I've never been a afraid of a good day of hard work. I can watch people do it for hours on end.
But think about the toughest jobs you never had. Garbage truck attendant in August. Harbor Tunnel tolltaker. Sweepup guy at the zoo. Presidential hairspray applier. Elementary or middle school teacher.
Yes, I saved the toughest for last. People who find it within themselves to stand in a classroom filled with people ascending through adolescence, or toward it, get all my applause. It's tough just dealing with the kids, and now I understand the parents feel that teachers are on call 24-7 to answer questions, and demands to give little Ambrose an A on his homemade nuclear weapon because he tried so very, very hard.
So maybe we can understand why the staff at Kensington Elementary School, down near Washington, D.C, felt the pressure building up on them, and why the principal used to think it would be a good idea to set up a "smash space" down at the old schoolyard. Barbara Leiss is her name, and she dragged in an old broken rocking chair and some baseball bats, encouraging the teachers to stop by the loading dock and while away some free time by whaling away on the old chair.
Leiss says she got the idea from reading business magazines that told of companies having smash spaces for employees. Or maybe she remembered the heyday of Monday Night Football on ABC, and the days when, for charitable donations, people could express their opinion of announcer Howard Cosell by heaving a brick into a TV that was broadcasting Cosell's image and annoying adenoidal whine.
Anyhow, when the parents found out that Mrs Krabappel was down by the boiler room making like Babe Ruth on a Boston Rocker, they were so mad, they almost asked to come down and use the room themselves!
"This was a lapse in judgment," Leiss wrote to the parents in what might be the biggest misunderestimation since General Custer said, "I'll be right back."
Sarah Sirgo is the director of school support and improvement for Montgomery County Public Schools, and she says the school system doesn't condone the plan and it looking into the matter.
"MCPS has a long-standing commitment to providing its employees with wellness support to help staff manage stress," Sirgo said.
In other words, "we have counselors for that, unless they're too busy busting up furniture at elementary schools..."