Say the word “portable classroom” and you can watch the color drain from the faces of parents and teachers. Portable designs have gotten better over the years, and Oregon school administrators often see portables as a necessity when enrollment outstrips building capacity. Now, Portland designers say they’ve got a greener and healthier portable classroom.
Ben Cota has 14 years of experience in the hot, cold, noisy, and sometimes stuffy conditions of teaching in a portable classroom he says is 20 years old.
Cota explains, “This absorbs way more heat per classroom than inside. You don’t have that huge air conditioning and heating units.”
So Cota says he’s always opening and shutting the window.
“Open a window, here comes a lawn mower. Close the window. Open a window, here comes recess,” he says laughing.
Cota says his students put up with a lot. And he winds up using class time to adjust the temperature or to respond to uncomfortable kids.
Ben Cota: “They do complain all the time: ‘It’s too hot in here, it’s too stuffy, it’s too cold.’
Rob: “Do you find yourself agreeing with them?”
Ben: “Yeah, most of the time, I agree with them! Most of the time, I just nod, and say ‘Yeah, I know sit down. We’ve got stuff to do.’”
Students and teachers aren’t the only ones complaining. Margarette Leite remembers joining the chorus of concerned parents and neighbors, when her daughter’s class moved to a Portland portable.
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