Tools of the trade

11 Mar

When I was in teachers college, they told me I would build a toolbox over time. They talked about management and engagement strategies I could add. They talked about books and songs and stories. They never said I needed to add real tools.

For years, I kept an allen wrench in my desk for those occasions when a student’s desk suddenly collapsed on one side, a leg giving out. I had jewelers tools to replace the screws that fell out of glasses and reattached arms.  My 4th graders thought I was a rockstar.

In my new school, my repair work is more mundane. I replaced the latch I’d torn off  the only locking cabinet the day I forgot my keys.

Yesterday, I tackled an annoying problem that has been growing: failing laminate.


I looked in my teacher toolkit and found just the right tools


The repair was made in about five minutes. It will sit over the weekend and, when I return to school on Monday, I will remove the tape.

Mission accomplished.


20 Responses to “Tools of the trade”

  1. Michelle Brezek (@BigTimeLiteracy) March 11, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    Love this play on teaching tools. So true! I also have some tools in one of my drawers for similar problems!

  2. pamlingelbach March 11, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    For years I kept a flat-head screwdriver, eyeglass repair kit, and a small hammer. They got used more than I would have ever thought possible!

  3. arjeha March 11, 2017 at 7:37 am #

    And they say teachers just teach. Sometimes doing things yourself is so much easier than calling maintenance.

  4. Lisa Orchard March 11, 2017 at 7:55 am #

    I see this a lot in our schools. It’s hard when there’s no money in the budget to replace things that are broken.

  5. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) March 11, 2017 at 7:57 am #

    Well done! My teaching toolkit mainly involves those little allen wrenches for putting together bookshelves. Or a screwdriver for changing the heights of desks and table legs. Fun post idea.

  6. elsie March 11, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    You are the one to go to for repairs! Hope that glue holds for a long time.

  7. aggiekesler March 11, 2017 at 8:20 am #

    You’re so handy! These are great ideas!!

  8. teachworkoutlove March 11, 2017 at 8:40 am #

    Awesome – i totally know what you mean by a toolbox – like with actual tools not teaching strategies 🙂

  9. Frances A Mccrackin March 11, 2017 at 8:44 am #

    See how many of us relate! Nice slice.
    I am old enough to remember a TV game show where they would take a break, go into the audience, and ask if anyone had (blank) in their purse. Like a coupon that expired 5 years ago, or some such odd thing. I always think teachers have lots of odd things because we really do need lots of odd things.
    Love how you are a rockstar to your kids because you can solve their practical problems 🙂

  10. hollymueller March 11, 2017 at 9:00 am #

    Ha! I love your play on words. I’m not quite as handy as you, but I do have a hammer and nails for hanging things. Unfortunately, if I want to hang something in the brick, I have to call a custodian!

  11. Tara Smith March 11, 2017 at 9:05 am #

    Funny! I keep a bunch of tools in my classroom, too. It’s so much easier to just do it than have to put in a work order and wait a month or so before maintenance gets around to it.

  12. maryannreilly March 11, 2017 at 9:28 am #

    This made me laugh and think how ingenious you are. I also thought about the toolkit of actual teachers is filled with so many nonacademic tools. Thanks for that reminder.

  13. barbara suter March 11, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    This reminded me of my first few years of teaching when I would go to certain veteran teachers’ classrooms to borrow things. Then I finally wised up and began my own collection of odds and ends! A fun post.

  14. pokeygirl5 March 11, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    As a teacher just entering this profession- it is good to think ahead of those “other tools” I will someday need.

  15. terierrol March 11, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

    Yes, teachers never know what they are going to have to do next. I have my tool box under my desk. I wouldn’t feel safe without it.

  16. Lisa C March 11, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

    This is a great story! It’s so important to be self reliant. I walked past a classroom one day and the teacher was evacuating because her sink was spraying water everywhere. I said, “Well, turn off the water!” She thought I meant turn off the faucet. I crawled under the sink and turned it off at the source and saved the day! 😉 The custodian didn’t show up for another 10 minutes, so at the very least I saved a few litres of water.

  17. wahooteacher March 11, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    I will have to share this slice with my practicum student!

  18. paulabourque March 11, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

    Haaa! Perhaps you should go to your local teachers college and share some of your literal tools in your toolkit! LOVE it.

  19. JudyK March 11, 2017 at 8:12 pm #

    I love your play on words, and it’s all so true! I hope that your failing laminate is still in place for you on Monday! ~JudyK

  20. jet197 March 13, 2017 at 7:01 am #

    This made me smile! We certainly are jacks of all trades in this profession! I liked the way you began this story with the tools for teaching they teach us about in college.. Very clever, and I hope your laminate repair sticks!

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