Kids don't disappear when the bell rings

Yesterday's Scenario:

They had been there again.

That group that comes after the school day is done.

They use my equipment and even though things are put away, I can’t help feeling violated.

Yesterday, I planned to leisurely put up my bulletin boards. I put my ear buds in and, knowing school was resuming tomorrow from the long Winter break, I brought an extra large latte and bagel.

I arrived at the school to find 83 kids spread out between the cafeteria and the gym. I had forgotten all about the enrichment program that works with kids during vacations, before and after school, and during the summer.

It griped me.

I spoke to one of the leaders and asked how long they planned to be in my gym. They responded they had been there all day since Monday. It was the vacation enrichment program. I asked if they could just take it outside….

I was met with wide questioning eyes.

“We have 83 kids and you want us outside all day?”

I tried to come up with a compromise. I could give them a projector to show movies in the cafeteria.

It was a lame excuse, I knew, but I wanted time to just be in my world without kids.

I should have planned to come in that evening. I could kick myself but instead, took it out on the leaders.

The kids waved at me as I walked in. A lot of them were my students.

But that was during the regular weekday.

This group represented a bunch of refugees that were housed in our building because their parents had to work. The leaders had a program and a schedule and lesson plans.

It got me thinking.

I don’t own this gym. The school district does. It has contracted with an after school enrichment program that for many parents is a god send.


Teachers, how many times have you snubbed the ancillary groups that use your school?

What kind of protocol or procedures do you have for building use?

Do you realize that for some parents, this type of program is valuable and important in order for their families to function?

As you work with all groups: scouts, youth basketball, church groups, STEM groups, art groups that are using your building, prepare your space to be the way you want it the next day.

Establish a set of rules you would like these groups to follow.

Understand that these students are still your students and their leaders, although not directly working with you, are an integral part of how your community best works.

Thanks for listening.

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