New views, school year begin

Published 1:58 pm Monday, August 10, 2015

Some of the heavy lifters find a teaching tool from the past and enjoy a dance break. (Contributed)

Some of the heavy lifters find a teaching tool from the past and enjoy a dance break. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“What’s your new room number?” Marylou Russell asked filling out a work order for my new classroom. I had no idea.

Remembering names usually comes easily to me; however, numbers are my challenge.

Moving out of the classroom I’ve taught in for 15 years was tough. My former students messaged and tweeted, “You can’t leave the Love Room!” as they heard about the move.

Fifteen years ago, after my last move, the rooms were renumbered. Between moving and renumbering, my room number kept escaping me. I sent a student into the hall to check the number so I could complete some forms. He returned grinning.

“Solved your problem,” he said. “Your room number is 214 like Valentine’s Day. Mrs. Nolen—you’re in the Love Room!”

Once the room was named, we all remembered the number. Last year, as we renumbered more practically making the 200s upstairs rooms, my classroom lost the 214 distinction. Since the new number was 118 and my dad, brother, and nephew played sports as number 18, I could easily remember. Last spring, I received notice that I was moving rooms.

I’ve had a steady stream of helpers this summer: Groups of kids for the heavy lifting, writers, former literary magazine editors and students, my husband, my daughter—and many friends.

Despite the initial resistance, their final takeaway has been positive.

“This room is bigger and there is a staff room—and storage!”

“We are great painters—and that is a great color.”

“You have more natural light.”

“This will be a happy place.”

Moving and preparing a classroom has been invigorating and I cherish the time with my helpers. Staring at the classroom door one late night as I locked up, I tried to think of a new room number mnemonic. A104 looked like 10-4 to my tired eyes.

A policeman’s daughter, I know that police code for 10-4 is “message received” or “I understand.”

Room A104 is dubbed the Understanding Room—and the Understanding Room will be a happy place to learn and to teach.

New views and a new school year begin.