For realsies

Groovy School Reform Circa 1970 August 21, 2012

Filed under: education,humor,teaching,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 10:25 pm
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Cool Peace sign mouse pad at

I worked for awhile in an elementary school that was built in the 1970s.  In other words, some grad students dropped some acid and said, “I know, man! Let’s make a school that has, like, no WALLS!”  And it was, like, the grooviest thing ever, and grad students are cheap, and suddenly, there were two or three wall-free schools in our city that operated like feed lots, where the noise was deafening and there was nowhere to plug anything in.

At some point, someone decided that, if they constructed some temporary walls that did not reach up to the ceiling, and covered the floors with carpet, it would be even groovier, or at least not as deafening.  The result was slightly short of groovy.  If you have ever stood on one side of a temporary wall while someone is teaching on the other side, and you paid attention, you probably could  have passed a test on whatever that teacher was teaching.  Additionally, if you have ever strolled around a building with carpeting upon which hundreds of eager learners stomp in snow boots for several months annually, you are no stranger to the earthy aroma of tenacious Mr. Mold.  Indeed, you may have become a cog in the wheels of a class action suit seeking damages for respiratory, well, damage.

Respiratory issues are tough to top as a wonderful human equalizer, and God knows that shared difficulty breathing undeniably brings people together.  Just in case you were thinking that I was knocking anything.  No.  But when you add the aesthetic and functional nightmare of the windows in this Thunderdome—well, let’s just say that the drugs were either getting progressively better or increasingly scarce.

Maybe it was the recent memory of assassinations during that time period that convinced the designers that the windows should be indestructible.  Why they determined that they should be shaped in such a way that the building appears to have enormous, dull amber-colored eggs protruding from the exterior walls, is a question for the ages.  There may have been a brief honeymoon period during which about seventy-five people saw the out-of-doors through those windows, but I was there way, way after that ship had sailed, and I got to enjoy “the suggestion of sunlight” through the curvy bubble windows. You could see, however, through the gap between the window and its casing, where the winter winds howled and deposited little drifts inside from time to time. Groovy AND cozy.

As captivating as this coming of age story is, it is time that we get down to brass tacks (available at Home Depot) and ask the obvious question at hand: why is the visibility through my house windows similar to that of the plastic, indestructo-egg windows at Peace Man Elementary? How do people get their windows clean, anyway? I don’t have a big ladder, and I don’t have modern, tilty windows.  Spraying them with the “power wash” setting of the hose has yielded some pretty damned crappy results.  You never hear lore about people who do windows, only those who don’t do them.  I am guessing that it is due to the fact that this clean window deal is a well-protected secret.  Unless you live in a skyscraper, in which case there are native species who live on the sides of those buildings and carry squeegees at all times.

I will patiently await your instructions.  Please do not link me to a Pinterest-based window cleaning solution that involves Dawn dishwashing liquid.


5 Responses to “Groovy School Reform Circa 1970”

  1. javaj240 Says:

    OMG…I love it! “[T]he suggestion of sunlight”. Priceless.

    When I was a kid my grandmother had this thing that was magnetic and had cleaning pads on both sides. I grew up in a house that was built in the 1600s (not kidding) and so there were no tilting windows, I can assure you of that (some combination of chains and what appeared to be a hemp-like rope allowed the windows to operate). Anyway, I swear that an updated version is being sold by an outfit called Global TV Products. It worked for us, LOL!

  2. Peachy, I just nominated you for the “Tell Me More About Yourself” Award. I love your stories.

  3. Sounds like a grand place. I’ve been a teacher for 7 years or so and there are many things that are obviously designed without any input from the teachers who actually use them everyday.

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