Tuesday, 5 April 2016

D is for Dismal Damp

Welcome to my posts for the A to Z Challenge 2016.
This year, I am posting 
Special School Stories
 tales from either my time as a teacher or teaching assistant within classrooms in the U.K. or from my own school days growing up around the country

Getting your own classroom is supposed to be one of the best days of your teaching career – a blank canvas for you to create a wonderful learning environment for your first class of children.  So you can probably imagine what I thought when my first classroom came complete with black mould growing all around the top of three of the walls just below the ceiling. 

Obviously, I asked the Head what was going to be done about it during the long, six week, school holiday and his reply was nothing as there were no funds for extra work (our school corridors were works of art where visitors to the school could marvel at how he had transformed the school from such a run down place – my classroom certainly wouldn’t be on the tour)! 

Therefore, armed with scrubbing brushes, mould remover, tools and anti-mould paint (all paid for by myself) I set to work in the first week of the school holiday ridding my classroom of that horrible mould. It was tough work but I did it – and I got to know the school caretaker well who despite being very overworked found time to clear out the guttering and take a look to see where the problem might stem from.  

You might think my new Head would be pleased with what I had done but on one of his visits to my classroom he told me how and where I wanted to put in effort was up to me and he was only interested in the children’s results.  However, I felt proud of the job I had done and that my new class would not have to sit beneath black mould in a damp classroom.

I didn’t stay very long at the school – my class were wonderful – but unfortunately the attitude of the Head and other members of senior management did not sit well with me – so after gaining my full teaching qualification I left to go back to being a classroom assistant for a while in a much nicer school before girding my loins and becoming a classroom teacher again and luckily never found another damp, mouldy classroom!

So now it's your turn - have you ever been in a damp, mouldy classroom or maybe a hotel room didn't live up to expectations with that ominous wet patch on the ceiling or wall?  Have you ever gone beyond the call of duty to be given the brush off by your "superiors"?  Tell me all about it in the comments below and remember you know I'd love to know :)


  1. I think it would be illegal for kids to be in a classroom with black mold! But, good for you to clean it up. I'm not sure I would have had the stamina!

  2. Hi again, Pempi. My only teaching experience was in a private language school in Spain. No mould, but it was very cold in the winter. My boss was so mean, she wouldn't agree to putting in heaters for us.

  3. Hi again, Pempi. My only teaching experience was in a private language school in Spain. No mould, but it was very cold in the winter. My boss was so mean, she wouldn't agree to putting in heaters for us.

  4. Hi Pempi,
    I found your blog because you visited mine (https://saritabandita.wordpress.com/). Thank you for that and for the nice comment. I am a teacher also. The school that I'm in now is very nice and well-maintained. A few years ago, however, I taught kindergarten at a private school that was very low on funds. I spent a couple of weeks painting, cleaning, and decorating during my summer break. It turned out very nice and unlike your head, the school principal did appreciate it, especially since I paid for it all. In the middle of the school year, my classroom which was located under the school's kitchen, started raining red-tinted, salsa-scented water from the ceiling. Turns out a pipe broke in the kitchen and the dish water followed the course of gravity and made a big puddle on the carpet. Long story short, I ended up having to relocate my classroom in the middle of the school year so they could fix the plumbing problems. I didn't bother trying to paint the new classroom.

  5. Pretty dangerous that black mold. I lived in an apartment for awhile that had lots of mold and got really sick there. Not good. Seems wrong the school even allowed it!
    Pioneer Women in Aviation A-Z

  6. Once we stayed in a hotel room so bad that I sat in the car until my husband bleached the entire bathroom. We fitfully slept in our clothes, chair propped up against what turned out to be an unlockable door.

  7. I would have done the same thing that you did, cleaned it up myself. Mold can be dangerous.
    Oh yes, I've stayed in some creepy motels where I couldn't bring myself to sleep on the bed. I would sit up in the chair all night.
    It hasn't happened too often, mainly when it was late and we didn't have reservations.

  8. Yay you for scrubbing that classroom!

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

  9. How on earth are students supposed to work and function effectively in damp, unhygienic conditions...definitely not conducive to learning!
    Well done on taking the initiative and scrubbing the class!
    Writer In Transit

  10. Your post brings back memories! My class had a terrible mold problem due to leaking valves in the heating/cooling system. Unknown to me, our custodian would replace the moldy ceiling tiles but simply thoss the moldy ones into the ceiling area, where they continued to spread brown and black mold. I eventually discovered this when I took out a moldy tile myself, quite desperate for relief. I was sick all the time (allergic to mold) and only got better during vacations. Glad I am not still there!

  11. Wow, your Head sounds like a complete jerk! Talk about ungrateful! How wonderful of you to go out of your way and do all that work. Doesn't surprise me though...all the teachers I know do so much above and beyond what is asked. Teachers truly are the best people!

  12. How awful! I'm glad you got the mold off, but it's a shame that you had to do it all yourself because of "no funds". All they care about are tests, not people's health.

  13. Not surprised to hear that you were keen to leave. Teaching is hard enough without such a lack of support and appreciation from the top.

    Debs Carey

  14. I can't imagine the Head expecting anyone to work in a moldy classroom. Mold can be a nasty health risk. A few years back, mold was discovered in the walls of some of the classrooms of the elementary school my kids attended. The kids who were in those rooms were relocated for the amount of time it took to clean it up. My daughter ended up in a church classroom for the duration. Mold can be really bad stuff.

  15. Think of all the breathing issues you saved those kids from!