Going through last teacher's stuff?

Discussion in 'New Teachers Archives' started by kcbutterfly, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. kcbutterfly

    kcbutterfly Companion

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    Jul 14, 2006

    I'm replacing a teacher who is moving to gifted in the same school. I'm starting to set up my room, and she has left A LOT of stuff for me to use. I'm getting overwhelmed at the thought of having to go through all of it in addition to setting up my room, New Teacher Orientation, Pre-planning, & classes/projects/finals for graduate school all in the next few weeks. What is the best way to go through someone else's stuff? Most of it is in cardboard boxes and either not labeled or labeled incorrectly. None of it is really organized in any way. Do I need to go through it all before school starts? What do I do with the stuff that I don't want? :confused:
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Ouch! Touchy subject. It sounds like she thought she was doing you a favor, but having stuff not labeled is a problem!!

    If you can find it, last year's plan book would be a huge help. It would help you decide how to organize your time and what to emphasize.

    I say take it one box at a time; there's no deadline. But keep an open mind as to what you don't want; you may see things differently once you get going. In any event, ask her politely before you throw out anything.
     
  4. janeycherry

    janeycherry New Member

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    I am in the same boat.

    I just signed my first contract today and saw the room for the second time. During the interview I just glanced at the room. Today I looked more deeper and was told what is there is mine to use or do whatever with. The problem with this is unlike you the stuff left in the room is in piles and not organized what so ever. There are leftover journals from students, borders that make no sense, and just things lacking. I am pulling my hair out b/c I can see it easily taken two days to wade through the mess BEFORE I can set-up the room. This is another issue I am not sure about b/c this rooms lacks storage. Well congrats to you and I wish you the best wading through the material and just know you won't be alone!
     
  5. Teri22G

    Teri22G Rookie

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    I think you should leave it in the boxes for now, find a place to store it until you have time to go through after things have settled down. If you think you need something, ask the other teacher if she had it and maybe she can help you find it and then she feel something she had was important enough to save and you will be making a friend. Organize your things first.
     
  6. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 14, 2006

    I know how you feel!! I have taught 4 years and had 4 different rooms. The first time, the room was previously empty but the others were a chaos of junk mixed with treasures. The worst situation of all was two years ago when I was hired a day after in-service began and the teacher before had left a mess plus all the other teachers apparently (learned this later) had started dropping off their unwanted items knowing the position was unfilled and they would be able to get away with it. I found everything from loose change:) to old paystubs :eek: to an awesome management book I now love :) to already-been-chewed gum. :(

    In my case, I had to go through everything because there was no room to set up unless I did. I just went though it one item at a time. It took a long time. It was the Friday before classes started on Monday at 5 PM and I was just making a dent in the junk. If you can and want to store the stuff elsewhere until you can go through the boxes go ahead and put them to the side. If you have no space I suggest grabbing a friend or even a child you might have from a family friend--10 year olds are excellent organizers. Ask the janitor for lots of trash bags and a large trash can (like the ones they use from the cafeteria) and maybe you'll feel better designating a Goodwill donation bag for things that would be best for someone else. Grab a radio to keep you moving and just go through items quickly one-by-one making quick decisions. Is it like gold to you? obvious trash? Don't haggle too much with the items that are sort-of-in-between...Keep the best of those and donate the rest becuase too much stuff is overwhelming and prevents you from using what you have. I'm sure there is a lot of stuff, so start early but give yourself a decent lunch break.

    Are you postive the teacher is not coming by later to pick up more items? Sometimes that happens.
     
  7. 1st-yr-teacher

    1st-yr-teacher Comrade

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    Jul 14, 2006

    i had and have the same problem...the teacher left a lot for me to go through and it is a blessing and a stressor at the same time....i just went through everything and weeded out what i did not want and am still doing so:)
     
  8. dolphinswim

    dolphinswim Companion

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    Jul 14, 2006

    Oh, me too! I have 15 years of stuff to go through...and I know it is there, I just don't want to start! I was also warned that when I try to throw something out my neighboring teacher will have a fit! Oh joy! Oh well, my room, my stuff...do as I please and be really nice about it!

    Good luck to you, and everyone else going through this!
     
  9. akbeck98

    akbeck98 Companion

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    Jul 14, 2006

    My first year of teaching I got a blank room and I had to buy everything. This past year I got a room with a teacher who had taught for 25 years. Since I had taught 4th grade the year before I had most of the things she had. At the start of the year I didn't want to go through things. I just left the cabinets as they were and stuffed my stuff in! THEN at the end of this year I spent 3 days going through things and threw away tons. I mean she saved everything. It drives me up the wall to have a file folder full of 50 copies from 15 years ago! It was like she ran stuff and didn't use it and just filed it. I felt really guilty throwing so much away, but things were so dated.

