Wednesday, June 12, 2013

End of Year Inner Struggles

I have decided that it is fundamentally impossible to pack up my classroom. There aren't enough hours in the day/boxes available/ space to store items to make it so that one week from today my classroom will be packed and ready to go.

This time of year, and the stress of "how will this all possibly ever get done?" always brings about the same inner turmoil.

Inner struggle #1- I am absolutely determined not to take anything off the walls yet. The minute things come off the walls the kids know that it is OVER. The posters we've referred to all year, their art work, the rules- once it's gone the classroom no longer looks like it belongs to them. And once they know longer feel that the classroom is theirs, well, why bother acting like it is theirs?  EXCEPT that OMG taking things off the walls is so easy to do, and makes you feel so much better. The room is a disaster, you have piles of work to do, but at least your walls are clean and ready for next September. Every year I tell myself I'm going to wait to take things off the walls. And I'm going to wait, and wait, and...  eventually I crack. We'll see how far I can get this year. Let me tell you, right now it's rough.

Max is also a fan of the "stuff and run" method
Inner struggle #2- Do you take the time to organize materials now so they'll be ready for unpacking in August, or do you stuff everything in a box and pray that you have enough time to deal with it in August? Every year I'm determined to organize in June. Some years I even start in May. It's admirable really. Today I even brought Little Lipstick back to my classroom and let her "help" me pick up the linking cubes and put them away so I could take time to really organize my math games. Once she started to melt down and my own stomach was rumbling I did the "stuff and run" strategy of "I'll deal with this tomorrow so I'll just stuff this into the closest box right now."  Let's be honest. Those games are staying in those boxes until September. But since I probably will no longer be able to find them because of the stuff and run, they'll be staying in them a lot longer.

Inner struggle #3- Do I methodically wipe down all of the book baskets and plastic crates? Do I scrub stray marker and pencil markings off the supply caddies so that next year feels more like a fresh start? Or do I just roll my eyes, figure they'll only get dirty again by the end of September and just stack them in a corner? Yeah. That's usually the option I go for, but the inner struggle occurs when I feel guilty about the stacking with the crayon markers still on them.

Inner struggle #4- All lessons up until the last day will be meaningful and engaging. No movies, no meaningless activities designed to keep the kids busy so I can get work done. Good intentions really are something, aren't they? The book room books have been turned in, the math materials are packed up waiting to be turned in, report cards are completed and progress reports are typed and ready to go. Define meaningful and engaging activity. I mean, a movie, when given the right intro can be meaningful and engaging,
right? (I have not yet shown a movie. That doesn't mean it won't happen. I'm trying, I really am.)

And so I will fight my inner battles right up until the last day. Please, oh god of teachers, help me be strong.


Unknown said...

I think watching a movie based on a book is totally meaningful. My kids especially loved The Grufallo movie-they were spellbound the whole time. They also loved a movie of various Eric Carle books. A long feature length type movie they're not so good with, though-they can't sit that long!

Jenna said...

1. I always show a movie at the end of the year. The same movie I've shown for the past decade... it's tradition now.
2. organize the materials (speaking as someone who didn't last year...), skip the cleaning.
Good Luck!

herding.cats said...

You. Are. Me. I am moving to a new grade level at a different building next year, so am packing up 16 years of cr* teaching materials this week. I have boxes full of "I'm going to sort through these this summer on the patio" and a closet full of "But I might need it someday." And next week I will throw it in a box and hope I can find it when I get to my new classroom.

organized chaos said...

Movies can totally be meaningful. But let's be honest, at this point if I show a movie it won't be meaningful. I haven't done the leg work to make it meaningful. Hmmmm... maybe I need to spend some time researching movies I can make meaningful.