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Friday, July 12, 2013

In An 80's Classroom...

Lessons Learned…

At The Fliptop Desk


The early eighties and before boasted most frequently of classrooms with desks containing attached seats that rather creakingly wobbled from side to side as one needed to get in or out. But the greatest feature of the desks was the wooden fliptop, which when one opened it revealed a large cavernous space perfect for storing and losing an entire school year’s worth of papers, notes home, permission slips, consumable workbooks, number two pencils, all one hundred and sixty four completely unboxed crayons, secret notes from friends, and all sorts of other necessary tools of the students’ trade.  When the fliptop was open, hurricane would be the word that would come to mind. Cleaning was intermittent and half-hearted at best so as not to disrupt the delicate balance between control and chaos wherein the spirit of imagination and creativity reside.  When the fliptop was closed, peace, tranquility, and order were the illusion a visitor to the school might be impressed with if he or she peeked into our classroom.  The first graders and I were, at that moment, dwelling in the illusion state as they were putting finishing touches on some art projects, fliptops closed,  and I was savoring their unbridled creativity as they created artwork upon their fliptops. Gerry was suddenly looking a bit pale.  Are you okay? Yes; just a little too full from lunch. Do you need to visit the nurse? Oh no, I just need to rest my tummy. I can rest my tummy while I’m working; see? You are doing a great job, Gerry, but if you need to see the nurse, you just let me know. A bit paler. Gerry, how are you feeling? A little better. You sure? I’m sure. Let me know if you would like to see the nurse.  Nobody likes to get sick at school. Feeling icky is no fun.  Gerry was looking a real bad shade of green, and I went to get the trash can from the front of the room. On my way to Gerry, I saw him lift the wooden fliptop of his desk.  Gerry got sick inside the desk, then closed the wooden fliptop and put his head down upon it.  It was sad. Gerry was sad. We all felt sad for Gerry. The nurse came for Gerry and he went home to really rest his tummy.  After that, the janitor came and removed Gerry’s fliptop desk for a sound cleaning. Monday would be Gerry’s turn to restore the proper balance to the interior of his fliptop.