    I also gave a lot of the doubles stuff away at the start of the year. I put a box in the teacher's room that said free...it was gone in a few days. Another new teacher was just starting and see took the doubles of the things all classrooms should have. In the end I'm glad I made myself go through it at the end of the year. I thought it I made it through the year without needed her stuff it wasn't too bad then to throw it away!!

    GOOD LUCK!
     
  10. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jul 14, 2006

    Take the trash to the dumpster yourself, so that the other teacher doesn't see you and can't go throw the stuff you are trashing.
     
  11. Stacey23

    Stacey23 Rookie

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    I know exactly how you feel! I went in my classroom for the first time today. At first I was excited, because there were bookshelves full of books! I was always worried I would never have enough books for my students to read, but that worry is now gone!

    Then, I started looking around and realized there were a lot more than books! There was everything from a tropy to a fish tank. Apparently, the teacher isn't coming back for anything else, so I have to figure out what to do with all this stuff! There was a lot left that I can use though, like chalk, watercolors, construction paper, etc. I plan on spending a few days next week going through it all (oh and taking all the staples out of the wall!)
     
  12. Ms. CTP

    Ms. CTP Rookie

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    You are not alone kcbutterfly. I too am replacing another teacher and I'm going in on Tuesday to start digging my way through. There are crates stacked up around the entire perimeter of the room. At a glance I could make out such things as a pile of old posters with tape still on them and an unemptied coffee pot! Unbelievable. At least my principal acknowleged it and is pretty adamant about me just putting the stuff into garbage bags she's provided and putting them into the hall for maintenance to either take to the teacher's new room or throw out. Like you I'm leery of the latter though. Prayerfully you and I will both survive (along with the others here) and this is just the caterpillar stage before we soar into a great year!
     
  13. MissB

    MissB Companion

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    Jul 15, 2006

    My friend is going to the exact same thing. He is replacing a women who taught for about 30 years. She left the room a disaster! He threw soooo much away that she "left him." I think it's more like being too lazy. There was trash- pictures of students and things that he absolutely would never need. It's too bad that people retire or leave and don't care about how they left the room. Like new teacher don't have better things to do than clean out others junk! I feel for all of you on here going through the same situation. But it appears it's common practice...
     
  14. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    I just found this thread and I am so glad I am not alone in this! I am having to sort through 2 teacher's left over mess in my classroom. The last teacher was there only a year, the one before her, retired 2 weeks before school started and took nothing with her! After trying to go through things the past few weeks and trying not to throw too much away, I'm about to get down and dirty with it.
     
  15. elem_teacher3

    elem_teacher3 Companion

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    Jul 22, 2006

    Remember also...when a teacher leaves a position...they leave stuff that the school purchases. Every time you go into a room...there is going to be stuff there you have to go through...be excited about what you find you know you can use the other stuff...if you haven't gone through it try and find a place to store it until you do...there could be fabulous stuff in there.

    It is overwhelming walking into a room seeing stuff someone else's stuff..but in time, with rearranging, unpacking, sorting and yes throwing a good part of it away...the room will become yours. :)

    Congratulations on your new position!!!
     
  16. dolphinswim

    dolphinswim Companion

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    I posted earlier about being in the same boat...well I am now out of that boat and in a different one! I just found out Thursday that I will be moving to pre-k! Now I don't have to go through all that stuff, I have to outfit a room from scratch now!
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    HOw funny-- I'm on the opposite end.

    When I quit 6 years ago, I gave a LOT to one of the new teachers (a former student of mine) I mean everything-- posters, border, even the Nativity Set I used each year (in our Catholic school.)

    Six years later, I'm returning to the same school and starting from scratch. I wonder if he has any hand-me-backs :) ??
     
  18. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    Dolphin can you take a quick look around the other classroom for things that you could use in your new one or is there already another teacher for that class?

    I am so glad that I am not alone!!! I've been stressing too. I am pretty lucky though. The teacher that retired spent all year organizing the clutter and getting rid of a lot of the junk. She even packed it up for me because someone else was getting her classroom (it had a kitchen). I covered her class the last 3 months of school while she was on medical leave for a foot surgery so I got familiar with her organization and stuff. My biggest concern is figuring out how to fit all of her stuff (lots of great books, yay!) into my new room and still have room for my books and stuff. I've been collecting stuff since I entered my university ed program and during my nearly 5 years of subbing! I was carrying around a lot of stress the first few days after I got the job. My mom put me on the right track and said I needed to be enjoying this time. It helped me be thankful for all the stuff I got--though it doesn't really help with the organization :p (I stink at that). Well God gave me the job He will help me do it!
     
