Last Tuesday, I stopped by our school to see how things were going with revamping the modular classrooms for this fall. Last spring we’d been asked to check the space and create a list of items that needed to be repaired, added, removed, etc. It was a fairly extensive list, ranging from minor items to must-haves to wishful thinking. We left for the summer knowing materials (cubbies with storage, book shelves, etc.) had been ordered and should be installed over the summer.
Unfortunately,I found out Tuesday, the long and short of it is that no one really remembered the list (you know–summer break, retiring secretary, travel, oh and that pandemic thing). So, no one had followed up on this spring’s order. ..until this past Monday when they called the furniture company to be told, “Oh. Um. That order. Hold on a sec…….um… Yeah. That order. So. Um. That order is um…Oh, yeah! It’s shipping on Wednesday.”
After getting that news, I walked out to see the classroom to check things out. As noted, there are no cubbies. There is no classroom shelving of any kind, and no in-class storage. There is a closet though with plenty of shelves, and there are student desks. The path to the building has been paved and there’s a newly paved learning area outside the backdoor. All bright spots in a panicky sea of “OMG, how am I going to be ready for school on time!?”
I left, hoping for the best, and returned on Friday with a very simple plan. I headed out to my new classroom knowing that I wouldn’t be able to do too much.
I’ll just get my head in the space and get my desk organized. That will be a good start!
As I expected, nothing had changed in the intervening days. Chairs were stacked. Desks were double stacked in the corner. There was a left-over computer monitor on one table and some large mysterious objects that clearly were waiting to be mounted…somewhere.
Ok. Focus. You knew you couldn’t do much. Remember, your goal is just to get your desk organized. Just that one thing. So…Deep breath. Desk.
I looked around.
Where’s my desk?
I looked around again.
Ok. There has to be a desk here somewhere.
I slowly turned, scanning the room.
OMG! Where’s my desk? Where’s my desk? Where’s my desk?
I looked up, down, all over. To be honest, there weren’t many places to look, but I kept trying. Finally, I had to face facts.
There is no desk here.
I took a deep breath and then another. Then I went in search of our fabulous custodian, Nicole. I knew they’d been down one person all summer and were working all out to get the school ready. I tried to keep that in mind. Then I begged a little. Or maybe a lot.
“If you get a chance…”
“As soon as possible…”
“You’d be saving my life…”
Nicole assured me she’d do her best, and I walked back into my classroom, thinking hard.
Ok. So, you can’t organize your desk. But, hey! Look! There’s a file cabinet. You can get your files organized.
So, I pushed aside a big box labeled something along the lines of “Last box. Mish Mash. You’re going to regret this next fall!” and opened up a few smaller boxes labeled “Files.” I placed file by file into the top drawer, slowly regaining my equilibrium.
See. It’s all good. This has to happen, too. You’ll get a desk in the next day or so. (read this in the sing-song tone of a parent talking down a child who is on the brink of losing her s!%t!)
Then, I reached to open the bottom drawer. I pulled. Nothing happened. I pulled again. It didn’t budge.
I looked closer.
Running out of the bottom drawer of the file cabinet were two thick electrical cords. They were wedged in the closed drawer and try though I might, I couldn’t get the drawer open.
What was in there, anyway!?
I pushed. I pulled. I maybe swore a little.
None of that worked.
Clearly I wasn’t going to be able to use this file cabinet.
So, I e-mailed Nicole.
After sending the e-mail, I took another deep breath. I looked around the room.
I opened a few boxes and moved them closer to possible future destinations.
Should I just leave and come back next week? Is there any point in being here? Maybe I could get the new schedule printed out…”
Rattle. Rattle. Rattle.
My head popped up.
The door slowly opened.
Nicole, haloed by backlight, entered the room pushing a large dolly…
And there, strapped down on the dolly, like an answer to a prayer, was an upended teacher desk!
(I may have hummed the “Hallelujah Chorus!” under my breath.)
“Oh, my Gosh! A desk! You are the best! Thank you, Nicole! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
I rushed over to help and together we manhandled the desk into the spot I desired. Nicole strapped up the dolly and got ready to leave.
“OMG, Nicole!” I gushed! “Thank you so much! You know what this is like?” The words spilled out of me in a rush. “It’s like when you’re moving to a new house and there are boxes everywhere and everything is in turmoil, but you get your bed put together and made and you know that no matter what, you’re going to be able to go to bed that night. So, everything will be ok. And that’s just how I feel right now. Just like that! ” I ran my hands along the top of the desk, practically dancing around it. “Oh!Thank you soooooo much!”
Nicole laughed and maybe stepped cautiously just a little bit farther away. But I didn’t notice for sure. Because I was already sitting down, pulling boxes closer, and getting ready to get my desk in order.
Everything is going to be all right. Just get your desk organized. Just that one thing.