Summer has taken its toll on our chemical storage room. Renovation in rooms throughout the school has unexplainably resulted in an influx of plastic bins filled with countless items including such things as goggles small enough for 1st graders, sand timers, craft paper, and boarders for bulletin boards. Bins and boxes clutter the floor and fill the countertops. It’s overwhelming, as we need the space for lab preparations and possibly student lab work. Unfortunately, our days are booked beyond comprehension. Fortunately, there is a part-time lab assistant who does wonders for us. Thankfully, he begins to tackle the disorder.
We’re standing amidst the chaos. He points to a box, “Shall I just chuck it?” clearly confident we’ll respond affirmatively.
Our eyes scan the rolls of periodic tables, science posters, and maps. There are now six different science teachers and a health teacher that might find something useful in that box. We each use items periodically from the box.
My colleague quickly responds, “No, definitely not. It may look like it’s not used but that’s because we put it back once we’re done using it”.
He’s somewhat exasperated but accepts the verdict, allowing his eyes to wander to other potentially “unuseful” items that can be tossed to clear away some space for lab work. My colleague and I meander back into my room to rummage around in the storage room.
After a few minutes he leans into my room and queries, “Do we really need two skeletons?”
My thoughts race: biology, integrated science, health, and elementary classes all use the skeletons. About once a year both are being utilized simultaneously. They’re expensive. What if the school grows? What if we remove one and regret it? They don’t take up that much room. Better safe then sorry.
Despite not having spoken a word between us, my colleague and I respond in unison, “Yes, we need them”. Irrational? Perhaps.
He looks at us in disbelief and barely suppresses an eye-roll. We don’t hear a word from him the rest of the day.
The room is becoming more orderly, even usable. After entering the room recently, this is what I saw:
It’s a test, isn’t it? If the apron and/or lab coat remain the entire year then he knows we don’t really need two skeletons. Or maybe he was annoyed. Or maybe he’s drying the apron and coat after a washing. Or maybe he’s just being funny.
In any case, it made me laugh. I’m leaving it ‘cause it makes me smile every time I walk through there.