BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Dorothy Ammerman loaded Shakespeare into her shopping cart early on a Monday morning. It occurred to her that she should be fetching frozen peas, but she’s not a shopper … she’s an English teacher.
With the $40 million renovation of the city’s high schools in full swing, English teachers at Bristol Eastern High School find themselves among the first victims of the hassle of ongoing construction.
Construction workers stripping asbestos floor tiles brushed teachers aside, sealing their hall from traffic. They now find homes in empty classrooms, some moving every period, which brings us to the interesting part.
Feeling for the nomad teachers, the area Shop-Rite donated shopping carts for them to carry books and lesson plans.
“The renovation process will be an adjustment,” said Principal V. Everett Lyons, “but, in the end, we believe it will be well worth it.”
“I feel like a bag lady,” said Ammerman, “wandering the halls, pushing through traffic. I keep expecting people to throw change at me.”
While some teachers are genuinely irritated by the whole affair, most have learned to take it all in stride. Ammerman is currently affixing a bicycle bell to her cart, “for effect,” she said.
“I finally got an elevator key!” bragged Pamela Hayward, Bristol’s 97-98 Teacher of the Year. “The only problem is that I now have to race down the hall to beat the other ‘cart people’ to the elevators.”
One teacher who has missed no chance to cash in on the comedic value of the situation is Bill Sweet. Pushing his cart in a red Shop-Rite vest, he looks half protest, half satire.
“The vest was a gift from a student,” said Sweet, “and I’ve just been having fun with it.”
Sweet points out the various rubber horns on his handle, the action figures attached to the bow.
“It’s as good a way to get around as any,” he said of the carts, “and, besides the occasional cart collision in the hallways, they haven’t caused any major problems.”
Joe Wilbur is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.