I haven't even started on the basement yet -- where the majority of my school stuff is stashed.
Or the shelves in my bedroom. Or the trunk of my car. Or various other shelves and baskets and closets all over my house. For 45 years I have saved everything that I might use someday in my classroom. I have a starfish I got from someone's trash. Some wool from a sheep. A crate full of dinosaurs. Enough certificates and stickers for every child in the school. And books!! Do I have books!!
Every professional book I ever read about on someone's blog -- I bought them all. Daily 5 -- 1st and 2nd edition. How to teach guided reading groups. How to set up math stations. How to teach writing to kindergarten kids who can't even write their name. How to show the wonder of nature. Art books. How to draw books. Whole Brain Teaching. I could start my own library.
But my biggest challenge so far -- sorting picture books. Yesterday after school I started with 3 crates of books. I was going to take out a few that I wanted to keep, and donate/sell/give away the rest. But as I started pulling out the books, I went off into a world of memories -- and ended up with a huge crate of favorite books that I didn't want to part with. Stories that I read to my own children or books that I read to my class -- I could hear the children's applause in my mind as I remembered reading some of them. I know my husband will not understand if I start hauling things home -- especially since I have no grandchildren to share them with -- but how can I sing "Let It Go!" when I am not ready? I have throw away, give away, and keep piles -- but the keep pile is too big.
Yesterday I started cleaning out my desk. I put items in a tub and let the children choose one to take home. Some of the things -- a jingle bell left from Polar Express Day, some glasses with a nose attached, a giant penny that I used before the common core eliminated the money unit from the curriculum, combs that I bought to use when mom forgot to comb hair -- especially on picture day.
Dr. Seuss erasers. Some matchbox cars. A couple sets of magnetic letters. The kids were thrilled and so was I -- a few less things for me to pack up. Why oh why am I such a pack rat??
The next week is going to be hard -- not because of graduation on Wednesday, but because I have to pack up my classroom and turn in my iPad and key to my classroom. I want to retire -- I am tired of leson plans and assessments and evaluations and workshops and head lice and documenting intervention and surveys and opening ketchup packages and all the things that suck the joy out of teaching. But even with all those UNFAVORITE things, I have loved teaching. I love the kids and my assistant and I will miss them most of all. But for now, I have a lot more sorting and packing up to do.