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BELLTONES: Scrubbing Elephants with Toothbrushes!

By Mary Ann Bell - Posted Sep 1, 2006
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Back when I was in charge of a junior high school library, there was period of several years when I had the additional duty of being the campus technology specialist. Then one fall, to everyone's delight, we were blessed at my campus with a person whose sole duty was to serve as campus tech supervisor. She arrived full of ideas and enthusiasm, and that term we began to make headway with repairs, staff development, and instructional needs.

We had great plans and designs for lessons, projects, and more staff development for the spring term. On the first day back after the winter holidays, she and I were in the library discussing ideas when a call came for her from the front office. It seemed that she had a class waiting in the computer lab. No one had remembered to tell her, but she was scheduled for half-day teaching duty for that spring semester! The only person more shocked and disappointed than my friend was me. I saw most of our plans evaporating before me.

That very night—and I am not making this up—I had a dream whose meaning was more than clear. I dreamed that my friend and I were working at a circus. Our job was to wash the elephants! We were working away, my friend on one side and me on the other. The hardest part was what they had given us to scrub with ... toothbrushes! There we were, scrubbing energetically, while people passed by and watched us work. I kept pointing out that what we HAD done looked really good, that we were doing our best, and that we were making progress, if slowly. When I woke up I knew that the dream had to do with our present overworked situation. We had a good laugh about this and, since that date, have given each other gifts of elephants on holidays. I have elephant Christmas ornaments, an elephant water gun, elephant figurines, and stuffed elephants. People who do not know me might think they reflect my politics, but really they are about that symbol of being confronted with more work than we could hope to finish.

Nontechnical Help for the Overburdened


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