Humor being a defense mechanism....

STUDENT: Mr. Hatfield? Could we turn up the heat? Ple-e-e-e-ease? I'm freezing!

Yeah, I get that all the time from my students, Chumley. I tend to keep my classes on the chilly side. While your personal mileage may vary, in my experience students become less attentive above 77-78 degrees Farenheit, so I tend to keep it colder than that (68-72). Sure, I often have to explain to the kid doing their best Tennessee Tuxedo impersonation why I'm not going to turn up the thermostat, but in general my students are more productive. And, on those days in class when we have the hot plates out, the lowered threshold keeps the classroom pleasant.

But, as usual, my school district tends to push these things to the limit. Witness this newspaper coverage of Fresno Unified's failure to provide adequate heat at certain school sites, particularly where I work, Bullard High School.

Just to make things clear, my classroom does not have one of the space heaters the article references, and yes, it has been quite cold: in the mid-40's during much of the morning yesterday, and (I suspect) probably much of today as well. I think I will post temperature readings on the blog later today just to document this stuff for future reference. After reading it, you may wonder, just how does the district expect us to function?

That's a rhetorical question, since I have no idea what the district expects at this point. All I can do is document what I and other clients of Fresno Unified deal with from time to time on this blog. You can click on the label 'The Classroom (ugh)' on the right to find a whole series of posts on this topic, if you have the time and care to sample the 'whine.' Believe me when I say that this latest episode of 'chilled' education is just....

....wait for it....

...the tip of the iceberg.


I pulled out five hot plates and had them running before first period began on Friday. It was about 49 degrees outside when class began, but by mid-morning I had managed to raise my shivering students to 60 degrees. By the afternoon we topped out at 64 degrees. Not optimal, and many of them kept their hoods on, but at least we were able to function: I did a demo of different pigments absorbing or reflecting specific frequencies of light using lasers and solutions that I had previously made by dumping leaves in alcohol (spinach for chlorophyll b, poinsettias for anthocyanin), and we completed notes on the Calvin Cycle.


Stan said...
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Stan said...
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