If given a choice, which I am usually not, I’d rather teach in a cold room than a hot one. The kids complain, of course, but they also complain if it is too hot, or too boring, or the lights are on, or the lights are off, or if it is Tuesday, so I don’t worry about that very much. As I am the one dashing back and forth all over the classroom like a deranged pinball machine ball, I get overheated. My body has never adjusted well to temperatures, so in a hot classroom, I end up feeling sick by the end of the day in a hot room. If I have to put my coat and hat on in the classroom, I’ll feel a lot better. (Either way, my feet will hurt, but that is another slice altogether.)
So, usually, I prefer a cold room.
As we returned from Spring Break last week, some sort of water leak was discovered in the walls, and the heat had to be shut off for my entire wing of the building. Not only was it cold in the classrooms, it was also cold by the heaters in the hallway. The students complained even more than usual, as it was clearly my personal fault that they were cold. They demanded that I adjust the thermostat. They did not believe me that my classroom does not have a thermostat, and that teachers have zero control over their environments. (Come to think of it, many of my non-teacher friends find that unbelievable too.) Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, it got colder and colder all week. By Friday, it was colder inside than outside. Yesterday, despite some false spring and sunshine over the weekend, it was even MORE cold than outside, and windy to boot. Brrrr.
Today, we had some false spring again, and I left home without my coat, knowing (ha!) that it was going to be warm and I would be fine. This worked out great in my car. It has heated seats. When I stepped out of my car at school, in my parking space that feels miles from the building door, it did not feel so nice. The sun was behind a cloud again, and it was quite nippy. I hustled as fast as I could under the physical and emotional load of my bag full of ungraded papers, and got inside. Where it was…even colder than before.
It turned out that the blustery storm from the night before had led to a power outage for several hours at the school yesterday evening. The warmer parts of the building were not wafting warm air into my corner of the building, because there were no warmer parts of the building. My classroom felt like I could freeze water in it. To make matters worse, the power outage did something inexplicable to the boiler, and there was not going to be any warm air until it could be fixed. I wished I had worn my coat, so I could put it back on in my classroom.
Did the students whine and complain? Nope. They did not even notice.