I spent a whole day in my room - and you can't tell

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I was able to work in my classroom for about 8 hours yesterday -- and I got almost nothing done! I felt great to finally be able to start, though, what a relief!

    It turns out I'm getting a room that a retiring teacher had for 17(?) years, and she left me so much stuff! I don't know what to do with the things I won't use (dittos from 1991, anyone :lol:? Reading workbooks from 1992 anyone?) I put usable things into a big box, and I plan to write FREE on the box and stick it in the hall during inservice. But I don't know what to do with things like really old workbooks or guided reading books I'll never use. I'll have to ask my mentor about that.

    I'm psyched about some of the things she left behind that I totally needed: an overhead organizer (the wrap-around pocket kind), 4 different types of pocket charts, about 300 books (80% leveled readers), a globe, some recess balls, hula hoops (I think she used these for Venn's, I will, too), chart paper, tons of sentence strips, construction paper (all white, but it's a start!), tons of Literacy posters, glue sticks, and overhead transparencies, to name a few items. :) I also have a file cabinet that is overflowing with files....that in itself is a day's work! :huh:

    She was a hoarder, though! Oh my! I literally have about 100 boxes of chalk, 50 Expo markers :2up:, and 75 chart markers :2up:. And I probable threw away about 100 dead markers!! She also collected thumbtacks (hundreds), staplers (7), staples (thousands), elastics (thousands), index cards (hundreds), and binder dividers (about 50 packs). I think I have enough of these things to get me through my first few years :lol: My desk is wobbly and every drawer is broken, so I'm bummed about that :(

    Does anyone have tips for working in my room? I have no idea what I'm doing, so I spent the day jumping from task to task. My mentor will be helping me in my room next week, so that will help, but I'm really overwhelmed. :help: I'm having a blast, however. I wish I could go in today!!
     
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  3. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I'm getting a good laugh out of your post. I bet I'll become one of those "hoarders".

    I put things on desks (after arranging them) and cleared off, desk by desk. I also set up "areas" of the room that I cleaned out one at a time.
     
  4. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Aug 9, 2008

    My desk wasn't in the best shape, so I just got rid of it. I haven't missed it yet (ask me in a few weeks though). Everything I used to keep in them is in 2 3-drawer organizers. I use my kidney table as my "desk"
     
  5. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Tell your plant manager/head custodian about your desk, that it needs to be removed. I also use the kidney table as my main place to sit, though I don't store anything there.
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I inherited a room last year from a slob (who moved classrooms/grade levels- I should have made her come clean it all :mad:). There were things everywhere! Even spilled pop in a cabinet with a Walmart bad full of forks stuck to it :eek:
    My advice would be to NOT go through all the cupboards, files, etc... Get your room ready from the surface. That way, you don't crunch your self on time. Once that is done, open up all the hiding spots and clean it out.
    I made room in a few cupboards (as a first year I didn't have too much stuff) and cleaned out the rest as the year went on. I was still cleaning out in May. But, I started with the things I thought I'd use and finished with the junk.
    The way it sounds, you could work around the clock for the next week and still not be ready for school!
     
  7. storyh

    storyh Companion

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I know how you feel, Pisces. I have a big box of worksheets that I don't know what to do with. My room is a mess, though probably not like yours. Sounds like you did get something done, so that's good. I will be thinking of you while I rush to get my room ready.
     
  8. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

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    Aug 9, 2008

    LOL! I know I am ment to go into teaching also since I got excited about all your free stuff you can use! About the books and workbooks you can not use, well some students "play" school at home so they might like them for that or for extra practice at home if some parents ask for it.
     
  9. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    You know, I think you're right. I might box up all those files from the file cabinet and drag them home. Maybe I'll go through them bit by bit, maybe I won't. If I don't miss them now, how could I miss them later? At least then I'll have an empty file cabinet where I can start from scratch.

    I'm lucky to have a good amount of cabinets/closets/bookshelves. I'll consolidate it all, then work through her things in my "spare time" LOL
     
  10. bballlady

    bballlady Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I was in the same predictament when I started at my school. I was a mid-year replacement. The previous teacher had been in the room 30 years and NEVER threw out. I grabbed large black garbage bags and dumped. I dragged the bags home and disposed of them in my garbage. It was the only way I could manage and make room for my things. I figured that if I needed something I would find it somewhere. I couldn't waste the time going through all of her things. Plus, she was entirely disorganized with all subject matter mixed together. Once I cleaned out her things I felt so much better. I felt I now had my own room.
     
  11. fun2tchk

    fun2tchk Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I also can totally relate. After being a long-term sub in Kindergarten for 2 years, I took over for another k teacher who was retiring. I had become good friends with her, so she left me everything from her 30+ years. While I was entirely grateful, it was also very overwhelming. And because she still consistently came in to visit our team of teachers and took on a part time tutoring job in our building, I was so afraid to get rid of stuff. My first full year, I even kept one of her bulletin boards up out of guilt. I even had co-workers coming in to borrow things that had belonged to her, and she would come back to look for things she left to borrow for her tutoring groups. Needless to say, it has been difficult making it feel like my room. Last year I finally threw a bunch of stuff away. And this summer I took 2 big boxes of her files home, went through them and chucked almost everything. It felt great to throw stuff. I know I am never going to use it. Old workbooks and such I save and let parents take them for home practice. I will be going into my 3rd year into this classroom, and I still have so much stuff to throw. My only advice…take one cabinet or one file drawer at a time and don’t be afraid to throw. It feels wonderful to just chuck stuff!
     
