A Day In the Life, Gripes

So what you’re saying, is that I’m less important than a sink?

A quick back story for you… Over the summer I lost my classroom because our school population grew. The principal very well could have tossed me a cart and said, “Have at it,” but instead she had a classroom built for me in the “pod”. If you don’t know what a pod is, take a look at this illustration of a “typical pod”. The pods in our school are quite similar, minus the outdoor classroom, and with sinks and counters in the center and tables for students to work at. My octagonal art room was constructed by closing in the common area and building walls between and above the counters. As a result, communal sinks and storage have now become art room sinks and storage. Inconvenient? Yes. The worst thing that could have happened? No. It appears to me that the eight classrooms surrounding me, including the second, sink-less art room, have adjusted. And then this happened a couple of weeks ago…

A Teacher’s Aide (TA) wandered into my classroom to fill her water bottle up at one of the sinks.

TA: You’re not here every day, are you?
ATHG: No, I’m only here Tuesday-Thursday.
TA:  That really is inconvenient. We don’t have access to the sinks or paper towels when you’re not here. Don’t you think you could leave the door unlocked.
ATHG: Well, no, I do have a lot of stuff in here…
TA (looking around): Oh yeah, I guess you do…
ATHG: You could ask for a roll of paper towels for your room…
TA: I really think this was the dumbest idea when they built this room here. They could have asked us first. What do they expect us to do?
ATHG: I can see how it’s inconvenient, but I’m glad they built me a classroom. It’s better than the alternative. I could have been on a cart.
TA: Hmph

(End Scene)

I almost felt bad for this woman. I mean, to think that she has to walk a couple classrooms down to the water fountain or bathrooms when I’m not here. *Gasp* The poor thing. Honestly, I don’t even use the sinks in my room to fill up my water bottle. You wouldn’t either if you smelled the water that came from those faucets. I really liked though how she made no effort to hide the fact that my needs as a teacher were far less important than her need for water and dry hands. Two weeks later and I’m still chuckling over it.

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16 thoughts on “So what you’re saying, is that I’m less important than a sink?

  1. Suzannie says:

    I would love to thank you for saying what most art teachers are afraid to say. I'm blessed to still have an administrator that supports me & my art program. Thankfully you have someone that realized that an art teacher needs a classroom (to be fully efficient). I've been on a cart, but I rarely let that [the cart] change my lessons from year to year. It is sad that others will never think of art as anything more than a time slot to give teachers planning time.

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  2. Oh my. Can you imagine this person's attitude if you HAD been put on a cart and had to take paint, glue, clay, and any other number of messy art supplies into her classroom?? I'm on a cart this year, and I must say that the teachers are, for the most part, very supportive and understanding of my situation and needs. However, there will always be those who just have zero ability to empathize or see beyond their own inconvenience. Glad you are able to laugh about it. 🙂

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Boy am I am right there with you. So happy that you had a room built for you. Makes my corner in the gym (which I have renamed the ARTitorium) pale in comparison. This year has been a rough one for me – thank you for always making me laugh. You and Ellen have gotten me through a lot! 🙂 Jill

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  4. Seriously??? She's not even a REAL teacher… she's a TA. That is just the dumbest comment I've ever heard. I am amazed that you were as calm and collected as you were when responding to her selfish comments. It's great that you have a room that HAS sinks now! I'd just ignore the haters!

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  5. Hi! New reader/subscriber here. I'm so happy to come across your blog, it's so true and funny to see how we all have to put up with stuff like this! I can't believe that person's attitude. It's unfortunate that there are no other sinks or water fountains in your school that she could use. *smirk*

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  6. Suzannie, you are so right. Too many people think we are just a plan time and all we do with kids is finger-paint. Argh! I'm glad to hear you have a supportive principal, I do too! I'm also glad that you, ATHG, have a room! some people are so unaware of others.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Classic moments in teaching art. I am so grateful for your blog. I don't feel so alone. I am glad that you have a room and that you stand up for yourself–awesome.

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  8. John N. says:

    My art room is what was the girl's locker room, complete with showers (storage), toilets (no brushes in the toilets!!), and one tiny window on the emergency exit. But at least Im at the end of the school and not smack dab in the middle. I value expression of all sorts, right down to the excusable out-loud outburst of emotion.

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  9. When passing through childhood, we all need to be involved in ART for a number of reasons
    Art in part is about using materials and tools to create things. Art is in part about how to organize in the processes of creation. Art is an essential element of being human, and being a fully functioning human being.
    I work in a high technological industry where I develop training related to the creation of new technology using tools and materials. Our culture is now facing shortages of new hires who have the skills to use tools and materials to create. This is happening due to the depletion of the fine arts and industrial arts programs in public schools. Art in our schools is just as important as Math, Science and History. This is no kidding around—we are beginning to suffer economically due to the decline of ART programs in public schools. I know what I am talking about as a professional training developer working in industry for over 20 years.

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  10. I feel your pain, sister. I'm in what was a teacher workroom, which also houses the only adult bathroom on the second floor. The county's painter stuck his head in the door today and just shook his head at my miniscule classroom. “Who did YOU tick off?”, he asked.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I teach in 3 buildings, they have taken my art room away in 2 of them. Luckily I was put into a small room for the first school, but in the second building I also teach in the corner of the gym. It sucks!!!

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  12. I very much relate to that story. Art departments are always the source of materials – for the whole school “just go down and ask Mrs blahbah for some – paper, clay, paint etc. I also had a problem with a sink – or lack of it. I had the best art room in the school – the biggest room in the school- that was the good part. But all it had was a tiny little hand basin which was always blocked. The kids had to use the sinks in the toilet block next door- very unhygienic – but also very hard to supervise. My day centred around keeping the sinks free of paint. One day an inspector saw it and burst out laughing. I got my sink at last. But these are now distant memories – I am now a “retired art teacher”.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I am a first year art teacher. I have an old choir (?) room as my room. I have upwards of 30 students per class. I have NO sink in my room. The room is carpeted. I was talked too today about paint on the sinks (tempera) in the restroom where kids clean brushes etc. Some paint has also ended up on the carpet in my room. I feel like getting certified in another subject just to avoid being set up to fail. Art class with no painting, paper mache, clay, water of any sort?…

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