New teacher diaries

Easel of doom

New Teacher Diaries

Last year, I served 19 classes on all four floors of our school plus the annex one block away. Somehow I did all this without any kind of mobile classroom device whatsoever. I just loaded up an extra large Carol School Supply bag and a smaller tote and dumped all my supplies into them, carrying around all my charts, papers, markers, pencils, rewards, stickers, books and junk from place to place.

This year, though, things were going to be different. I was going to get my very own easel on wheels.

I had big plans for my easel on wheels. I bought two behavior pocket charts to hang on one side of my easel on wheels, with enough pockets for each of my students. I bought tickets to give out to students for good behavior, and envelopes to deposit the tickets in (when you earn a ticket, you put it in your class envelope, and every Friday I pull a ticket and the lucky winner earns a special reward!). I bought a little magnetic pencil holder for the other side of my easel on wheels, labeled it “Miss Brave’s Supplies,” and loaded it up with dry erase markers, regular old markers, and pencils that say “Teacher’s Pencil — Return to Teacher” on them. Everyone who passed me by in the hallways complimented me on my hyper-organization and cuteness.

At last, everything I needed would be on my easel on wheels. I would never show up to a classroom without vital supplies again!

I didn’t count on one tiny but inevitable misstep: Naturally, my easel on wheels has a broken wheel. One of my APs tried to rectify the situation by strapping the broken wheel back on. Now when I try to move the easel on wheels from place to place, the wheel falls off. A lot. In inopportune places like the elevator (and did I mention that the elevator doors have no sensor, so that they slam shut directly on my easel as I’m trying to drag it in and out?). Frequently I am wheeling my easel on wheels down the hall (and in my case, “wheeling” looks a lot more like “dragging a heavy object that seems to have a mind of its own”), trying to avoid hitting groups of children with it, when the wheel falls off. Usually when this happens, a child in the hall will pick up the wheel, run after me with it, and shout something like, “Miss Brave, you forgot your wheel!”

My easel on wheels is huge and unwieldy. It seems to have the exact same dimensions as our classroom doorways so wheeling it in and out of classrooms is kind of like those 007 scenarios where you have to fit through the laser beams without setting off the sensor. My easel on wheels is also much taller and broader than I am, so that I can’t see around it. I like to tell my colleagues that I need sideview mirrors if I am to avoid hitting someone in the hallways.

I have discovered that the most effective way to wheel my easel on wheels is to pull it along while walking backwards, which is not exactly my ideal way to traverse the halls. As I was doing this today, getting my usual cardio/strength workout, a teacher commented that it was a shame that the easels on wheels keep breaking (mine is not the only one), because they were allegedly high quality and expensive.

This evening when my fiance suggested that I might bite the bullet and bring in my own easel, I decided to look it up. Sure enough, my easel on wheels is an “All Purpose Mobile Teaching Easel” that the vendor claims you can “roll anywhere!” And it costs (drum roll please)... $299!

Holy expensive school supplies, Batman. It looks like my broken easel on wheels and I will have to learn to get along.

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