Teacher: Gilbert, our room is freezing.
Me: (walking into the room) Omigosh.
A wall of cold bit my face. Luckily, the children were asleep but – heck – let’s make sure they’re not frozen. The room was an ice box. San Francisco doesn’t get any snow, but you’ll need a North Face jacket in the mornings.
Me: I’m going to check the thermostat.
There is only one thermostat for the entire center – and it’s temperamental. Heater works during the summer and cooler works during the winter. I looked at the box. There were a lot of levers for temperature, fans, air conditioning, and others. There were dozens of combinations to choose. I could turn the center into an oven if I wanted… but no one wants to smell sweaty children.
I believe in being cautious, so I studied the levers for a couple of seconds.
… click, beep, clank, bonk, beep, beep, bonk, click….
I also believe in pushing random buttons and levers until something works. And that’s what happened. The heater turned on.
I walked to the classroom and poked my head through the door. The teacher gave a thumbs up. I figured put a low temperature for heat and a high temperature for cool. I could still be wrong but the building was defrosting.
Also, I didn’t want anyone messing my thermostat handiwork.
Moral of the Story: Leave notes for others.
Very soon, I’m going on paternity leave. I have a wonderful staff and they will be more than fine when I leave. However, communication and delegation is key whenever a school leader is gone for an extended amount of time. Leaving instructions on due dates and routines are extremely important – even for the smallest tasks, like a thermostat. Don’t overlook things.
In this situation, I did overlook. You see, I didn’t leave the note. Later in the day, another teacher – a different teacher – saw the thermostat and left instructions for the others to see…
Moral of the Story 2: Teach others to leave notes too.