We are a very small school here at CHS, and we operate in an environment that most people don’t call to mind when they think of “school.”
We’re working out of an old textile mill. The gigantic, cavernous space has been modified so that there are walls for classrooms around the perimeter of a vast, open common area. Elaina, the Goddess of the Front Desk, has a wall of windows at the front of her office, so she can command a pretty good view of that open space. Also? The bathrooms are just on the other side of her door, so students needing to use the facilities must walk past her to get there.
The teachers decided, long before I came to work here, that paper passes to get from a class to another destination were just not going to work; something more creative needed to be employed (we are, after all, an arts school). One teacher has a three-foot tall, wire stature of a frog playing the saxophone. One teacher has half a giant, paper-mache egg on a long, Mardi Gras bead necklace. My predecessor had the most singularly annoying pass in the place; a leather Christmas tree with jingle bells on it. I couldn’t keep that; I needed something that would indicate to The Goddess that the student holding the pass was one of mine, but it needed to be something that wouldn’t annoy everyone in the building every time one of my kids needed to pee.
She’s Quan Yin, the Bodhisattva of compassion. She’s 7 pounds of concrete, and when I first brought her in, Elaina knew right away who she was. She was delighted by the thing, and was looking forward to seeing her walk by with my babies.
When I signed on to IM the other day, I saw that Elaina had added a comment about the Bodhisattva bathroom buddy on her instant message status. Observe:
One of the highlights here has to be the hall passes, which are as eclectic as our school. Personal favorite: Mrs. Chili’s. It’s a 7-pound cement statue of Kwan Yin, who represents warmth and compassion. Pass with a purpose.
I love that she loves her, and I love that she gets a little grin every time one of my kids goes by.