I went to work this morning with my department chair, LeighAnne, and together, for 2 hours, we tackled the book room. The book room had become ridiculous.
In June, another teacher, assistant principal, and I had cleaned out two huge flatbed dolly trips worth of old, falling-apart, unused books and resources. We shipped all of our out-of-adoption textbooks back to the district to store, sell, recycle, worship -- whatever it is that they do. We didn't finish everything, but we felt accomplished.
And then the new school year arrived.
With the influx of about 50 new faculty, staff, and administration, the changes to our school were already overwhelming. With the construction, renovation, and re-shuffling of classrooms, things seemed damned near impossible. We each had to move in to our rooms in strict windows of time, and so many of our new-to-us teachers walked straight into a hot mess. Some of the returning teachers did too. *raises hand*
Every closet they opened, every bookshelf they saw, every desk drawer they slid, there was stuff. It was packed in tightly. Years and years and years of accumulated papers, transparencies, workbooks, and resources -- all just left. And since many of those teachers weren't even teaching the subject of all that stuff, they simply did what they had to do. They packed it up and called a veteran.
This veteran did what I do best. I advised them to store it in the book room, and I'd deal with it later.
I always say that I'll deal with it later. I'm not very good at defining "later".
But "later" became today, and off LeighAnne and I went. I wish we'd taken a "before" picture. If you think hoarders only exist on television or in that creepster house down the block, you obviously don't know many teachers. We are, by our very nature, savers. We so often pay for supplies out of our own pockets that you will see us pick up every pencil stub, stray marker, and freebie we encounter. We will find a spiral and tear out the last 3 clean sheets because God only knows, some kid in the very next class will need paper. We are masters of duct tape repair and salvaging lost time.
That nature, paired with the outrageous amount of resources
(Pro-tip: if you're moving -- whether it's a house or a classroom -- don't leave your crap behind. Put it back in its rightful place. Put it in the trash can. Put it in the hands of someone when they have time to deal with it. But don't just leave it there. If you haven't used it, they're not going to use it. If you don't want it, they don't want it. And if it's broken, for the love of all that is good and holy in the world, get rid of it.)
So not only did we have the
|And this one? 1977. It's only a year older than me.|
I've changed a great deal since 1977.
We did. We released their spirit. Now they have a chance to become new books or new dictionaries. Maybe even new dictionaries that can explain "twerking" or a "derp". (God, help us all. Maybe I should have spared those poor books.)
We unpacked boxes and boxes of novels. Books that should be in the hands of kids and not taking up space in a closet. Books in a box make me insane. Although, in the same box, I discovered both of these. I don't even get how these were in the same box. Or room. Or school. They will be available in the book room shelf sale next week if you're interested.
|Are you kidding me?|
There were hundreds -- LITERALLY hundreds -- of old test practice workbooks. Most were for a test that our state doesn't even administer anymore.
And speaking of, dear Texas (and actually ALL OF AMERICA), kids don't learn more by "practicing a test". They really don't even learn how to take the test better. They just learn to really, really, really hate testing. And often -- school. Those workbooks no more encourage good thinking than they encourage good teaching. So, schools, districts, states, feds -- stop buying them for us. They're a crutch. Instead, I'd love for you to use some of that money to invest in teachers. Invest in adult education. Invest in serving my students (who have no breakfast) more than just Pop-Tarts and string cheese (that was on the menu last week -- truth). Invest in a school counselor who has time to actually counsel (and not just make schedules and organize massive testing opportunities). Invest in a social worker for my campus.
Or maybe you just ask us teachers what we need. I think I can guarantee that it's not more test practice workbooks.
I also found teacher's editions with 30 different guidebooks, test generators, and auxiliary
crap resources. Literally. Thirty. I don't need 30 teacher workbooks to sort through. I'm too busy with IEP's and NCLB and ARDs and PEIMS and TEAMS to sort through your box o' crap resources. I don't even use your Teacher's Edition because A) I went to college and actually took real live thinking courses in English and 2) the print is far too small for my tired eyes to look at while I'm also actively monitoring my classroom. If you want to really help me out, here's what I need: large print.
On our second trip to the recycling bin, LeighAnne and I joked that if we really wanted to make the bucks, we'd write a textbook. There are no less than 143 optional materials you can get with your textbooks. Or we could create a standardized test. That's where the real dollar bills are.
"I might as well become a Satanist while I'm at it." That's the reply I got from LA. She has a point.
|This was just the first recycling load. We were gutsier with the second.|
Then again, our only solution was to lock it all up in a closet, so maybe we haven't been much better.
At least it's a cleaner closet now though.