Saturday, August 25, 2012

I hurt all the way down to my pancreas.

At the beginning of this week I had big plans.  Lots of posts, lots of pictures, lots to celebrate.  But kittens, that room swallowed me whole. This is the only picture I'm sharing of the room today.  I just want you to understand that EVERY. SINGLE. TABLE. in the room looked like this one.

So what the eff happened, eh?  I had a goal chart, darn it!  That should have been enough! And do not doubt that I have not over-analyzed this week's failures and successes to figure out just what the hey is my problem. Let's go back to the tape, Steve, and see why this chick is such a loser...

See how I have number 3 and 4 in the steps section?  I found it impossible to sort without having anything to sort on.  So I arranged all of my furniture first.  And then I stacked all of the things I brought from my old room on the carpet- and when I looked a that the previous teacher had left me, I discovered this: Every shelf, drawer, cabinet, surface was filled.  You can't put your own things away without anywhere to put it.  So I had to do number 4 on the list first.  I took EVERY. SINGLE. THING. off of the shelves, and out of cabinets and drawers and sorted them into said piles.  This is the point where people started feeling the need to drop in and talk about how much stuff "I" had. And I've got plenty to say about that, but I will wait to rant.  Then I decided that I couldn't possibly make a decision about what to keep or what to get rid of unless I also knew what I had.  So I unpacked all of my boxes and sorted them by subject area right on top of the stuff I was left.  This made for extremely high piles. I understand that this is the twelve-year old method of cleaning, and horribly inefficient.  But I have ZERO SKILLS here.  So I'm doing the best I can!  And then of course the earlier folks went and told other folks and then THEY had to come in and talk about how much stuff I had.

I thought it would only take me two days to do this sorting and putting away. Barf.  I took the whole week and I'm still not done.  The first day I wasn't able to get into my room until one o'clock, and I had to leave at three-thirty. This was mostly spent furniture arranging.  I got the closet and first shelf of built-ins emptied and sorted. The second day, I had to take Sweetie J to the doctor so I only worked from nine until one. I finished emptying all of the shelves, drawers and cabinets by the time I had to leave. Then I had three full days of nine to three-forty.  And as of yesterday, I had managed to sort through everything but my library, pile five student desk grouping high with things to give away, organize my storage closet, put away all of my craft, science, and social studies supplies, and get a third of my office supplies put away.  Things left sorted, yet untouched: language, math, 2/3 of office supplies.

I did invite the teachers in to take my stuff on Friday.  I sent an e-mail out announcing the frenzy Thursday evening, and even had some late night early-bird shoppers.  More shoppers on Friday,  and I did get rid of a chunk of it.  I am running the freebie frenzy one more day on Monday, as the entire staff will be in the building that day.  But as of Monday at three o'clock- what's left is going to Goodwill.  I need to get my stuff put away, and I've got to decorate the room, and I can't do it with that stuff staring at me, and people coming into the room to make comments about it.

Ok- I'm going to rant for a moment. It will not be pretty.  Skip to the next paragraph if you want the world to remain all lollipops and rainbows, or continue believing that I'm an overly pleasant person.  GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK!  I did not move into an empty room.  It was FILLED.  And I bet if they went into their rooms and emptied their drawers and shelves and cabinets that they didn't have to pack up back in June they would have STUFF too. Thanks for the encouragement people.  I'm so happy to know that you are responsible for building up and encouraging the youth of today when you cannot spare a supporting word for someone you work with or at the very least hold your M-F tounge. Freaking hypocrites telling kids "I believe in you!" when they can't have a second's pause for the attempts of a grown adult woman trying to become a less cluttered and organized person. And if you are not in here to take some of this stuff out of my room, then get the eff out! Slam door and lock it.  But then open it again because I need the darn people to come in and take this stuff out of the way. Gaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Annnnnnndddddd END SCENE.