  19. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I think it is incredibly rude of the departing teacher not to remove his/her personal items and organize the school-owned items. I don't think anyone should feel hesitant about tossing out anything.
     
  20. elem_teacher3

    elem_teacher3 Companion

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    You know Updaisy...one person could organize it to his/her standards or thinking. And then the other new teacher comes in without knowing anything about the school or old teacher and doesn't realize it hasn't been arranged. Now if it is personal trash that is one thing. What ever happened to rooms being checked before a teacher is signed out????
     
  21. gospelcharlie@h

    gospelcharlie@h Rookie

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    ViolaSwamp,
    I am a new meeber to this site. This has nothing to do with the subject. I would like to know how you put the cute pic next to your name.
    Thanks
    gospelcharlie
     
  22. gospelcharlie@h

    gospelcharlie@h Rookie

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    sorry about misspelled member.
     
  23. ms.jansen

    ms.jansen Companion

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    I am kind of on the opposite end - I will be coteaching this year (7/8 math), but it was her classroom last year so all her stuff is already in there . Since this is my first year, I'm glad I don't have to go out and buy everything (student teaching=no job=no money!), but what do you all think I should bring as far as teacher supplies? I know she has the classroom stuff taken care of, but (hopefully) I will have my own desk and don't really know what all I will need...?

    I have yet to meet her, there is going to be so much to talk about!
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2006
  24. JustWondering

    JustWondering Companion

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    In your profile you can choose the picture, it is called an avatar. I think that your choices are limited by the number of posts you have made. Not sure though on that last part.
     
  25. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    You must have 50 posts on education forums and have been a member for 30 days.
     
  26. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    i had to go through that too. I looked at the dates and threw it out if it was five years old. Fire Laws not let you have ditto machines anymore,
     
  27. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    Yeah directions as posted above. Some people get their avatars from the internet. This one came from this site.
     
  28. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    With my first job, I went into a room where the person had left everything (down to the change Cup in a drawer). It was awful- I am not a very cluttered person & had ppl mad because I was trashing tons of things (old copies from when I was in fifth grade etc lol) The teacher was not teaching anymore, so they just left everything.

    Now with my new job, the person had been teaching in the same room for over 14 years (and never threw anyyyyyything away.) I was hired for that position because I told the principal I would clean the room out (One of the schools initatives is to not have clutter). She said that she threw out tons before I got there, and I must have thrown away at least 20-30 trash cans full of stuff. Workbooks from the 60's and 70's, old papers etc.

    Good luck!
     
  29. Ms. CTP

    Ms. CTP Rookie

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    gospelcharlie@h,
    Thanks for asking the question about the cute pics; I had been wondering about/wanting to ask the same thing, lol.
     
  30. sarajeankinder

    sarajeankinder Rookie

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    Wow!! All I can say is I am sooo glad I'm not the only one going through this. I spent 8 hours today 'going through' my room. I will begin teaching kinder after 4 years of teaching 3rd... so I had to make room for all my 3rd grade resources but when I got to my new school, my classroom had belonged to a veteran teacher of 33 years. So... I threw ALOT away. But I kept some too. It is time consuming but I think it's worth it. If your inservices are starting now, though, then put it off til you feel ambitious on some Saturday.
    I did mine this week because I don't report until Tuesday for inservice. Good luck! Glad to have partners in the clutter-clean-up-crew :)
     
  31. elem_teacher3

    elem_teacher3 Companion

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    I have now gone through everything in my room. I am starting to feel like it is becoming my room. I at least know where stuff is now. LOL

    I am just hoping the teacher who replaced me is getting through the stuff I left behind...I tried to organize it before I left. I have to say that I left my old room more organized than I found it...at least I think I did. The other teacher is probably on a forum somewhere griping about how messy/cluttered her new classroom is. LOL

    I am very excited about this new year!! Only I week to go.
     
  32. Raising3boys

    Raising3boys Companion

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    I think this goes with the territory. When I went in to my portable classroom two years ago, it was a disaster! At one time it was a storage unit for all the teachers. Furniture was piled up to the ceiling. Papers, crates,~you name it, it was in there. I wanted to cry. I was the one made to get rid of it. My two sons and husband had to help the custodians clear it out. It was 90 degrees out and a week before school started. The principal kept saying someone from the district might come by and do it. Might was not something I wanted to hear! We are not union down here so I had to do this on my own. Plus, the walls were purple, brown, and orange. My husband had to paint too!

