August 15, 2009

Clearing the Decks I


My classroom is setup is the nicest it's ever been this year and the main reason is one you pack-rat teachers will not want to hear (I'm not judging, we're all pack-rats).

I got rid of lots of stuff.

Some of it was mine, but much of it was from previous teachers. As the ESOL teacher, I inherited all the previous ESOL teacher's stuff bought with department money. It's hard to get rid of those kinds of things because you never know what you might need and you also know that the next ESOL teacher might like it.

But seriously, there was too much. The real monkey on my back has been these vocabulary cards that go with some series books we have. Sometimes I use the books, but I have never used the cards. We're talking a lot of cards here. There are over a hundred units and some intrepid soul took it upon themselves to copy all of the vocabulary picture cards on different colored paper, laminate them, cut them, wrap them in rubber bands by unit and put them in plastic sandwich bags. Then they were divided up into a bunch of cardboard boxes.

I've moved those boxes around a number of times and it's always a pain to find a spot for them. Finally, this year, I had some help setting up my classroom and my wife (the best teacher I know) said, "Really? If you don't use them, toss 'em."

And I did. And it was wonderful.

I thought I'd feel guilty about it, but no, I'm happy. They really needed to go. If someone wants to do that again they can. Why they would want to, I don't know, but I realized that just because something took someone else a lot of time or cost a lot of money, doesn't mean you have to use it or keep it.

It's a liberating thought.

(image from flickr)