Things I am proud of myself for:
1) I did not leave the room to go socialize.
2) I did not leave work to go eat/shop
3) From the moment I got there to the moment I left, I set the timer for thirty minute chunks.  When the timer went off, I said to myself OUT LOUD "Great Job! You did a lot!" and then I sat down and ate a piece of fruit.  Put timer back on, and went back to work.
4) Every time I emptied a box I celebrated it.  Because it was an accomplishment to my progress. It was fantastically relieving to shout out "An Empty Box!" and throw it onto a pile.
5) Even thought there was some really super cool stuff left in my room- I looked at it and decided if I knew how to use it.  If I didn't, I put it on the give-away table.  I have too many goals this year in teaching to add one more on top of it.  Give it to someone who knows how to use it and will.
6) Every item that I recognized that I hadn't used an item the last year of teaching, I put on the give-away table.  I've been teaching ten years already, if I hadn't used it, I'm most likely not going to.  Plus I can always go borrow it later if I really need to.
7) If it was broken, I threw it away.
8) I cleared out the indoor recess box.  It was hard to do.  I am a nut for games. But our recess is only 15 minutes.  Seriously.  No longer.  If they can't take it out and get a game finished in fifteen minutes, it's not worth it.  Put it on the give-away.  Except for some super cool games that I had bought with my own money.  I confess to packing those up to be brought home.
9) Every time I did put something on the give away table I did say very loudly to myself "You do not need that!" If I threw it away I said " It's broken! Stop being ridiculous!"
10) I got all of my teacher stuff out of my house.  Except for those games I brought back.  But oh well.
11) I didn't curse out the people that came in to ogle.  I saved that for private when they couldn't hear me.  But by Thursday afternoon, when most of the piles were give away piles, and you could see my carpet, and I was clearly working on putting things away- I did make sure I said to them "I've made a lot of progress this week, and all of these five tables are give aways, thank you." This actually had no effect on them though.  So if they kept going, I just stopped even looking at them or answering and went back to work.
12) I used cereal boxes my friends had collected for me over the summer to create sections in my drawers to help me put away my office supplies.  They are super organized and I'm getting everything put away wonderfully.  I just have a box of paperclips to attack on Monday.

I would like to point out that my team was great.  They were encouraging as I sorted through my things and made me feel like I was accomplishing something.  If I've learned something this past week in regards to my teaching, it's definitely about the power of words.  If we're willing to say something negative to ANYBODY about ANY PROCESS, it's most likely trickling into our classroom dialogue with the children.  I've really got to watch for this during this upcoming year.  And not to say that at times someone will need to be corrected- but how am I going to go about telling them? Yes, I like sarcasm.  But it's really only something that should be used with close friends that really get you and understand where you're coming from in that moment.  I don't think any of the teachers in my building meant to be rude.  I don't think they meant to upset me.  I'm left wondering though how often I've said something that has hurt someone though and I never meant it?

Tomorrow I'll develop my goals for this next week.  Going to be tricky though- balancing the clean-up, decoration and all the meetings....


  1. My lack of a reply e-mail to yours (I'll reply today, I swear) can be attributed to the fact that I've been attempting to go through EVERYTHING in the room that was left. I don't want someone else's remnants in there, and I know if I don't do it now, I never will.

    That has then led me to realize how little I actually have for my room... which has led to a panic. Breathe in, breathe out. Also it has led to me cursing IKEA for discontinuing their FLYT magazine files which were 5 for $2.

    I'm hoping I'll have at least some time this week... but we'll see. :(

    I'm super impressed with your goal-setting and accomplishments though!

  2. WoW! You are amazing! I know I would have "cracked" at the sight of that room and wanted to give up. I am impressed with your dedication! I bet your room looks absolutely wonderful now!
    Good luck this year, I know you will be a Terrific teacher!
    Where Seconds Count

  3. I would come help, if I could! Sending productive and positive thoughts your way.

    Chickadee Jubilee

  4. I HATE it when that happens! For a while there I was changing rooms every year, inheriting more and more junk from other people each year after I had left mine spotless!

    Good luck!


  5. I love that you took an awful situation and looked for things you could learn from it. Well done!
    An Open Door

  6. Your take on it was just sooo funny! Be proud you are actually going through things, I didn't really have time for that--you should see my closet! :)