Teacher: I've Been Waiting For Classroom Repairs... For FIVE Years

How would you like to teach in a class with broken baseboards and ceiling tiles, graffiti and rats? Not only is the room dilapidated, but it's been burglarized one...two...three...FOUR times. Don't worry though, our teacher says repairmen have been to the class on a few occasions over the last half-decade -- they just aren't allowed to fix anything. Sorry, district rules!

(NOTE to Resident of Babble: I changed your name slightly and removed the number of years you've taught to better protect your identity, if you want the original name back or corrections just let me know!)

Resident of the Land of Babble

"I've been in my current room for five years -- it was a reject and discard from either Locke or Fremont. Continuation Schools often get leftovers from the 'real' schools and are utterly ignored by the district. Not that there's anything wrong with that, being ignored.

My new room was filthy and dirty, the ceiling tiles broken out, the floor was coming up, the windows had been etched with gang graffiti, the sink and drinking fountain didn't work, the baseboard around the floor mostly ripped off, the door didn't close properly, the metal cabinets completely warped from being broken into numerous times and a small window or vent had only a loose grate over the opening -- the security panel was missing. Oh, Yeah -- the room came with RATS -- moved straight from their previous location.

Our custodian told me that small children are often pushed through these small vents so they can open the big door for their family members who will then proceed to clean that room and any adjoining rooms out of computers, electronics, and any other thing that's easily salable. I should know, my last room was broken into three times before I got there and once after that -- even though it had a motion sensor that worked perfectly and sounded the alarm as it is supposed to. No one bothered to come for the four break-ins, even though the district was alerted each time. The police and detectives did come, after the fact, and proceeded to 'dust' the room for fingerprints leaving me with a horrific mess of black file that was difficult to sweep up and wipe off the cabinets.

I was assured the repairs to my new room would be done immediately. Our custodian, to his great credit, put in order after order to have my room repaired, especially the vent opening. Last year, a district supervisor appeared with a clip board and made note of all the repairs that my room desperately needed.

I was told her visit would expedite the repairs and the room would be set right in no time.

Fast forward another year. Finally, a repairman shows up -- but he is only there to fix the ceiling tiles. He told me in the old days, he'd be sent out to a room to 'fix anything that needed fixing' but now, each union apparently handles only its own area -- he said the metal guys fix the metal cabinets, the floor guys fix the floors, the wall guys fix the baseboards, wood guys fix anything wooden and so on. He was not allowed to touch any other repair in my room other than the ceiling tiles -- even though he finished in about an hour and then sat around for the next four until it was 'time to quit.'
So here we are five years later -- I ended up hot-gluing the baseboard back onto the wall because it looked so unsightly. I put a large runner-type rug over the warped/broken tiles so the kids or I wouldn't fall. I put out 'district-approved' traps to get rid of the rats, and the custodian managed to fix my sink and drinking fountain.

A nice crew came around last week to finally fix the floor in the main office --  they finished early, looked over my room and said they'd use their leftovers to repair the warped and broken tiles and they'd do only as much as they had leftover.

I was told not to tell the district as my room was not on their order and they could get in a lot of trouble for repairing a room that was 'not on the list.' But if I wanted to, I could call their office and get on the list -- yeah, for when? Five years from now?

The district runs on insanity, this is not in dispute. You can bet if they'd contract this work out to private contractors, it would be cheaper and get done faster. No, better to pay the union wages and piecemeal out the work so nothing ever gets done, and no one ever checks to see if it's been done.

Wasn't this how business was conducted in the old Soviet Union?

Resident of Babble also sent us a very interesting story about teacher coaches recently. You should check it out! Thanks Rez of Babble!

We need more teachers like Rez of Babble to write us: tips@perdaily.com

Flickr: Teckie Kev


02 2010


MOST of the time when repairs are not done it's not the workers fault. We do the work we are told to do. The Plant Mgr. is supposed to call in a trouble call then it gets sent to the local maintenance area and then it is up to the Supervisors to send us to do the work. See under "tags" Classified employees. unfortunatly it looks like it's only going to get worse.


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