It’s been a weekend and a half! Mostly because, if this was a normal weekend, it would be over! But, it’s not. It’s Memorial Weekend, so I have an extra day. It feels like a Saturday and I couldn’t be happier about that!
Most folks would consider me a bit crazy, but I spent 8 hours at work yesterday, and another 4 hours today. And, while I truly worked hard, it felt so good. I had the entire building to myself, and I felt like I had this glorious free weekend to do some serious cleaning out and de-cluttering, without a single interruption. I was thoroughly enjoying the quiet time, the reminiscing and discoveries of mementoes from previous students. I found a few things that had been hopelessly lost for years, and reveled in my solitude.
As a consequence of my labors, I cleared out two large cupboards, putting many found treasures (left over from previous years teaching second grade) out for my colleagues to rummage through when they return on Tuesday. I unearthed dozens of books that had been in storage, which are now in baskets on the back table for my current students to paw through and take home a couple good reads for the summer. There are also doodads and trinkets and goofball stuff I’ve been hanging onto, that 5th graders will swoon over when we have our final “auction” in a few days.
I have space in my cupboards, and that is exciting. I have my teaching posters and content specific materials all organized neatly into huge Ziploc bags and shelves are labeled so I’ll be able to find stuff in August! I’ve got my orders ready for Print Shop for the beginning of the year. I’m still a long ways from being ready to walk out of there, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been before at this time of the year.
Last week a couple of my girls organized the class library, getting books put back into their appropriate genre bins. This week, I’ll go through those as well, pulling out duplicates and gathering a pile for a friend who is returning to a 5th grade classroom come September. While I’ve always known I’m a book lover, I’ve come to the realization that I’m a book hoarder. I cling to the old and the new, the amazing and the not-so-great, and I buy more every month! After ten years of this book behavior, storage has become a huge issue. I have boxes of books in my garage, and boxes of books in my cupboards at school, and thousands of books on the classroom shelves. It’s time to share the wealth, and time to stop buying . . . maybe!
This weekend gift of time was delightful. I love the feeling of tidiness, and that I’ve made such strong progress. Next week I’ll attack the stuffed four drawer file cabinet, and the five file boxes that are crammed with way more teaching materials than any teacher has a right to hang onto. My goal is for the five file boxes to be empty, and the cabinet to be organized. (Trim down those three huge files all labeled “area” for a start J)
Perhaps my enthusiasm comes from the need to be done with this year. It’s been a difficult one. They always are, in one way or another, but this one has been especially energy draining. While I truly love my job, and each of the kids, there were a few that were just a bit too demanding, emotionally and mentally. What the general public doesn’t realize when they complain about lazy teachers and their summer vacations is this. Teachers need a break. It isn’t the teaching that wears teachers out; it’s the impotence to change the circumstances our students live in. It’s the losing battle over, intentional or not, the values students come in with, the lack of sleep or decent meals, the learned disrespect of others, and the apathetic view of education.
Hardest of all to handle is the student view of entitlement. They are entitled to interrupt, ignore anyone they don’t care to listen to, be first, and be excused. They are entitled to refuse to cooperate, participate, or to contribute. They are entitled to push others out of the way, bully or call names, and break any rules they chose to. They are entitled to be late on assignments, bringing notes from their parents to excuse them. Not all go to extremes with poor behavior, but many do. Even the best and the brightest, the gifted and talented, those with two parents, a strong work ethic, and bred for politeness, still act entitled.
I don’t for the life of me know how this post morphed in a direction I never intended it to go, but I’m not going to change it. I imagine some folks sit down to write and know exactly where they’re headed. Sometimes I do . . . and, sometimes I don’t! Regardless, I’ve had a long, hardworking weekend, and by golly, I’m entitled to head to bed with a good book! Good night!