    This year when I left, I did not want the teacher coming in to feel overwhelmed like I did. I did leave tons of stuff in the back room because it was not mine. It was left by a retired teacher. Also, other teachers left stuff that the district purchased. I did try to label and organize as much as I could but my job was to get my stuff and get out of there.

    I think sometimes the ideal world might be to go into an empty canvas and create it on your own!

    My new classroom has some stuff, but not a lot. I am going from a Title 1 school to one that isn't. So, the teacher who left purchased her things and she took them.
     
  33. collteach

    collteach Comrade

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    You are definitely NOT alone! My first year, I went in to a room (well, actually a trailer) with NOTHING! It was very obvious to me that the other teachers had looted the good desks, chairs and other furniture and left me with the less-than-perfect stuff. It was hard to make it look like a classroom for the first few months, but by Christmas, I had accumulated some nice things. The next year, I was moved into the building (YIPPEE!!) and got a great room. It had just the right amount of stuff, without having junk. Then I left that school to take an elementary position. The classroom was a MESS! I asked the secretary what I should do...and she said, "Stock up on garbage bags and make the janitors some cookies. They will like you more and be willing to take out tons of trash." Apparently, the previous year had been a stressful one. There was a sub at the beginning of the year, a regular teacher for the middle 9 weeks, and a sub at the end of the year! The teacher had to leave suddenly, so she left a lot of her personal stuff. The sub was terrified to throw it out, not knowing if the teacher would return for the next school year. So, I got the mess. I threw away old student work and stuff, but most things just got straightened up because I really needed to get the room set up. At the end of the year, I threw away probably 25 giant trash bags of stuff and several cart loads of bigger trash. At our school, all school-bought items were stamped with the school name and address. If it didn't have that stamp, and no one wanted it, it got pitched.

    Now I live by this rule: If I haven't used it or looked at it that year...I get rid of it. I do hang on to certain student items from the year before until the end of the first quarter. That way, if the 5th grade teachers need work samples or something, I have the important stuff (writing prompts, math assessments, etc).
     
  34. gospelcharlie@h

    gospelcharlie@h Rookie

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    avatars

    MrsCT,
    Hello I found out that all we need to do is click on Tips: Avatars and it will explain the rules..I just found it myself..
     
  35. gospelcharlie@h

    gospelcharlie@h Rookie

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    Avatars

    Ms. CTP
    Sorry that I addressed you by the wrong name.I was typing to fast LOL
    gospelcharlie
     
  36. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    I have spent the last month going through old stuff and now I will spend the next 2 weeks deciding what to use! LOL. It is a vicious cycle, but I am grateful to have so much to go through!
     
  37. 2Teach_is_2Care

    2Teach_is_2Care Rookie

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    other teacher's mess.... grrrrr!

    I know the feeling! I am cleaning, sorting, and organizing a ton of things from the last 4 teachers!!!:eek: When I replaced another teacher last year (end of Nov), she took some things with but left others saying she will get it later. It is now the beginning of the new school year, and I just don't have the room or patience to wait for her to move her stuff. I figure that if she hasn't picked it up by the first day of school I will toss it. Also, the other teacher I worked with left this year and is moving to a new school. She has also left a ton of things. I'm glad to hear (sorry for all of you though) that I'm not the only one in this sinking (feeling) boat. I just take it one day at a time. Tomorrow, i will be going back to continue my journey of decluttering all the junk (and treasures :D) that was left behind.
     
  38. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I'm doing the same thing - only it's my own junk.
     
  39. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    And here I am waiting to go through another teacher's junk :D . She has changed grades and has double resources and a much smaller room :rolleyes: . I told her I would be stopping by tomorrow.
     
  40. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    It's hard to pass up a bargain or a freebie, that's for sure.
     
  41. missanna

    missanna Rookie

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    wow---sooooo relieved I found this post too. Because out of my friends and family I am the only teacher to be. So when I had the chance to pop in for two days before I started my summer job..I was soooo overwhelmed and nooo one understood why. I am replacing a retiring teacher who left me 25 years worth of stuff! I must say she did leave it somewhat organized..and it is still so overwhelming. I am so thankful and glad she left me all the resources in the world but at the same time..im totally confused!! I dont know where to begin! I have yet to figure out a way to organize and set up everything..and i still have so much stuff to go through.

    and on top of all this my uncle is in the hospital :( and looks like this will be prolonged into end of aug. if not sept..so I have no idea how im suppose to put that all behind me and still concentrate 100% ..which i know i have to ..ughhhhhh
     

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