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.


…beep, click..

… 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.


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