Administrators of the California school system have told teachers they’re taking their coffee pots to save the district money. Gone too are microwaves and refrigerators, a move that could save the district as much as $60,000.
Meanwhile, sleepy teachers across the district are wondering how they can keep up with children with boundless energy. As I sit yawning at my own desk, with a cold bottle of soda beside me, I can’t help but agree.
Glendale isn’t the first district to make this change. Some have banned appliances while others have set up a fee structure, charging teachers as much as $40 a year to keep a fridge in the classroom. There’s still a communal refrigerator, coffee pot and microwave in the teacher’s lounge at Glendale. But as many teachers have pointed out, that requires hoofing it across campus at lunchtime, a time when they often find themselves allowing a student to come into their classroom for extra help. Not to mention the lack of breaks during the day to shoot down to the lounge for a cup of coffee to keep them going.
Caffeine addiction may not be the healthiest thing, but it keeps plenty of Americans going – including teachers who stay up late grading papers. Be it the cup of coffee or the cold soda, most of workers in a white collar setting have immediate access. And I think you’d be hard pressed to find any old break room fridge with an Energy Star label.
As a taxpayer in a state where education costs laid on the taxpayers’ shoulders long ago spiraled out of control, I’m all for districts saving a buck or two. I’m also not a big fan of the teachers unions or of coddling teachers. Educators need to educate – and if they’re not doing so, we’ve got a problem.
But numerous studies have shown the comfort of the workers is linked directly to the workforce productivity. In the case of teaching, that productivity means a better education for our kids. This seems to be a place where administrators are cutting costs along with their nose to spite their faces. Leave appliances in the classroom and let teachers stay in the room to tutor a kid at lunchtime or during their free period. Let them suck down coffee all day so they can stay alert and on top of the curriculum.
Find someplace else to cut . . . like, I don’t know. . . administrators’ salaries?
Image: LA Times