New Teacher Inherits Nasty Classroom!!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Trendy_Teacher, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Trendy_Teacher

    Trendy_Teacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 22, 2011

    Hi All! I am a new teacher who is very excited about my first year! I am having a problem with the classroom though! The old teacher left EVERYTHING up and didn't clean her desk (all her personal items are EVERYWHERE) or ANYTHING off when she left (she resigned). There are literally dust bunnies and cobwebs hanging off chairs and mold in the sink where she let the paint brushes sit in water over the summer. There is paint on the walls, and it's just awful! There is YEARS worth of unorganized "stuff" and the manipulatives and shelves really need a revamping. I am sick with sinus and allergy infection b/c I went in and cleaned up this past week. We have quite a large allotment for the school year to spend on classroom supplies and stuff. I don't know what to keep or throw away though.
    Since everything is so messy (just thrown into boxes, no labels), I feel like tossing it and starting new, but I don't know if I could/should.
    And I don't like the round tables in the room and the wooden shelves are just nasty. Where does all this stuff go when a new teacher doesn't need it or wants to upgrade/replace things?
    Don't get me wrong, I am happy to finally have my dream job, but I can't be at my full potential until I clean this room thoroughly enough so I won't get sick (I'm a very clean person). I also don't want my kids to get sick. I want to talk to my Principal about it, but feel like maybe he will think I am out of place as a new teacher. What do I do?
     
  2.  
  3. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 22, 2011

    Does the school have a storage room? All the schools I've been at have one. I went through the same thing last year. The room was really bad. I just dumped everything in boxes, taped them, put the teacher's name on it and asked the maintenance crew to bring them to the basement (storage room).

    I probably could have sorted out some stuff but I just didn't have the time or energy and if would have taken me a long time to really sort things out.
     
  4. SuperFudge

    SuperFudge Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 22, 2011

    As a former first year teacher who inherited a classroom from a retired teacher.......THROW IT OUT!!! I tried to keep it to see if I could use it, and I ended up discarding about 99% of her old junk at the end of the first year.
    Start new. You don't have time to sort through it all. You have lesson plans to write, meetings to attend, students to get to know, forms to create, etc, etc, etc. Dump it in the garbage and move on :)
     
  5. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,010
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 22, 2011

    Wow! I've subbed in rooms like that and there's definitely a link to the disorganization of "stuff" and the behavior of the sudents. I'd throw it all into boxes organized the best you can and maybe invite the other teachers to pick through. It might make you some brownie points with them and thin out the suff. Then you can go through what's left and see what you can use and what you need to add.
     
  6. mom2sands

    mom2sands Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    387
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 22, 2011

    I inherited a nasty classroom my first year too. There was a teacher there for one year before me, but before her the teacher had been there for 30 years! Half of the room was full 2/3 of the way up to the ceiling after the janitors slid everything over to clean the floors. There were mimeographed worksheets and LP records and a record player. There were felt board pieces that looked like silverfish or moths had gotten to them. It was disgusting. I got rid of a ton of things and was congratulated for "clearing out" the room! This is my fourth year coming up and I probably only have 10% of what was left orginally!
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,509
    Likes Received:
    27

    Aug 23, 2011

    If you can teach with it, keep it. Put the item in some area that you will sort through later. Once you do start the sorting process, decide how you will organize the items you're keeping (bins, zip-lock bags, poster boxes, bookshelves, etc).

    If you can't teach with it, toss it. I keep a large, tear-proof, black garbage bag and I just toss out anything I really do not need.

    If its moldy, smells, damaged-- throw it out.

    If it is an educational tool that is useable but you don't teach that topic, offer it up to other teachers. I take a picture of the item(s) and e-mail the faculty school-wide with what the item(s) is/are and if they want it. I give them 48 hours and then it gets tossed.

    Any personal items from previous teacher-- toss in box, write name on box, and ask the maintenance crew/your principal where it can go.

    Good luck! :)
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,509
    Likes Received:
    27

    Aug 23, 2011

    Oh-- and for health issues, you might want to wear a face mask and goggles (not kidding). If you have an air purifier, I would bring that in and let it run until your room is completely cleaned up.
     
  9. Trendy_Teacher

    Trendy_Teacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2011

    LOL BioAngel! I actually went out and bought a face mask and some more gloves! Didn't think about the goggles, but I have some old ones from science class I will have to pull out!
     
  10. Trendy_Teacher

    Trendy_Teacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2011

    Thanks everyone! It is good to know that I can get rid of this stuff! I want my kids to be in a safe, CLEAN environment so that I can teach and they can learn effectively.
     
  11. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,199
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 23, 2011

    My advice: do a very quick sort. Have 3 piles: keep, toss, give away. Don't spend a lot of time making decisions-go with your gut.

    At my school we place furniture we no longer want in the hallway for the custodians to put in storage. Unwanted items go in the teacher's lounge for anyone to take.
     
  12. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,509
    Likes Received:
    27

    Aug 23, 2011

    I think it is also important that students learn that it is a good thing to have a clean environment to learn in. I always encourage my students to participate in cleaning up the classroom after a lab activity-- as long as it is safe and age-appropriate for them. The kids usually love enjoying washing down the tables if they get to use a big sponge and a bucket of soapy water.
     
  13. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,409
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2011

    I took over my room after a string of teachers a mile long. The longest one teacher had been in my grade was 2 years, over the previous 15 years. I'm not sure why, other than they kept hiring young new teachers fresh out of college, who hated living in our small town. They'd work long enough to get a little experience, then bail.

