This afternoon the students scatter at 15:05. No tutoring. No afterschool activities. Silence. I glance down the abandoned hallway but slip back into my classroom and survey the scene. Where to begin?
The Living Organisms
The fish tanks are first. I siphon while cleaning the gravel (Thanks to a super-convenient hand-held device I found at the pet store in the fall), clear away algae, and deposit the vacation food. “Mr. T” the turtle also receives a tank and gravel cleaning. However, he finds himself in a plastic bowel in his emptied aquarium, prepared for travel to my house. Finally, I make a round with the plastic pitcher to douse the plants.
Floors or Table Tops?
A gloriously simple decision faces me: do I want my floors cleaned or the tabletops wiped? Images of all those hands contacting the apical surface of the tables flash through my mind and visions of festering germs flourish, however, I opt for the floors. The dispersed pencil shavings definitely influence that decision.
The Lab Area
Next I tackle the lab area. Oh my. First to be sorted are the chemicals from a plant lab and the mealworms from the energy transfer lab. I work my way through stranded beakers, heat protective gloves, test-tubes, pipettes, stirring rods, grease pencils, wire shields, and an assortment of other little “left-overs” from labs completed during the last few weeks. My favorite is the pile of tape that had clearly at one time been a set of labels for an experiment but was now stuck to the counter top. The final step is to take down some old, frayed posters that students had completed months ago. It is time for newer work to be displayed.
It’s approaching 16:15 and the lab is nearly ready for the 10-day Spring Break. Lastly, to ensure that my fish and the plant experiment survive the holiday, I place a “do not unplug” sign on the necessary outlets. My mind feels cleansed to have everything sorted. It’s relaxing, even comforting. I know it will feel great to enter the room again in 10 days.
I gather my pile of things, including “Mr. T” and make my journey to the front of the school. Admittedly, I’m tired. Really tired. Knowing that I will still be engaging in lesson planning, some grading, researching, work-related reading and activities doesn’t thwart the profound anticipation I feel for the Spring Break.
As I descend the stairs I hear music and laughter. Our facility managing team has graciously thrown a little “Easter Party” for teachers and staff at the school. How wonderful it is to take a moment and relax a bit and enjoy some refreshment with my colleagues. Absolutely, it is a perfect way to end the week and begin a holiday.
As I depart, I reflect on the great people I work with and the wonderful students I teach and I know that, indeed, it will be fabulous to see them all again in ten days.
This weekend celebrate the positives in your life!