Though I had some concerns about starting our new school year this past fall, I can honestly say that, as the year has progressed, it's clear that my fears were unfounded.
What were my concerns? For starters we have a new principal this year. And yes, it's true I was on the committee that chose him, but you just never know -- sometimes people aren't always what they seem. This, however, is not true of Jeff. He really is a 'what you see is what you get' kinda guy. He's absolutely wonderful we love him, and we feel so lucky to have him as our principal. To top it off, he's just crazy enough to fit in perfectly with our staff. What do I mean when I say our staff is crazy and he fits right in? Here's a little snippet of day to day life at FA:
For the past six years during state testing, we've put together a 'snack cart' for the staff. The cart contains various goodies - fruit, granola bars, small packages of peanuts, baked goods, etc. And coffee. Always coffee. While students are testing, the cart gets wheeled from room to room. At that point the teacher can step out, select a goodie and some coffee and the person pushing the cart can give the teacher a brief break to go to the restroom. I can't exactly remember how this practice began, but it's one that's enjoyed by everyone, and really, it's just a little morale booster. Who couldn't use one of those, right?
Several weeks before testing began I mentioned our 'snack cart' practice to Jeff. He was incredulous that we do this, but was good natured enough to go along with it. Our schedule is set up so that we test each morning for 6 days; all testing is finished by breaktime and we resume our regular schedule for the rest of the day. The first day we had the cart, as I set it up, Jeff gave it a look of disdain. However, as he walked past the cart, he couldn't pass up helping himself to a package of cheese and crackers. A bit later, he enjoyed a cup of coffee. Shortly after that, he indulged in a package of peanuts. Before he went out to supervise students at breaktime, he grabbed a granola bar. Huh. Guess he's re-thinking the snack cart issue.
The next afternoon as he was dashing out for a meeting on campus, he looked sheepishly at me and said 'can I take the licorice to the meeting?' Of course! ...but next year, I don't want to hear anything about the snack cart! We both laughed.
This pretty much continued every day we had testing. We had the same 'basics' on the cart each day, but typically a staff member would also have made something to put on the cart and share with the staff. One day it was an egg casserole, another day - you guessed it - 7 layer bean dip. Why? Because we have a teacher who once a week will walk into the faculty lounge and proclaim "What, no 7-layer bean dip?" Hence, the 7-layer bean dip.
On our final day of testing, the coffee place up the street that had been filling our cambro with coffee, met with catastrophe; their coffee machine broke down and, horrors!, there was no coffee. I sent a message to the staff letting them know that we were ending testing on a low note; due to circumstances beyond our control, there would be no coffee. Jeff (aka Mr. Snack-Cart-Poo-Poo'er) didn't want to disappoint everyone, so he began making pot after pot of coffee in the office until the cambro was filled with coffee. I sent a message out to the staff letting them know that, because our fearless leader does indeed love us, there would be coffee. Here's a sample of the responses that followed:
Me: “Just wanted to let you all know that Jeff is up here brewing coffee, so there WILL be coffee on the snack cart. Can you feel the love???”
MG: “Tell him the doughnut machine is broken, too.”
JR: “I knew there had to be a reason we hired the guy.”
MZ: “Let's taste the coffee first before we go and make rash judgements!!”
DP: “Exactly. If the coffee gives us a rash, then Jeff is fired.”
PR: “Cheeeeeez! The things people do around here just to get a good cup of coffee!!!”
See what I mean? Now don't you wish you worked here?