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I am certain I have written these words before: there was no heat in my classroom today. Unfortunately, Vegas’ uncharacteristic cold snap broke water pipes in 62 schools, so our lack of heat wasn’t today’s priority. It may not be tomorrow’s priority, either.

We taught three 5th grade classes — approximately 75 kids — in Ms. J’s classroom today. The kids were surprisingly well behaved. Not even one argument ensued. There is no way 75 of last year’s 5th graders could have spent 2.5 hours together in a 40’x40′ room without at least two fist fights.

We are supposed to start our high stakes 5th grade Writing Proficiency testing tomorrow morning. No heat is a serious handicap, so we’ll probably bump the test to a later date. Moving the testing date is a serious handicap as well. The kids are anxious and ready. Delays will sap their confidence. This year’s kids are the best writers I’ve ever had. I would like them to have every advantage to help them prove it.

Update: 12:07 p.m. — the heat is on. The test will commence at 1:00 p.m.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Seems Murphys Law is keeping up with its impact for you. lol
    Sending the warmest thoughts for a day,week, month filled with the gentlest of sunshine.

  2. I found, with your help, your new place. I hope soon you will be able to get back in your classroom. The weather is giving many trouble.

  3. Dr. John — usually when we complain about the weather in Vegas we whine about it being too hot.

    Lori — I hope things get warner! I have a space heater here behind my desk to heat me up. It is really too small to do much for the whole room.

  4. Oh yeah. The weather is bad here too. All weekend the tv channels told us we would have some sleet and ice. Drive carefully was the phrase. So this morning the ice hits, bridges and overpasses and schools closed. But the drivers think they can drive the way they always do. That meant 60 cars in 6 accidents in less than 3 hours. Houston does not know how to drive in icy weather.! Good luck with the kids!

  5. Bazza — who is going to keep me focused?

    Jill — weather often seems to be blamed for stupidity. Here the roads are most hazardous after a summer rain, when the oil from the asphalt floats atop the wather and makes the roads as slippery as snot.

  6. What a mess – poor kids. And poor teachers – having to teach with no heat. I couldn’t do it. Really hate being cold. Wear layers, if you have to go, and a hat and gloves. Take a blanket for your lap. (Gosh, I’m cold just thinking about it!)

  7. You know Quill, every time I read about your classroom I can’t help but wonder what country you live in. All this blather about test scores and you can’t even teach with heat.

    I guess the bright lights of the Strip are all that matters.

  8. Jackie — hats and gloves are gang symbols and are banned from campus. I am wearing layers. No blanket for me if there aren’t enough for the kids. I am getting ready to call parents and tell them to send blankets, though.

    Brian — I live in the United States. Schools don’t create revenue, they drain it. Children can’t vote. Teachers have no political clout. In other words, those bright lights don’t shine on us.

  9. I don’t recall too much of 5th grade, but I do know there’d be no way my fifth grade class could do that. 5th grades are an onery bunch on a good day…

    Cold classrooms during a test…brings back memories. Everytime we had a big standardized test the school turned off the heat in an attempt to keep everyone awake. Was never a pleasent time.

  10. Silver — my students aren’t any onerier than their teacher. And here they don’t turn off the heat on purpose — they just keep faulty equipment.

    Cindra — indeed.

  11. i’m sorry about the continuing cold. hope things get better soon.
    the weather here is still much too warm for the time of year.

  12. This bloomin’ weather is just wreaking havoc on EVERYBODY! (except us) But YOUR school (board) needs to do something SERIOUS about getting y’alls HEAT fixed! That’s nuts!

    I say tell the kids to bring their coats and gloves and give the test! OR… do you have a little space heater? Oy!

    Quilly — I DID take the picture of my cardinals! It was 2 or 3 days ago — in my back yard!

  13. Melli — 63 schools without water. Heat isn’t their first priority. Besides, according to maintenance, Southwest Gas is at fault. There is supposedly something wrong with the equipment they installed last Friday.

  14. QD – you seem to do a marvellous job under the most trying of circumstances. I’m full of admiration.

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