The kids had only been gone for three days but, now that the Memorial Day long weekend was over, my work as an assistant principal was ready to begin again. It was time to clear out the old year and prepare for the next one, which would begin in two months whether we were ready or not.
Fortunately, this first day back, there were no district meetings planned, no professional development “opportunities” scheduled, and no parent conferences expected. I began my day sitting with the principal and developing my “to-do” list from his requests and then adding a few of my own chores as well.
A few teachers had returned as they had not completely checked out for the summer break the Friday before. I visited each in their classrooms, inspected the walls and floors for some sense of cleanliness and signed their check-out forms for the secretary. I helped them move desks and boxes and bookcases out of the way so that the custodians could easily clean the carpet before fall.
There were also many teachers who had been told that they would be teaching in different classrooms during the new school year. All of their personal belongings had been boxed and labeled and placed with the furniture they owned near their classroom entrances. For most of these individuals, long-time veterans in the field, the collection at the door was massive. You amass a great deal over the years and, in true teacher fashion, you never throw anything away. (Personally, I still have ditto masters and overhead transparencies in my files despite the fact that the “technology” to use both is no longer existent).
As I moved in and out of classrooms, I ran into our day custodian, Maria, who had her own list of things to do for the day. I had worked with this wonderful lady for several years and knew her to be an extremely hardworking individual dedicated to the staff and kids on campus. If I even hinted that something needed done, she was on it in seconds with nary a complaint....