Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hobnobs and Chapsticks

Today I got a little done on a lot of things. Classroom preparation things. Not writing. Let's be real. I gotta dance with the one what pays me. It was a sporadic dance. Too many suitors cutting in, bidding for my attention.

My classroom is a hub. Folks flit in and out with no discernible schedule. It's not due to my sparkling personality and witty repartee. I'm no effervescent cheerleader or sweet-as-pie homecoming queen. But neither am I an ogre, or the quirky kid wearing a trench coat. I am not BFF to all. I do, however, have the ability to two-face my way through conversations with those of whom I am not fond. In other words, nobody's throwing me a surprise birthday party...but I don't need a food taster in the cafeteria.

I am the milquetoastiest milquetoast of any milquetoast who ever milquetoasted. Hobnobbers pop in at all hours of the day. And I hobnob with them. They pretend they are really there to associate with me, and I pretend that I can tolerate them. I'm not above slapping on some Chapstick and smooching a posterior or two. No harm, no foul. That's what makes the world go round. But we both know that it's a hobnob born of necessity.

Yes, the basis of my mediocre popularity is the fact that my tiny portion of public school real estate sits inside the double fire doors. The ones that slam shut automatically when the alarm sounds. I am near the offices, restrooms, cafeteria, and teacher workroom. I am a way station. A place to hang out while waiting for someone more desirable to pass along the route. A place to borrow educational implements forgotten way down at either end of the hall. To take an unplanned sojourn before reapplying one's nose to the grindstone.

Some colleagues see my little workstead as the last outpost before embarkation on the Educational Trail. A place to load up on staples (both literal and figurative) that are in short supply. And they don't want to barter with their grubstake. They have sadly mistaken me for a mission. But I offer neither handouts nor religious tracts. So they take. Steal me blind without even pulling the wool over my eyes. Steal while I am watching.

Tonight at open house, for instance, I lost a desk. But I knew the wily sidewinder who absconded with it. Because he sent a young apprentice to do his dirty work. Don't you worry none about Val's classroom furniture.

I stole it back one minute before go-home time. It's safely locked away in my hub.


  1. Nobody steals from our Val and gets away with it. Nobody!

  2. When I am lucky enough to snag an extra desk (because there will always be a new kid, and then I'll need that extra desk) I am clever enough to put a name tag on it, so it appears to belong to a student.

    Right now I have students named "Mel Torme" and "Marcel Marceau" and "Clara Barton." And my colleagues are none the wiser...

  3. Take inventory hourly (or more frequently when suspicious) and take no prisoners. Load up on chapstick. Hobnobbing is part of almost every job description.

    Kudos to you and all teachers who put in the extra time to spiff up the room, try to get the head around the new techy stuff, and stash the supplies for the voyage into another school year.

  4. Stephen,
    They'd better not put me in a corner, either!

    Thank goodness little Buck Naked moved to the Vandelay district!

    I am constantly checking on my stuff. But not in an OCD way. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Thanks for the kudos. It's not like we're digging ditches in 107 degrees or dodging enemy fire. But we're in the trenches from August-May, building the future.

  5. I think you need to charge a toll. Install a wooden arm and a change box. The arm goes up when the person puts in their mandatory 50 cents. The arm goes up (and flattens against the doorframe so there are no bumps)during class exchange times but the roaming student who has to "go to the bathroom" or is late, also needs to pay the fee (because the arm is down once class begins)

    Perhaps the toll would offset the cost of thievery. But I know I am dreaming. But dreams are nice once in awhile

  6. Chick,
    That's a scathingly brilliant idea! Plus, I get to control what's coming up and down the pike!