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Classroom Corruption

A maintenance worker came into my classroom this morning. “Excuse me, Ma’am. I need to look at your thermostat.” The temperature in my room is comfortable for a change, so I really wished he wouldn’t, but he was just a kid and it was his job. I pointed him toward the thermostat.

He read the dial. “Ma’am, this is set on 75F. Isn’t that too warm?”

“Right now we’re comfortable, thank you.”

“Your thermometer reads 69F.”

“That’s perfect,” I said.

“But ma’am, the control panel on the roof says we’re pumping 52F degree air in here. Are you sure you aren’t too cold?”

I looked at the man. He was wearing a short sleeved light-weight work shirt. I pointed at his arm, “You’re standing here. Are you too cold?”

“Well, no ma’am, but they have made it clear that we are to rely on our equipment and not our own judgement.”

“Oookay,” I said. “According to your equipment, it is either 75, 69, or 52 degrees in here. That seems very reliable to me.”

His smile was crooked and he kind of shrugged one shoulder. “I know, Ma’am, but I have to write something down here on this clipboard, and they aren’t going to like three different answers.”

I grinned at him and asked, “What answer would make them happiest?”

His eyes widened. He glanced from his clipboard, to me, to his clipboard. He whispered, “Can I do that?” Then he looked up at me, grinned and said, “Thanks, Ma’am!”

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. They definitely beat this guy’s judgment out of him. Glad you were able to talk some sense into him. I was afraid you were going to be seeing your breath by the end of the story.

  2. Quilly you do have a way of convincing folks to your line of thinking, nice to know you stayed toasty for the rest of the day.

  3. Bill — since the daily temps have already hit 90F, staying toasty isn’t a worry.

    OC — I probably should be ashamed, but I am not!

    Donna — I can’t help it. It’s a compulsion.

    Nessa — I hope not. He seemed like a nice guy.

    Melli — or at lease the land of logic and self-preservation!

  4. Doug — my pleasure. Glad to be of assistance.

    SN — Alas, I wasn’t a teacher when he was in 5th grade.

    Polona — yes, I would wish for grateful maintenance workers who only arrived when they were needed.

  5. Pauline — I do feel like I came out a winner in that scenario — and the repai guy did, too!

    Minka — the education he got.

    Gawpofreedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose ….

  6. People put too much faith in machinery and computers. They forget that we humans are much better at making judgments than the aforementioned!

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