Dear Claire,

Yesterday was great. I had forgotten how fantastic it feels to put on some loud music and move furniture.

That’s not to say that I’m glad your entire class was boxed up and moved to the middle of the room; that was… not ideal. But it made our conversation necessary; we had to ask the question, “What’s the best setup to help kids learn?” Your attention to setting the table makes me smile, since we both know what a big deal it is for freshman on the first day of school. For your/our class to be a place where risks can happen, we have work to do before students arrive on Monday.

And, thanks to the magic of FaceTime, you could give me directions from the comfort of your own home, comforting a squalling infant while I ditched the T.A. desk in the corner and moved the Algeblocks into cabinets.

Oh… and the power went out

Power Out Bub

Yeah. Right in the middle of Principal Bub’s Welcome Back address, just BEEoooooo. Darkness. He rolled with it, though. The School Resource Officer (why do we have cops in schools?) had to leave to direct traffic, since the entire city of LaVerne lost power.

Anyway, the real reason I’m writing is to reiterate what I mentioned briefly on the phone.

I’m so stoked that we agreed on everything.

It would have been awkward if you insisted on the desks in rows and plenty of counter space for worksheets. Absolutely, it’s your class and I’m just the long-term sub for the next 12 weeks, so I will do what you want. But it’s so much easier when you say, “Yeah, if we move that file cabinet, there’s more room for whiteboard walls.”

If it wasn’t a FaceTime call, I could have hugged you. I’m so glad you recognize the need for the class to be an inviting place for students to learn, and even more excited you’re willing to sacrifice that tiny, black table which you’ve had forever in order to get there.

Anyway, here’s the before and after for Day One. I had some help from Mr. Eckler, a fridge-sized ASB student named Logan, and Kendrick Lamar.


I’ll let you know how the rest of the organization goes on Friday. Oh, and I haven’t even touched the syllabus yet; I’ve been so excited to set the table for your/my learners on Day One.

Tomorrow will be colorful paper and positive-attitude phrases like “Be Sincere” and “Take a Risk.”

More to come later as we get our kitchen ready. I’m getting hungry and Monday is getting closer.

~Matt “We Gon’ Be Alright” Vaudrey