On Wednesdays, I go to the elementary school.
Because I am there every Wednesday, I know that the cutting board with the best blade is missing a wood chip that makes the alignment grid slightly skewed. I know that there’s never enough paper. I know the one person who can sometimes convince the color copier, that is perpetually out of supplies, to do one last print job. I know what it’s like to have paper cuts on most of your fingers. I know how miserably hot the laminator makes a room. I know that no matter how late after school I leave the copy room, there are still people in there preparing supplies for the next day.
I know that students don’t spend their library time calmly perusing books, but have a class on libraries/literature/research before they rapidly snatch a book off the shelves. I know that a large number of the books have been repeatedly patched with clear tape. I know that the students get excited about bookmarks. I know that the weather effects student moods. I know that there are a lot of croupy sounding children at the school. I know that there are too many students who didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. I know that some students really need a hug.
I know that the playground is flooded right now and there is a child’s jacket soaking up a mud puddle.
I know that the people in the front office can locate anyone, at any time, anywhere in the building. I know that there are staff members who eat standing up, eat between meetings and take home the lunches that they never found the time to eat. I know that at some point this school year, I have heard every teacher or aide talk about being tired.
I know that nothing I do will ever be enough to lighten their load so that more time can be spent teaching.