This is a story that took place before I worked in management, but a good one. I was working at
the center in Irving as a Pre K teacher. We had a staff meeting one night and the owners came in and told us that they were painting the building the upcoming weekend. While prepping for the paint job, the owners were very upset over the number of staples that were placed in the walls. They went on to lecture us that the staples are damaging the building and we were all very dis-respectful. We actually had to sign a document stating that we would not put one staple into a wall. If we did so, then we would be terminated immediately. Someone raised their hand and asked how were we going to enrich the classrooms and decorate. We were told to “figure it out but you better not use staples”.
Well, we were dumbfounded. How in the world are we going to do this. Let me remind you this
was in 1991, so we did not have some of the fancy nail-less items that are sold today. We were
also given a tight deadline to get our classrooms looking functional within a couple of days. We all tried to get to work.
Zoya was a very sweet two year old teacher and was from India. She spoke very broken English. All of the
kids in her class had a letter E in front of their names. I really think some of the kids actually thought their names were ” E-Sandra” or “E-Mary”. Well, much to our surprise, Zoya had it all figured out and was the first to get her classroom decorated and looking fantastic. Enrichments were up on the walls, tons of evidence of learning, and some great bulliton boards. We were all
amazed. But of course the big question? How did she get everything on the walls? So we all walked in including our director and one of the owners, and we asked Zoya, “How did you get everything on the walls?” And she replied…. “Elmers Glue”!
She actually glued everything to the walls! The brand new, freshly painted walls. The owner was
about to explode when the director turned to her and simply said, “You said no staples, and she
did not use one single staple!”
Here is the lesson. You have to be very specific with the instructions you give your staff. You
cannot be upset when they make assumptions. Some people do not have common sense. You have to spell it out and give them options. Really think outside of the box and possible solutions. If you do not give specific directions, then you cannot be upset when you have artwork glued to your freshly painted walls.