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)


Tricia said...

This is so hard for a pack rat (like me)! I am, however, in the midst of weeding my lit collection and getting rid of lots of stuff. It's very hard to let go. Some of the books were my first purchases as a teacher, but those 1980s book must go! (Sniffle)

I hope I feel this good when it's done!

Teacherninja said...

You will, Tricia. Thanks.

Jenny said...

This is so good for me to hear. I know I have way too much stuff in my classroom and it is something I am constantly working on.

Last year I changed grades and classrooms. I found two boxes that hadn't been opened in at least a year, I labeled them trash and put them in the hallway without opening them. It felt fabulous!

Teacherninja said...

Good for you, Jenny!

Emily Kissner said...

I love hearing about how you got rid of so much! First thing tomorrow, I'm going to let go of the last of what I inherited when I moved to fourth grade from sixth. I know it will make everything go more smoothly. I love your blog!

Teacherninja said...

Thanks and welcome, Emily! My first few years I scrounged for everything, so it's nice to be at a point where I can finally shed some stuff.