It is a classic winter day here, with ice and snow and cold. However, I felt some signs of spring within me — I did a major spring cleaning of the classroom, with the help of my Americorps volunteer.
Visual clutter raises my blood pressure. My classroom is a warm and friendly and pleasing place, with lots of plants, and wonderful children’s artwork on the walls and hanging in the windows. However, there were lots of areas of mess.
Having piles of boxes behind the kidney table made it impossible to walk back there, and piles of papers, bags, and snacks on the table made it impossible to use. Now the kidney table is BLANK. It is empty and clean, and we can use it for small groups, which is what it is there for. Now that there is nothing behind or under the table, our engineer can mop and sweep under there at last.
The window sills are long and useful, and were covered in junk. Now the front of the window sill is almost empty, so now we have a place for artwork to dry. Along the back of the window sills, we have neatly arranged magazine boxes and other tubs with alphabet, vocabulary, literacy, and assessment materials for easy access (and hopefully, frequent use).
We threw away at least four boxes, gave away bags of stuff, and trashed/recycled quite a bit more. We found new places to put things, and emptied shelves for the afternoon teacher to use for her stuff. (I am guilty of not giving her enough space, and I know it. I am trying to make amends. I’m still working on three more shelves to empty and give to her.) I went nuts with my labeler and labeled lots of shelves, so that cleanup will be easier for all the adults who are in my room at various times.
My hands feel like sandpaper from all the washing, but my heart is light. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, when I get to teach in this lovely room.