  12. mdith4him

    mdith4him Companion

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    Aug 9, 2008

    My room has a ton of stuff in it as well, although it is very organized (yay!). I'm in there today arranging the furniture and trying to make a master list of things to do! Good luck :)
     
  13. New3rdTeacher

    New3rdTeacher Comrade

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I know exactly how you feel. I was so excited at first but then I started feeling soooooo overwhelmed. I had to go home and get away when it was getting annoying.
     
  14. ashley57

    ashley57 Comrade

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I, too, took over a retiring teacher's room. I tossed SO much when I moved in and even more this year (I moved again, so I took the time to SORT).

    There were good things...but I don't think I used any of the questionable things that I kept "just in case".

    I finally feel like my room is MINE now. I know that I will use what's in it.

    Sort through what you can now...continue dumping as the year (and years!) go.

    Good luck!
     
  15. alilisa

    alilisa Habitué

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I took over a room that was full of stuff. It went through several teachers that never cleaned out, just added. I trashed a lot of things-some was from the 1950's and kept some. I have a feeling that I will become one of those hoarders of things! ;) It is hard not to, when we run out of things in the office by January and have no replacement until the fall!!
     
  16. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I did the same thing this week. I moved classrooms to my retiring co-workers room. Overall, she was very neat, but she kept all sorts of outdated items.

    Get the obvious junk sorted through. Move your furniture in place. Decorate the walls and get materials in place. Last thing is to go through the hidden areas.
     
  17. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Last year was my first as well and I got a room that was sort of like that but the teacher before wasn't there for 17 years! I got finished what I needed and put the rest elsewhere and then when I had time went through the extra stuff. I took it home too and worked on it when I wasn't stressed or busy with other stuff. By the end of the year I had it paired down and then spent some time this summer really going through it - you do end up throwing a lot out because it is outdated or not what is used at the district anymore or some other reason. But like giraffe said work on the surface and what you need for Aug 25th because those filing cabinets can be a black hole that you won't get out of in time!:lol:
     
  18. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Giraffe gave very good advice. I just went through what I knew needed organization, manipulatives, text books, etc. This summer I went through all the cabinets...I found glitter glue that had turned to sparkly water. So needless to say, it's finally feeling like my stuff in there....not random junk I inherited.
     
  19. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Definitely save the workbooks and worksheets (one copy of each is plenty, though). If you have any purple-ink ditto stuff, toss it--it doesn't copy well on Xerox. The worksheets and workbooks are perfect for extension/remediation, but especially for sub plans! The guided reading books may be good for students who need extra practice to take home.

    AS far as working in your room, I think I would start with the physical arrangement of desks, tables, chairs, etc. Once you have your furniture where you want it, you can start doing some serious cleaning. OH! And when you are setting up, make sure you leave a space for your curriculum materials from the school. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but my first year, I had my room all nicely set up...and then they brought in box after box of teacher's manuals, blackline master books, leveled readers, science materials, etc. I had to relocate items from a whole bookshelf to make room! :blush:

    Your first priority (duh) is to get the room ready for your students. Make sure you know what you're doing the first day...the insides of cabinets can wait, but I'd advise not waiting too long, so that you still do it before all of the adrenaline wears off. The school year can be like a roller-coaster. The slow climb to the top (now) and then once you're off, there are ups and downs, but very little slowing down. Hope this helps!
     
  20. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I'm an organization freak! I'd go crazy knowing I was just cramming stuff everywhere! I need plastic containers and typed labels! That being said, my advice is to toss it! Last year was my first year in my current classroom. My aide is a hoarder and everytime I'd throw something away she was getting it out of the trash! So this year I started going in early and cleaning out cabinets before others even report to work! I just hope that my custodian takes it to the dumpster before she sees what all I've tossed. I cleaned out one entire wall of cabinets and threw well over half of the stuff away!

    My thinking with all the worksheets is could I find this online or did something similar come with my reading series? I bet another teacher would have this down the hall and then I tossed all the worksheets! I even found 30 copies of the same worksheet already ran off and paperclipped together! TRASHED! Everything I'm keeping is on a table that I'm going to organize and put back in the cabinets tomorrow. Then I'm going to set my room up! Once school starts I'll tackle the file cabinet and other storage! Clean out enough space so you can utilize it! I still have about 2 weeks until school starts to get my room all ready! Good luck and start tossing! You'll feel better if you do!:)
     
  21. teacherfourth

    teacherfourth Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I understand taking that long to work in your room and not get anything done, at least as a teaching Asst. Principal I am lucky to have a key to the building so that I can get in on the weekends.
     
  22. michelleann27

    michelleann27 Cohort

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I recommend getting the basic things you need done like your desk etc.. then moving on.
    When i first got to my school a few years ago. It was like everyone dumped what they didnt want in it. Me and my daughter went through all the cabinets and put things in boxing i would never use and placed it outside the classroom door. I was not going to keep things that would never be used for any reason what so ever. It took a while to get things the way I wanted it but it was worth the time it took to get there. I am happy to have a good bit that could be used and I make use of it. Sometimes we get lucky when teachers retire :)
     

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