Monday, March 16, 2015

A working spring break; an empty building

Friday was a flurry of activity around school, our last day before spring break.  Staff members and students excitedly counted the hours and minutes down to 2:42, the end of the school day.

Bits of common destination sites filled the air.  Orlando, Key West, Bahamas, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Scottsdale, West Palm, Tampa, Vail. . . .

Smiles, excitement, flight days and times. Saturday at 10 AM, Monday at 1:20, Sunday at 8:15 and so on.

It is especially fun if you can respond as well with your destination and travel plans.

It is different if you are staying home.

It is even more different if you are working spring break as my admin team and I are.

In our district administrators work spring break unless we take vacation days, and for many reasons, our entire team is working.

One of my assistants is attending a two-day local conference and then working the rest of the week, and another one will be giving Ventures interviews to prospective teaching candidates for the district.  The other assistant is moving into a new house and so is working each day and moving at night.

And me? I am catching up on evals, looking at staffing numbers, and finishing some letters of recommendation.

While it is not unusual to welcome a work time to catch up this time of year, one of the most unusual  aspects of working during scheduled school breaks is the emptiness of the building.

I have never gotten used to seeing, hearing and feeling an empty school building.

I am convinced the buildings mourn the loneliness and emptiness of missing students and staff.

Every day about 1700 students and staff enter our front doors and pour into our foyer and cafeteria, awaiting the start of the school day.  The sights and sounds of student and staff laughter, bell tones, conversations, late feet running to first period, binders hitting cafeteria tables, and muted conversations bring a building to life.

Today the building seemed sad and cavernous.  At any given time there were no more than six to eight people in it.  The lights stayed off except in the custodial working areas and the main office and the only sound was the occasional ringing of the office phone and quiet conversations.

The building is too empty and quiet without the family that gives it life.

No excited voices.  No enthusiastic greetings.  Just a few adults working mostly in isolation.

And while for the admin team it will be a productive work week, it is never the same to be in this workplace without our students and staff, the very integral family members that bring our building to life.

I prefer our family being together and will eagerly await their return next Monday where the building will once again be happy and alive.


  1. I actually enjoy working in the evening or weekend when the building is empty. But, I think that one thing (among many) that would keep me from being an administrator is not getting that break that everyone else on staff gets. Knowing that everyone else gets to sleep in, go away to warmer climates, spend time with their kids and I HAD to be at school...I just couldn't do it. Enjoy your productivity and peace and quiet!

  2. Thanks, Carolyn, for sharing. I don't mind an evening working but really find it hard during the school day and I know what we are missing. I have to admit that summer and breaks are never the same as when teaching-- just a different mindset. Thanks again for taking the time to write.


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