Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back to School "Before" Pictures

I did it.  I went into my classroom to actually DO something in there.  I've stopped by a few times this summer for other reasons and poked my head inside to grab a manual or measure the window for curtains.  Today, though, I actually spent time in my room. 

It's been several years since I've had my own classroom.  I've been an ESL teacher with an office for the past few years, teaching my lessons at a table in a little hallway nook. Before that, I was a substitute teacher/grad student since I was new to the area and jobs were scarce.  Before that, I was a "Long Term Leave Replacement" teacher in a few different settings while my husband worked on a temporary grant at a major university in New Jersey.  I haven't actually had my own classroom (where I wasn't a temporary 1 year leave replacement in someone else's room) since the spring of 2004.  OMG!  That's a loonnnngggg time!

While I've had lots of experience keeping myself portable and using another teacher's space/materials/organizational systems, it's been years since I've had to organize myself for myself in my own space.  Know what I mean? 

So, today I went in.  It was a daunting task.  At least the previous teacher left it very empty for me.  And the custodial staff did an awesome job of cleaning it all for me.  But I had to just stand there and look at the space for a little bit.  I needed to see its potential.  Since I've been an ESL teacher at this school for a few years, I knew what the previous teacher in that space had done with the desks, the tables, the bookshelves.  I needed to figure out what's going to work for me. So I stood there.  And stood there.  Then I took a few pictures and stood there some more.

It's very clean, isn't it?  
Everything had been shoved to the front so the custodial staff could clean the carpeting.

 Well, bookshelves on the table make the floors easy to clean.
Plus, they're empty, so there are lots of opportunities for how to use them at this point.

And then I opened the...

dun dun dun...

I had known it was there.  I was trying to forget about it all summer long.  Everything this teacher left behind is shoved in here.  There's no real organization.  The shelves are drooping.  The heaviest stuff is on the top.  The bottom has a lot of space only because our old curriculum had been boxed up for disposal and one of our administrators just came in this week and got it.  Otherwise, that part had been full the last time I looked at it.

Well, I couldn't do it today, either. I closed the closet doors and pretended it didn't exist.  Perhaps I'll look at it tomorrow. :)  Instead, I spent several hours arranging furniture, testing different options before I start filling up the bookshelves and desks.  I was sweaty and exhausted, but I think I know how it's going to be set up. 

 I still don't have all the furniture where I want it.  I just couldn't move a couple of things by themselves.  My husband has offered to help on Friday morning, so I'll save it for him then.  I didn't take any pictures yet because I'm not totally sure there's been an improvement yet.  

But don't worry!  I'm going back in tomorrow and the next day and will be working on some great projects over the weekend to turn this boring, plain, empty room into one that is vibrant, exciting, and fabulous.  Just wait - you'll see!  (Hey -- maybe you should follow me so you actually remember to come back and check?  Just a suggestion!)

1 comment:

  1. I laughed out loud at your "closet of doom" comment! I sooooo know what you're talking about! (I have moved several times, too!)

    We have a lot in common- I teach ESL, too! Except I left a small classroom and am now in a closet-type setting. Oh well! :)

    Please email me at so I can send you the stoplight craftivity! (I currently don't have your email address.)

    Thank you!



Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love hearing from you!