There’s a moment of hesitation, a pause, hand outstretched, nose prematurely wrinkled, as each student reaches for the handle. The fear, I suppose, is inaccuracy on the part of the green and red radial dial that tells the world that the port-a-potty is occupied. So far those dials have done the trick, and we’ve had no problems with either the portable toilets or the hand washing stations, though the latter needed the explanation: “It’s just like at a petting zoo at the fair.”
It struck me, as I was standing guard over a bank of student port-a-potties (something all school site administrators recognize as falling squarely under the heading: “other duties as assigned”) that while we’d had the water off for a while, I hadn’t heard one complaint. Sure I’d seen some folks who wished Teacher Appreciation Week had begun with doughnuts instead of this, but overwhelmingly the attitude modeled by our staff was one of smiles and shrugged shoulders. “We’ll be cool,” one teacher said. She was right.
The kids got it too. Sure they were curious about why the water was off, but they took the challenge in stride, and laughed as much as they looked at each other with trepidation before approaching those red and green dials.
In keeping the parents in the loop, we posted information on Twitter and our school Facebook page. As we knew more, we sent an email home to let moms and dads know what questions to ask when their kids got home.
Schools, like life, contain surprises, both good and bad, and it’s not the problems that define us, but our response to them. Today I’m both pleased and proud that the teachers, staff, and students at Diegueño handled what could have been a stressful situation with grace, patience, and a customary smile.
They’re cutting into the cement now, and I’m hopeful the water will be back tomorrow, but whether we start the day with port-a-potties or not, I know that our school community will meet the day with optimism and an attitude that all will be well. Diegueño is like that, unhesitatingly ready for the unexpected world ahead.
As soon as we have running water back, I’m giving high fives!