Everyone deserves special place in our school

Guest Editorial

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you-Nobody-Too?”

Emily Dickinson’s lines almost immediately came to my mind when I read the article about the current ALPHA location. Let me introduce myself — I am the teacher next to the boiler room, and I am “special” too, only at the other end of the spectrum. I am the one who organizes the annual five-meter silverfish races. Although it is difficult to determine the place winners, wouldn’t it be a great fundraiser for the Food Drive?
Every day I unlock my classroom door to a rush of hot air and even in the heart of a bitter Midwest winter, turn on my AC fan to blast the heat out of my humble abode. Then I go across the hall to make coffee in our 5’x7’ vintage retreat (fondly deemed as the “’70s Lounge”). The ole “frig” has gone gently into the good night, and due to a lack of a new socket implact, the old antique hanging lamp has fizzled out in smoke as well; both are in need of a proper burial.

Students commonly refer to my side of the basement as “The Dungeon.” On days when I see my glass as half empty, I think psychotically, “Is this purgatory? Is this some form of atonement for the sins of my youth? With bars over the small window, perhaps I’m in Alcatraz — but where is my bay view?” On days when I see my glass as half full, I view my classroom as having character. It is a cozy (certainly warm) conglomeration of used furniture and equipment, accented at times with peals of human laughter.

Despite the lack of amenities, I have to say I make the most of my room assignment, encouraging my students to achieve their full potential. The dark dankness of the dungeon does not bother me, but the dark disrespect for those “struggling to graduate” does. What arrogance lies behind the statement, “Why hide the best at the school in a small area that obviously cannot hold nearly what it could hold last year?”

Who are you to determine which faction of the building is “best”? I wish I could clean up your attitude as easily as I can sweep up my dust balls.
We are a country that traditionally has taken pride in educating children from all socioeconomic backgrounds and all levels of academic potential. In my opinion, that is why we are the “best.” I support the ALPHA program and all of the enhancement opportunities that it provides for students, but I do not support haughty attitudes of superiority. We all have a “place” in the school system. It may not be ideal, but let’s make the most of it. (By the way, I have been wandering in the desert for over 30 years in search of my perfect classroom — your placement is only temporary. And speaking of races, you can make it to the library in less than five minutes; it takes me 15 minutes walking at a brisk clip.)

Pat Trampel

Resource teacher

Class of 2014

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