Monday, August 12, 2013

Down to the Bare Bones

My house is almost 100 years old and full of character. There are many things I love about this space - the finished attic, our deck overlooking our backyard, the old built-in shelves throughout the dining room. However, there are some parts of this old place that just don't fit a modern lifestyle. One such space is our main bathroom. The 1900s clawfoot tub is a chore to use as our main shower, nor is it long enough for my husband or I to enjoy. In addition, the sink, lights, and electrical system all need upgrading. As children become a factor in the household, these safety issues have prompted some remodeling.

At the same time, I've also been trying to get back into school mode. I've been busy setting up my classroom and planning for the academic year. While I'm envisioning a new set of students working in the classroom space, I can't help but see some overlap with our bathroom remodel. Last week, our contractor demolished the entire bathroom down to its bare bones, stripping away cracked walls, three layers of flooring, and discovering water damage to a majority of the subfloor. Listening to the walls come down and the floor being ripped up reminded me of my students.

Kids come to school with lots of layers, and we often don't know how many there might be until we start stripping them away. There could also be damage unseen from the surface that could greatly affect performance and functionality of the student within the classroom. Getting to know a student down to his or her core takes time and careful attention to detail. It may also take special tools and require creative solutions. But doing so allows teachers to intentionally personalize lessons with that child's strengths and needs in mind. The end result is a functional, stress-free, and safe environment for everyone, which is exactly my hopes for my new bathroom.

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