by Robyn Kravitz
Our children spend almost as many waking hours at school as they do at home. And our teachers spend even more time at school than our students! So when a few parents learned about the drab teachers’ lounge at the Benajamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy, we knew we had to do something. We wanted the staff at the school to know that we loved them for loving our kids. We wanted the staff to know that those moments they spend making sure our kids eat their lunch, catch their bus, have their homework in their backpacks, and know they have a safe place are VERY noticed.
Walking into the teachers’ lounge wasn’t nearly as shocking as walking into the lounge for the food service workers. Both rooms were dirty, dark, and unloved. Something had to be done. So over the course of about two months, the four of us worked with our principal to develop a plan: We would paint, clean, decorate and give some life to both spaces. Our plan included using the school’s colors, blue and yellow, to give the space some spirit. We wanted to give the space a touch of practicality too, by doubling the amount of refrigerator space and providing more places for lunches to be cooked.
After we developed our plan, we scoured CraigsList, FreeCycle, Facebook Market Place, thrift shops, and worked with the management at our local Home Depot to stay within a very small budget — and a lot of heart — to fill the lounges with a new work station, new table, new decor, a new microwave and refrigerator.
Over the week of PGCPS’s spring break, we went to work. We spent the first day cleaning. Everything from the chairs to the floors to the butcher paper, everything got a solid scrubbing. We spent days two and three painting the walls and cabinets, painting a chalk board sign for motivational quotes, and putting up vinyl decals to match our theme. The fourth day consisted of putting it all back together. Our Falcon blue and yellow teachers’ lounge now has a fun and spunky feeling with a quote that reads “Be the teacher who eats the last cupcake in the teachers’ lounge because we need teachers who are FEARLESS!” And the food service workers now have a room that makes it feel like spring has sprung!
Beyond the paint and appearance, our goal was to give our teachers some love. We hope they sit in that lounge and know they are important and their work is vital to our community. May the parents at your school find a way to spread some love to the teachers and staff who fight for our kids every single day. Our hope is that the 2018 Teacher Appreciation Week will be filled with joy, gratitude, and a little bit of spunk!