The Controversy Of The Temperature In The Portables


Sydney De Lambo


Having to go the portables at Blaine High School everyday is less than desirable for most BHS students.  They’re dirty, they’re out of the way for students to go to, and it’s a hassle to go out there during the winter without slipping.  But most of all, its cold.  Not only in the hallways as one would expect, but also the classrooms.  It’s been proven that students can’t learn properly if the classroom is too cold or too hot.  So therefore most teachers set the classroom temperatures to around 70°F.  Which is perfectly warm.  Or at least, that’s what the teachers say.  The students on the other hand, felt very differently when asked it they thought if the portables are too cold.  But with both these groups spending so much time in the portables every day of the week, how is it possible that they have such polar opinions about the temperature?

When a BHS student was asked if they thought the portables were too cold they responded, “They definitely are too cold.  I have to bring a winter jacket it’s so cold.”  They do this because not only is it freezing when they have to come and go from the portables, but because it’s also almost just as cold in the portables long single hallway and still not comfortably warm once you reach the classroom.  So when BHS’s own students agree that it is too cold (possibly too cold to learn) in the portables, why is it like this?

To understand both sides, a teacher who classroom’s located in the portables was asked what the temperature is in their classroom they said, “It’s 76°F degrees in here right now.  Actually if it is 78°F I turn on a fan.”  he said that this is because of the proven fact the students can’t learn nearly as well if it’s too warm.  But it’s not as if the teachers want their student to be cold, “Before class if it’s too cold I turn up the heat.  There’s been times when I walk in here and it’s 40 degrees because students have turned off the heat.”  Even if teachers say it’s the optimal learning temperature students still swear up and down that it’s too cold to learn.

One only needs to take a look at the circumstances of the portables to find the answer to why there are such polar opposite views.  It is quite obvious to any Minnesotan that the weather gets to be pretty cold outside during winter in the Minnesota metro area.  Where the average temperature for our winter round out to be around 10°F degrees, making it one of the coldest regions in the continental U.S. at times.  Taking that into account, it’s important to keep in mind that the fact that the big double doors to the portables are almost constantly opening and closing all day long, it’s pretty clear why the temperature in the portables hallways are so cold.  And that coolness sinks into the classrooms that are connected to the hallway.  While students spend most of their day in the (mostly) warm and comfortable temperature of inside the schools main building, going outside is a shock for them.  But for teachers who spend hours there everyday, it’s just seems like a normal temperature.

In the end no one can stop mother nature from making it cold outside or change the temperature in every classroom to meet each and every person’s wants or needs.  But what we can do is attempt to dress right for the weather,  This means bringing a sweatshirt or jacket to the portables.  We can ask to change the set temperature in the room.  It may not always work but it’s definitely worth a try.  The cold temperatures of the portables certainly aren’t ideal for most, but at least it allows most students to focus better.  Even at the price of it being chilly for students.