Several years ago, I transferred from a two story school to a three story school. The school building was nearly 100 years old. Wow! I love historic buildings! I had been a literacy coach and I DEFINITELY wanted to go back to a teacher position. I missed the classroom so much and I was very tired of what appeared to be administrative bickering.
One of my close friends had been working at the three story school for several years and absolutely loved it. They had a third grade opening and I jumped at the chance. I had never even walked into the school until the first teacher workday before the start of school. And then I found out how older buildings were built…
I had not been introduced to the stairs! My friend did not dare tell me about the very uneven stair problem! They had ALWAYS been uneven.
Nice school…but what is the deal about the stairs?
On that first day, I walked in pulling my rolling, kind of cute, but typical teacher bag with one hand and a big box of books in the other hand. I was just trying to cut down on the trips that I would have to make from my car. I had 10 more boxes to bring into the building…maybe 15. Only one door on the front of the building was unlocked. And then I saw the first of many staircases. Straight up. Steep. Sort of dark like…well…way dark. My classroom was on the second floor which really was the main floor where the office was located. The door that I entered was the first floor. I would call it a basement. Not one person called it a basement as far as I know.
I placed my box on the floor. I just could not handle dark stairs, a heavy book box and a rolling, kind of cute teacher bag. If I had carried that box up those stairs, I could have ended up in the emergency room. One step would be very narrow and short. The next step would be deeply wide and the next step would be nearly impossible to handle. Let’s just call it a deeply and critically big step. When I got to the third step…even though I was walking upstairs…I lost control and let go of my rolling bag. It banged loudly left and right back down…breaking a few special teacher’s desk “decor” on the way. Actually, the description using the word “decor” is questionable. I suppose that I did not need that stuff anyway.
If I had not let go of the rolling bag, it would definitely have been me falling left and right back down the stairs. My head and back hurt just thinking about it.
I found the elevator. Great for me, but what would I do when I had 22 children with me? Forget the elevator.
I decided that I would just go with the flow and try to memorize where all of the uneven steps were located. I soon found out that virtually every staircase in the school building was uneven! Even the steps leading up to the front door were difficult…at least I thought so.
After memorizing the “not good” steps, I was almost fine with the stairs. I decided that I must be the only person who found them unusual and just downright dangerous.
And then it happened. A teacher on my team started yelling loudly at the top of a third floor staircase just outside of my classroom door. And then, he proceeded to fall all the way down.
I thought that he surely had broken both legs and maybe both arms, but he jumped up like a gymnast. He raised his arms just like Olympic athletes do when they have been successful on the balance beam. Since my door was open, my class saw the entire incident or shall we say…brave performance. All 22 children stood up and gave him a standing ovation! Those uneven stairs caught him when his mind was wandering elsewhere. Scared me to pieces.
I stayed for two years and never, ever fell down. I walked up and down each staircase in slow motion…like I was in an old silent movie that was broken. So…I transferred to a nearby school…where I also had friends.
It was a much newer building with no stairs at all! Lucky me! On the first day of school, I promptly fell down on the front sidewalk with my rolling, kind of cute teacher bag. I blamed it on an uneven sidewalk or perhaps my new and too tall wedge sandals were…shall we say…totally uneven!