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Thursday, November 29, 2007

A 10% solution

According to our head custodian, the local fire marshal visited our school over Thanksgiving break. And she seemed to be celebrating Festivus rather than Thanksgiving, because her List of Grievances was a mile long.

The list of complaints ranged from the small -- my room was not highlighted on the campus map in my classroom -- to the largely annoying -- the mandate that there can be absolutely nothing 18 inches from the ceiling.

This is going to be tricky, because I like to try and use space effectively. So when I see that there is about 2 feet of space between the top of my cabinets and ceiling, I tend to think that that's a great place to store the 14 FOSS kits that I am required to keep in my room. For anyone unfamiliar with FOSS kits, they are large rectangular storage drawers, which measure approximately 8"X12"X18".

So now I'll have to find someplace else to keep those large, bulky, almost entirely unused items. And because of my bad back, I'll have to ask the custodians to take them down for me. Which means that most likely the kids will be treated to the site of a 6'4" man standing idly by, watching as two petite women climb a ladder to do the dirty work.

So that's very annoying. But there was one other complaint from the fire marshal. This one didn't affect my classroom, thankfully, but even just hearing about it made me wonder exactly how we're supposed to follow it.

She said that no more than 10% of our walls could be covered with paper. Never mind the obvious question of "WTF???!? This is a classroom, you nitwit, there should be paper all over the walls!"

But more pressing, how are we supposed to know when we've reached that 10% mark? It's not like the walls are painted in 10 color-coded zones, and we can see exactly when we've filled up that Green zone.

Like I said, my room wasn't cited for this particular violation, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that I'm sitting right at the 9.9% mark, and therefore I can't put anything else up on my walls. If I'm asked to put another rubric up -- "Sorry, that would put me over 10%."

On a completely unrelated note, I got on to one of my little girls yesterday for wasting Kleenex. I was already annoyed at her for her over-the-top antics of covering her entire face to impress upon me the fact that she really needed a Kleenex. But then when I saw her grab one tissue, touch it to the tip of her nose and then immediately grab another tissue, I told her that she owed me a quarter. "Kleenex cost money, don't you know, so you need to bring a quarter tomorrow for that extra Kleenex you wasted."

When this little girl came into my class at 10:30 this morning and kept holding out a quarter to me, I had completely forgotten about my little tirade. When she finally told me it was for the Kleenex, I said thank you and took it. Later in the day, I told her that she could have the quarter back if she promised to only use one Kleenex at a time, to which she agreed.

I think I'm OK as long as none of her used Kleenex wind up on my classroom walls...


Jenny said...

We go through phases with our fire marshal. Things have been more lenient lately. But I just keep thinking, it's an elementary school, it's a fire trap no matter what we do. So, chill out!

HappyChyck said...

I think I only have 10% that ISN'T covered in paper, and that's the 18-inch space at the top. I'll be taking it down in a few month anyway for the testing season when we can't have anything up that might give hints. I certainly hope my evaluation comes before then so I don't get busted over having no instructional aids or student work up. Oy!

IMC Guy said...

FOSS kits - we got 'em too! You have to love the size of those things.

2 petite female custodians - wtf?

I can't believe the girl brought in the quarter. I'm also surprised you didn't get a phone call about that one. Our kids have to each bring in 2 boxes of Kleenex at the beginning of the year. In October, I had 50 boxes of Kleenex hiding in a closet and by February, it was gone - you gotta love Wisconsin! Then, we just asked parents to send in another box. If they wasted it, it wasn't on my dime.

Anonymous said...

Alex: "The idea for sticky notes came from this frequent occurance.

Mr Teacher: "What is used Kleenex on my classroom walls?"

Anonymous said...

How often does the fire marshall visit your school? Other than getting written up, is there any penalty for violating the 10% rule? If she comes only once or twice during the year, maybe you could just ignore the my school we usually get a heads-up about an upcoming visit, so I take stuff down and then put it back after he has left...If there ever is a fire at our school, I guarantee you the difference between minor damage/a total loss will not be a few pieces of construction paper taped to a wall. (Besides, we have concrete exactly can those ignite anyway?)

Anonymous said...

I work at Mr Teacher's school where the Lead Custodian says: THE TEACHER CAN GET AN $80 FINE.


EHT said...

Oh Mr. Teacher...we have much in common. The Fire Marshall hates me.

I know safety comes first and I don't mean to sound like I don't care, but exactly how many elementary schools have fires per year anyway? I know of none in my area and their pet peeves change direction as often as the wind blows. (Heavy sigh)

Mister Teacher said...

Tnteacher, like AJ said, we were threatened with an $80 fine if the corrections were not made by the time she revisited (which, by the way, is this coming Monday). Hey EHT, maybe if I see her on Monday, I'll ask her for the statistics on how often elem schools catch fire. ;)

Mrs. T said...

The Fire Marshall insists that all classroom doors remain closed- we have the automatically shut kind- on hot days we have to prop them open so as to bring in cool air from the hallways into our otherwise unairconditioned rooms.
Our district is on a big energy saving mission. Safety first, sort of. They turn of the hall lights when the students are gone- but we are still in the building. It's crazy and dark and scary.