Democracy at Work!

It’s an election year. We are certainly seeing democracy at work, the better aspect of its operation and the weaker elements that invoke inevitable criticism. It is going to be a tough road ahead compared to years past. We hope the outcome will be satisfying. It could go either way. Meanwhile on a more microscopic scale, in my school, we are seeing democracy at work. Well, it has to start somewhere. It takes the form of a petition the teachers and staff will sign to have a new electric water heater installed in the faculty gym. We don’t expect the school to spend the money without some duress. They aren’t going to roll over and play dead. We have to exert political pressure, or what? We strike! Not likely, but we will certainly gripe. We are tired of taking cold showers. Surely the administration can understand the distastefulness of that.

Some coworkers and I got this brainchild a few weeks ago after one last dousing with cold water set us over the edge. We had seen petitions for other issues succeed in our school and within the community. Petitions are the latest thing online. There are websites where you can initiate one and call for sponsors and supporters. That works for larger issues, but I am not sure it would apply to one small school. Plus hot showers is not an emotional concern that tugs at anyone’s heart strings, but ours. Meanwhile we did some research on the best electric water heater and were pleasantly surprised that they are affordable. Plus, we are entitled as a school to an institutional discount. I can’t think of one reason on earth why we won’t be enjoying warm to hot showers in the near future. How many perks after all does the faculty get? You can count them on one hand. We don’t get free lunches or a discount in the staff cafeteria. We don’t even get free morning coffee or tea. Kids fare far better than teachers when it comes to the little extras.

We took a poll amongst the faculty and the biggest complaint had to do with the gym. Almost to a man, they voted for hot showers as the next obligatory perk. We thought about straight out asking for the new hot water system after we realized that the administration did not find a new one to be obvious. Then the petition crossed our minds. We wrote a great one that wasn’t too self-serving. It spoke about better productivity while teaching, happier staff, and less conflict in general. We tried to give the administration reasons and benefits to them. It wasn’t that we were greedy for steamy showers when other areas of the school infrastructure needed attention. Somehow we wanted a symbolic gesture on the part of administration that faculty mental and physical health matters. It would not be reaching for them to give us the hot water heater system as a token of appreciation.