Today was the first day that my new school was open, and I was able to get into my room and begin the cleaning process. I went in around 9:45AM, and I found that the custodians had (not surprisingly) moved all of the furniture around the room over the summer! This first picture is me when I first arrived, before I got started.
I had a couple minor problems when I first arrived, most notably was the lack of AC and the heat! Luckily, me neighbor was in, and she was able to help me get the key for the AC from the AP’s office and turn it on! Boy am I glad we did that! By the afternoon, it was quite cool in my room (after the AC was on for a few hours!) and we would’ve been sweating even worse if there’d been no AC. I also couldn’t find the principal when I first got there, and my neighbor told me she was in a meeting – so I couldn’t get into any of my closets yet! The boxes in the front of the room were ones I’d had to store in my neighbor’s closet over the summer because there was no room in mine – the woman who taught in my classroom before me left me EVERYTHING – and much of it was a disorganized mess!
While I waited to find my principal and get my keys, we started with the tasks that didn’t require getting into the closets! We started by emptying out all of the random papers that my predecessor left in the two big filing cabinets! Some of it was useful (like the pre-printed hall passes!), some of it was sorta funny (old lesson transparencies which she had hand written and clearly saved), and some of it was useless garbage (like old student work for kids I never taught!).
I’m lucky in that my partner is an interior designer and is in the process of making me a formal floor plan. But she helped me plan out the desk spacing and layout, ensuring that there will be enough room for everyone to walk around my room. It’s got about the same usable square footage as my last classroom, but it’s more square (wider and less long), which is good in many ways (i.e. kids will be closer to the “front”). She helped me decide which furniture to remove – the GIANT teachers’ desk (since I already have a double desk, a computer desk, and I never sit at those teachers desks!) and the two tall filing cabinets (since I had one short one).
My partner and I decided on the following set-up for the desks in my room: columns of partnerships – twos on the sides and fours in the middle. When we get into quads, students will rotate their desks to face each other, but for now, I felt like I want students to be able to see the front of the room at first.
My principal eventually got out of her meeting and stopped by to give me my keys (yay!) and I was able to get into my closets – and BOY did she leave me a lot of supplies! I went through two of the four closets today, just taking everything out of them, cleaning off the shelves, and organizing the stuff I inherited. Some of it is really valuable – all of those reams of paper and boxes of tissues will be useful! Some of it I’m excited to have gotten – some teddy bear manipulatives and scales to use. Some of it was gross and needed to be cleaned or thrown out. Some of it was bizarre – why did she have an unopened set for painting from home depot? Why did she have two cans of paint?
Anyway, we were there until after 4PM with only about a twenty minute break for lunch (we brought leftover pizza from home). Two more closets to clean out tomorrow, and I haven’t even really started on my posters or on the bulletin boards yet. Luckily, tomorrow, I’m enlisting my student teacher (who was voluntold by the placement coordinator to meet with me!). There will be more photos this week as I continue to make this classroom my own!