Those In Charge that we can't stay there much longer.

The original solution from Those In Charge? Move into a handful of portables behind a nearby elementary school. I get that portables are a given at most educational institutions in the nation now because of rising student populations and limited resources - but our entire school? There would be no common area for gathering before & after classes, no hallways where teachers can have more personal interactions with students; there would be muddy shoes six months out of the year and drafty, cramped classrooms.

But we found out recently that after looking over numbers and previous plans for other projects, Those In Charge found a significant amount of money available for us to use for an actual building. Good news! Well. If you're a reasonable, compassionate human being, it is. Apparently there are people on the school board and in the community who are not keen on the idea of constructing a new building for an alternative school. Someone even made a comment suggesting we're not worthy because we have students who commit suicide. Setting aside the fact that this is an extraordinarily crass thing to say, ever, I'm wondering if that individual honestly believes that no other schools have ever faced such tragedy. And does he mean to say such an occurrence precludes us from deserving a suitable teaching facility? Everything about that statement is sheerly asinine, and I can't help but think he spoke for many others in this community.

So. Our staff & students (and families, alumni, kind local businesspeople) are preparing a presentation for the school board and community members in which we must prove ourselves worthy of a building. On the one hand, we're delighted to show off the great work we do but on the flip side, it seems a tad ridiculous to have to explain why we need basic things like ample classroom space and hallways [and document cameras] to run a close-knit, effective school.

Here's to the grouchiness fading by the time I stand up in front of those people.