    Needless to say, there was a lot of crap in this room. Just a mish mosh of crap. My first year, I was 9 months pregnant when school started, and in no shape to be cleaning up or out, so I just kept it all shoved in cupboards. Every few weeks after my baby was born, I'd stay late one evening and clean out one box, or one shelf, or one cupboard.

    That next summer, anything I hadn't used or needed the past year, I tossed. I'm talking videos taped off TV from 1992 (actually, I just found another video the other day, caught behind a cupboard. The date on it was 1988).

    I have never regretted nor missed any of that old junk. It's just not all necessary. I also don't believe in keeping anything on printed copies--if it's not on my computer or Google, I probably won't be using it.
     
  14. Toast

    Toast Companion

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2011

    Unless you know you have an immediate need, toss it. You won't miss it and less clutter is better anyway.

    One thing to keep in mind while you are throwing stuff away though. Make sure you aren't tossing any district purchased/owned manipulatives or materials. That way you won't end up owing for them.
     
  15. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,162
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2011

    :hugs: everyone has already given so much great advice, there really isn't much i can add except to let you know you are not alone. last year, i was blessed to be in a classroom where the former teacher removed EVERYTHING except things that she thought I'd be able to use (ie: portable centers, books, laminated posters)

    However, my first year teaching, I had a room similar to yours. It was disgusting and the small storage closet each teacher had in the classroom was literally filled from floor to ceiling with junk that I couldn't use, like cassette tapes with the tape all pulled out and thick with dust.

    You can do it! Just wear the mask and keep pushing
     
  16. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2011

    Ahhh, the curse of the new teacher. This past year has been my second go-around with this "bug."

    I've found that much of what is in the classroom actually belongs to current teachers who may or may not have inherited the items themselves. This past year it seemed that each time I came in my room during a one week period I would find new "treasures." Guided reading books, dingy pocket charts, old smelly textbooks, etc. I wish I knew who dropped them off so I could properly "thank" them. There were a few days when I was in my room and a teacher would come in carrying a stack of who knows what and she was suprised to see me in there. I like to think I cut her off at the pass.

    The previous posters are right. You'll probably never find a use for 80% of the items that were left in your room. I know how busy and overwhelmed you are. Having only gone through this twice, I'm no expert but here's my method:

    Immediately look through for the "junk" and throw that away. This includes anything for technology no longer available (floppy discs, VHS tapes, props for a play in a reading book that was retired 8 years ago, etc.). This should clear out some room.

    Then, I try to box up what I don't have time to sort through. If there are items in folders, notebooks, boxes of supplies, etc. I try to put these in a box together. Usually your classroom will look tremedously better once you have boxed everything up. You know it's cluttered but the average student or parent thinks you have a dedicated purpose for each box.

    I try to take a bit of time each week to go through a box. If you need to, hold off on this until some weekend when you can get into the building or winter break even. Don't try to take it all on at once or you'll be likely to throw everything away.

    I know some people have suggested that you throw absolutely everything away and while I certainly understand the sentiment, I know that I wouldn't be able to do that. For one thing, you may be asked later to get something that was school property. My last school wasn't very organized in that manner but I know that a few friends work at districts where every school-purchased item is stickered and cataloged. I try to wait to really throw anything I'm unsure of out until after the year is over. I know that as soon as I dump it, I'm going to need it. If I haven't used something for a year and can't think of any constructive uses for it, it's fair game for the trash.
     
  17. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,192
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2011

    I would also talk to the principal about the unsanitary conditions and after I have thrown stuff out I would ask that the custodians give it a very thorough cleaning. I am betting they have been avoiding the room because of the mess. Talk about health, safety, mold, whatever it takes for him/her to take action.
     
  18. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Messages:
    2,041
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2011

    I have not read through all of the posts, but I am so sorry! My room was filled with junk when I moved into it! Over the years I have manged to sort though the junk and slowly throw it out or donate it. It is still a work in progress.....many years later....good luck!
     
  19. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,409
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2011

    Oh, and another thread reminded me of this:

    Start an inventory list right now. Note every single item that is in the room, and start another one for every single item you bring into the room. If you send something to storage, note the date and who took it, and where it went if you know. When you're finished, give a copy to the principal and the secretary. It's a lot of work, but will be worth it if and when you leave this room.
     
  20. missapril81

    missapril81 Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 26, 2011

    I moved from teaching Special Ed to 3rd grade this year. I lucked out that they room was painted and really cleaned this summer. The teacher before me went to 1st grade and left me a lot of books (which I am still going through). Now that school started there is just no time. I have less than 3 days to set up due to interviewing for the job transfer in my building on a Friday and we got our kids the following Thursday. The teacher that originally took the job, transferred back to his middle school job. He had everything piled up when I got their. I donated a lot of the items to other teachers. We have a big pile in the hall of things that teachers took out of their rooms that other teachers could pick through. I hope you get a chance to get a lot done in your room. There really is too much to do when you inherit a classroom and not sure what all you are going to need. I used to hate throwing things out. I always felt what if that comes in handy at a later time.
     
  21. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    I would DEFINITELY speak with the principal. And I agree with the facial mask/goggles/gloves. Be careful. Hopefully you've made some progress... and by the way, we would NOT be allowed to "up and leave" at our school with a really messy room.
     

Share This Page

test