Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Purge

I have been teaching for 17 years and like many of you who have been at it for years, I have collected numerous books, units, games etc. My colleagues always tell me "You are so organized!" and in my head I think to myself "if you only knew". The other day I was working in my room and realized that I am "neat", not necessarily organized.  I have all of my files color coded to match that grades textbook (7th red, 8th green, 9th orange), I have set organization for classroom procedures, and of course gone digital and rely heavily on my clouds.  Yet I still felt like I was looking for stuff all the time.

Then I realized I just had too much stuff that I don't use. We all go through our closets every year (or two) and purge our belongings. We hold yard sales, and donate things. Teachers on the other hand, tend to find neat ways to hoard their stuff.  

So do schools in general. I am getting some much needed, and very expensive, new textbooks. I asked what to do with my old ones and they want to box them up and store them. Why they are not on their way to the dumpster is beyond me.

I started with books, literature sets, and units that I no longer teach and set them on one side of my room in rows like a yard sale. I then went to the elementary librarian (I am in the high school)  to announce that there were free books in my room at the end of their faculty meeting. Within one hour (no exaggeration) everything was whisked away. It was amazing! Someone mentioned Ebay, and I will admit I have made some decent money there selling teaching units and Big Books, but I felt that route was too time consuming. Plus, I feel better when I can help other people out rather than making a couple of dollars.

After that I took a trash can over to my shelves and started checking out binders. I did not even open them. If I did not use them last year I pitched them. I freed up two more shelves! It was liberating!

Monday I am going through the filing cabinets, No extra copies. Nothing that I have not used in the last two years is going to stay! I have people asking me if I am retiring, others probably think I am gravely ill, but the truth  is I am on a quest to truly get myself organized. We purge our homes, our bodies, even our emotions. Why not our classrooms? Take a deep breath and let it go, literally..


  1. I have been teaching a combination first and second grades class for the past 11 years. I am moving to a new district this year. I will be teaching 7th grade language arts/social studies intervention. I purged enough to set up a new teacher. It was liberating. I still have lots of resources. I know your blog will be every helpful this year. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog and welcome to the crazy world of middle school. I love seventh graders! They are young enough to be enthusiastic about what they are learning without all the grumbling that the older kids do. Just be prepared for mood swings, drama, and a huge difference in maturity levels between the boys and girls at this age. On the bright side they will make you laugh everyday!