Sunday, September 13, 2009

Many Hands

If you’ve been reading between the lines here for the past couple weeks, you may have sussed out the fact that there was a lot to do to get our physical facility ready for the new school year.

In a normal year, we set aside two days during which parents are expected to drop by and work with me for a couple of hours, but this year has required an extended period of concern and effort due to our visitor and water damage. And while I’ve tried to keep a positive outlook, the project was looking overwhelming to me when I arrived Friday morning for the first of our two days of set-up. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine how we were going to get it done before Monday.

Gloria was the first to arrive. We brainstormed a latching mechanism for our new gate that would keep kids in while not locking parents out. After a few minutes we came up with what I thought was a fairly straight-forward solution. I gave her the rest of my shopping list and she was off.

Terry was the next to arrive. We had a rambling discussion, the most exciting part to me being a nuts-and-bolts discussion about what it would take to fulfill a dream of mine to equip our classroom with web-cams that would allow parents, grandparents, and other trusted members of the community to check in on their loved ones during their preschool days via the internet. I know, a lot of teachers would freak out at the idea of cameras in the classroom, but as a co-op teacher I’m so accustomed to working under the watchful eyes of dozens of parents that the idea of a few more observers doesn’t bother me in the least. In fact, my favorite days are the ones when we have beloved adults from distant cities visit us in the classroom, so the idea that grandparents separated from their own children by geography would have this kind of daily window into their grandkids’ lives appeals to me. Not to mention the moms and dads who can take a peek at junior from their office computers. Terry said he was going to experiment at home and let me know what he learns.

Karolyn and I had an interesting conversation that ranged from ADD/ADHD and other diagnoses, to remembering families and children from prior years, to our own kids.

Sybrina, a former parent whose only child is now in 3rd grade, dropped by with a tub of small vehicles she had taken home to clean three years ago and forgotten to return. She gave me a fun report on Misa as well as several other kids from that “graduating” class.

Karl and I talked real estate and home improvements among other things, two topics that have been very much on the front of my mind this summer.

Last year I’d spent some of our extra cash on a cool new piece of playground equipment that had become a great disappointment when one of the parts had turned up missing and we’d been unable to get satisfaction from the manufacturer before they went out of business. Katherine figured out how to make that cool piece of playground equipment functional using only the tools and parts at hand!

Jaimee, our chair, came near the end of the day, directly from a long morning at the college where she’d attended the board member Leadership Workshop. She passed on the details of our water damage situation and held down the fort as I had to absent myself to pick up my daughter Josephine from school.

Oh yeah, and in between all of this we got the work done. In fact, we made so much progress on what had previously looked to me like a monumental undertaking that our Saturday crew had finished the job by shortly after lunchtime, leaving me alone in the classroom for the rest of the day to set things up for the children who will arrive on Monday.

The job wasn’t too big after all. Many hands make light work. I love this place.

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Unknown said...

I loved this post Tom! What seemed like a nearly impossible situation turned out wonderfully : ) I think that your perspective on Grandparents and loved ones from far away sharing in their grandkids day is a wonderful one. I am so glad to have met you : ) via the internet. What a blessing! Hope your week is wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I would love to see before and after shots. I've never asked parents to help me with the cleaning of my classroom, and it is a very daunting, never-ending task. What a great sense of community the elbow grease must earn these parents :)