Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School's Out Forever

It turns out that school's out for the summer (darn that Alice Cooper) and my summer is over. One sure sign summer is over is when I being to feel that instinctual pull back to my classroom. I began to feel that pull the first of August and valiantly resisted until the ninth. I did have a two hour non-paid workshop on the 5th and kept insisting that I was not going to it. I left at the end of the school year more than a little mad (furious) about an unfair situation. But the do-gooder and the can't miss out person in me had me dragging my sorry self to the meeting. As I left the house whining that I didn't want to go, my husband was talking to a friend. This friend's wife is also a teacher and he was more than ready to have her go back to work. I shut the door to the sounds of my husband shouting, "Go to work you big baby!"

The second sign is when our local pool closes and the pool water is drained. This happened Monday. As I have driven past the pool this week, I've had the big sigh thinking where did the summer go. Can I have just one more day reading romance novels while laying in the kiddie pool?

The final sign is when the roads become congested, routes are diverted, the restaurants and stores are packed, and college boys are waving signs for parents to drop their freshman girls off at their apartment complex. This is the annual college move-in week.

Leading up to move-in week I've been going into school almost daily to get organized before we report back. It always takes me more than the two paid work days to get everything just right for the new school year. One would think that after eight years in the same room, teaching the same grade it wouldn't take me so long.

This year our custodian asked that the teachers move things off the laminated floors if we wanted the whole floor waxed otherwise he would wax around the stuff on the floor. I have had this happen in the past. The crew will move the desks/tables and chairs but leave everything else and wax around them. The problem is that the larger tables, bookshelves, and boxes tucked under the tables get waxed to the floor. It takes super human strength to get them unstuck if you want to move them at a later date. One year several floor tiles came up from the floor when I attempted to move the large wooded art table.

So with the advanced notice I enlisted T-man's help in moving all of the furniture out of the laminated floor tile area. I also picked up the items stored along the floor of the kitchen. Since I had a helper, I then decided to clear out my office so the floor in there could be waxed. The floor in there had not been waxed in years. We removed a low shelving unit, all the baskets of books I had on the floor, my basket of emergency clothes for Mimi and myself (don't ask), computer and technology equipment. That left us with two desks, a file cabinet, and three huge shelves. Those would have to stay. We rolled the area rug towards the back of the office since I could not get it completely out from under the desks. I hoped that the custodian would at least wax the front half of the office.

I notified the assistant principal that I had moved stuff from the areas I wanted waxed and was ready to have the floors cleaned. When I returned to my room two days later every laminated flooring area was waxed to a shiny smooth sheen. The custodian had removed the rug from the office and a few other items leaving the floor cleaning seamless. The custodian later told me that because I moved so much stuff he took the time to finish moving stuff out of the office and waxed the whole floor. He also said that he waxed my room first.

Inspired by the gleaming floors,
I carried the home cleaning, purging, and organizing frenzy over to school. I once again notified my assistant principal to let the custodian know that I was going to redo my entire room so he did not need to move any furniture back to it's original location. I would do that.

I first started in my office by getting rid of books.
I have three huge metal bookshelves in my office full of books, with more books on the floor, and books stuffed in a closet. I have all kinds of collections for example I have the Newbery and Caldecott award winners dating back to the 1930s, books about artists, children's books in Spanish, poetry books, and children's picture books that are song lyrics. And these are just a few of my non-curriculum driven collections. My goal was to get my books down to the three bookshelves with some room to spare.

At first the purging was easy. I just started stacking books in the "out of here pile". Then I came across a few books that I use to read to my children (biological). At first I put them in the"out of here pile" then I put them back on the shelf, then I created a "maybe out of here pile". Those books tugged at my heart strings as they just emit memories. Then I came across a couple of books that I loved as a child. The same thing happened out pile, shelf, maybe. Before I realized what was happening all kinds of books were going in the maybe pile.
I removed the out of here pile from my office and then taking a deep breath I tackled the maybe pile with my reducing goal in mind. I ended up keeping the books that held the memories from my children and my childhood. The rest that I had previously convinced myself were special were moved out.

Then I tackled the nick knacks and gag gifts. I took one modest rubber maid basket to collect the best of the best gag gifts with the understanding that if someone does not get gifted with these items by the end of the school year they will get tossed in the garbage. I also kept my shopping bag of VS bras that have a life of their own as potential gag gifts. Finally, I removed much of my USF Bulls and football memorabilia.

With a nice clean slate, I headed off to buy a big, bright, loud, colorful rug and two office chairs. I took Doug and Mimi shopping with me to purchase the rug. Doug found a rug on sale (good thing as I'm on a budget) that screamed me. Mimi and Doug both said this is so you! It's very geometric with large circles in colors of Tiffany Blue, Texas (UT) Orange and tan. It even has two different textural weaves. The problem was that it was not loud or bright and it was tasteful. Tasteful is a huge responsibility. I agonized back and forth about what to do. Once Doug loaded it in the cart it was a done deal. We then bought a few Texas Orange baskets to keep the tasteful theme going.

I ended up with dark blue office chairs that seemed to go with the theme. Doug thought I should have gotten a better quality of chair but good chairs only come in black. What's up with that? I wanted Tiffany Blue chairs. I'm on the hunt for magazine holders in my themed colors and a decent sized waste basket. I got rid of the all the old faded window clings except for the lipstick kiss one. It's not old or faded. So now I need some tasteful gels or clings.

I have finally moved all the furniture back into place and have removed all the garbage. Bulletin board paper and borders are up and supplies have been purchased. My room has almost been righted. So today I had to work for real. When it is time to really work I find it hard to get started. I wasted time trying to figure out what's wrong with my office phone and who to e-mail to fix it. I tried to download drivers to my laptop for my printer and scanner. That was a waste of time since both software are not compatible with my operating system.

I'm still cleaning, as I guess, I didn't file a single paper last year and now I've spread the papers out over three table to organize and file them. There is nothing like making more of a mess two days before school starts. I also had three meetings and I played nice even when I didn't want to.

Tomorrow I'm going in super early and will file papers until 8:30. What papers are left will have to be hidden somewhere. Then I need to get about the business organizing my classroom open house, writing lesson plans, gather the beginning of the year papers, and activities I need for the first week.

The day ended with a garden clean-up gathering and
a little kindergarten boy with a Mohawk bringing me an arrangement of summer wild flowers in an Old El Paso salsa jar. I do have a knack for being irresistible to the under 8 over 70 male population.

The do-gooder overachieving kindergarten parents met the
do-gooder overachieving kindergarten teachers on our kindergarten playground and picked up litter, weeded the gardens, planted flowers, swept the sidewalks, and trimmed bushes. Trimming the bushes is a union job and tomorrow a person from the grounds crew will show up in my room, give me the annual lecture about a lawsuit for cutting the bushes, and I'll be forced yet again to play innocent. I don't know why they don't go see the other teacher. It's always me. In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day."


marciamayo said...

Wow Aggie, what a beginning to your school year. It makes me want to be a kindergarten kid with you as a teacher. I need to see some pictures of your classroom, which sounds perfect. Also, your description of college-town doings reminded me of Americus in the fall. Thanks for a wonderful posting. Sorry it took me so long to comment, but, alas, work is getting in the way of my blog relationships.

Homerun Hatch Family News said...

We'd have a great time if we were in the same room together. I'll take pictures tomorrow and post them.

It's weird but I don't remember Americus being so crazy in the fall but Doug says it was. Go figure!

Work slows down all the fun!!