Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ten Little Mysteries at My School

1. Ice. We have a refrigerator in the faculty lounge with an ice maker in the freezer. It is not the most powerful ice maker in the world, which is fine. But every morning, one coworker arrives and steals all the ice, all the hard-earned ice that the ice maker has been working on all night. Every morning she does this. Then, at lunch, she comes back to the lounge. And she does it again. I don’t use a lot of ice at work--I can’t, because she steals it all--but I’m just curious about this. Is there no ice at her home? Does she live so far away that all her homemade ice is melted? Ice is free if you make it at home with ice trays. You could probably make your own ice trays, too, improvise somehow. It’s just a mystery to me.

2. The faculty restroom. For some reason, the building I work in, although relatively young compared to previous workplaces and the house I live in, has mysterious plumbing issues. This is most apparent in the faculty restroom. The sink runs, a steady stream, and does not turn off. And the toilet does not flush. Well, it does. After four flushes. So every time you go into the restroom, anyone in the conference room next door thinks you must have experienced some incredible intestinal disaster. Every time. 

3. The One Note Printer. For some reason, my computer loves the One Note Printer. I don’t know what the One Note Printer is or where it is located. But every time I start to print things, my computer eagerly offers to send it there. I want it to go to the copier in the the faculty work room. I have told my computer that the One Note Printer isn’t for me. I have talked to our IT person about it. She has fixed it a couple of times. I have stopped asking because my computer fixes it back for her. It wouldn’t want me to miss out on using the One Note Printer! 

4. Paper. Paper is a commodity in a school. We are no longer in the era of slates and chalk, although I have used them in classrooms in the past. I have. Here, we have unlimited copies. There is no code for the copier. There is no accountability. And twinned with this is a miserly approach towards paper. We simply get told we use too much. But...wouldn’t it make more sense to track who uses it? Or maybe nah.

5. Lockers. My kids have lockers. This is awesome because their desks are on the small side and I hate cloakroom hooks and the messiness of sweatshirts on the floor and so forth. But my lockers are about 5 inches wide. Two of them next to each other, and above a pair, two “top lockers” that will fit some books. Five inches wide. Twenty six lockers in a row. Most of my kids carry huge backpacks. Sometimes they bring stuff for soccer or sleepovers. All of that gets stored on the floor. There really isn’t a solution for this. It’s just a mystery.

6. Kleenex. My homeroom kids are given a supply list over the summer that includes two boxes of kleenex. Right now I have over 50 boxes of kleenex above my lockers. I have 22 homeroom students and the year is well underway. I will never run out of kleenex. I pulled out a box of it the other day with a name written on sharpie, the last name of a student who graduated last year. I want to tell parents not to bother next year...but that will be the year I run out. Do I risk it?

7. The Pen Bin. In the faculty workroom, there are shevles with VHS tapes and boxes of paperclips and binder machine parts and on and on. There is also a bin the size of a shoebox full of pens. Broken pens. Dead pens. Not one of these pens is functional.

8. Chairs. The chairs in my room are navy blue. Standard chair has one square hole in the back of the molded plastic. But a large majority of my chairs have two smaller holes in the back of the molded plastic and seem to be a slightly nicer chair. To make matters worse, I have one light blue chair and one yellow chair, each with three slits in the back of the molded plastic. They don’t like to stack with chairs that don’t match. We are supposed to stack our chairs at the end of each day. I walk through the halls and everyone else’s chairs appear to match exactly.  I wonder many things: why do we have different colors and different shapes? Why don’t I have a matched set? Why am I the only one? 

9. Our Lady of Fatima. I teach at a Catholic school. So there’s a crucifix in every classroom. I also have a picture of Mary that my grandmother gave me. And a poster from my monastery. All of this is fine. The weird thing is that every classroom has a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, encased in a plastic box. We aren’t Our Lady of Fatima School. Why not Perpetual Help? Sorrows? Lourdes? Grace? There are so many Marys. I don’t have anything against Fatima. But...were they on sale at a Catholic Outlet somewhere? Was she a special devotion of a former principal? It’s a mystery. Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for Us.

10. Coffee. I’ve talked about this before. Coffee is provided by the school. But the janitor is in charge of the pots and sometimes takes them away if he thinks we’ve been bad. If we aren’t standard coffee drinkers, we shouldn’t take coffee  And we certainly shouldn’t use any of the creamer in the fridge that I’m not using anyway because it has soybean oil in it. And the coffee is pretty carefully measured out. So if you drink any, it messes it up for the other coffee drinkers. Even though it’s free and provided by the school. And we all know how to make a second pot. My new partner decided we were going to fix this ourselves. We are going to bring in a pour over or a french press (she has such things) and I’m going to bring in my electric kettle. And we will have our own coffee. Our own good coffee. With real milk instead of soybean creamer. As much as we want.

Of course, at any school or workplace there are weird things.And hard coworkers. And bewildering rules. These are just my benign mysteries...


  1. Love this! And the chair mystery sounds like our parish hall. Different cut outs in the back. If the cut outs don't match, the chairs don't stack.