Excited, tired, overwhelmed, exhausted, happy, sad, frustrated, pumped, unprepared, and ecstatic are just SOME of the emotions I have experienced over the past week and a half. The first time I walked into my classroom, about three weeks ago, was with my friend Jasmine. We both walked in and I literally had tears form in my eyes because of the amount of "stuff" in my room. All this "stuff" was pushed into the middle of the room and included desks, bookshelves, thousands of books (literally), chairs, a forest from all the paper, and just junk! We stayed long enough to move the furniture around to how I thought I wanted things set up and then we left. I was BEYOND overwhelmed. I definitely had my work cut out for me! Everything was FILTHY, and when I say filthy, I mean black goop EVERYWHERE you looked and dust inches thick. It was disgusting to say the least. I had no idea where to begin.
These two pictures capture just a fraction of what the classroom looked like after I moved everything. These pictures do not come close to showing how nasty it was.
Since I work at a charter school, the state provides us funding. However, the funding is based on the amount of students we have enrolled. Most of our furniture is "hand-me-downs" and not in the best of conditions. However, my principal is AMAZING and she goes over and beyond to make sure we have everything we need and anything we want. I have been very impressed! Anyway, on to the demolition. :)
Last Thursday I went to the school for a few hours and I went to town cleaning. I purchased Goof Off, a scraper, sponges, rags, and 409 from Lowes and went to town. I literally spent 5 hours JUST cleaning and the only pieces of furniture I cleaned were the bookshelves. I have 5 bookshelves in my classroom and they are not big. You can imagine how dirty they were if it took me five hours to get them presentable. Goof Off works wonders!!!!! Friday my mom came to school and helped. If you know my mother, you know she's AMAZING and so creative. We finished cleaning everything and then began sorting through things and trying to organized. By the end of the day I had about 60 BUG boxes, FULL of books, curriculm books from the 50s and all kinds of stuff, packed up to be taken away! My room was nother but boxes. After the boxes were removed the real work began, organizing, sorting, and arranging. We got a lot accomplished, but it was still no where close to being ready!
This week we started our teacher work days. Our principal allotted two work weeks before students come and I am thankful for the two weeks. Monday and Tuesday we spent the day in meetings and I became even more overwhelmed. North Carolina has adopted the Common Core Standards and this year we are implementing them at our school. This is VERY different for me, especially coming from Virginia where we just had SOL's. The Common Core is intense and you have to change the entire way you present material and how you teach in order to be effective. I have SO much material running through my brain it's hard to keep things straight and it's hard to focus on one particular thing. Because our principal could sense the fact we were all overwhelmed, especially us newbies, she decided to allow Wednesday and today days focused on finishing up our rooms. Today I finished mine! There are a few little things missing and things that need to be tweaked, but overall it's finished and I am very proud and excited about the finished product.
My goal as a teacher was to make my room warm and inviting for my students. I want my students to be excited to come to class and excited for what the day holds. I know that is what most teachers want and I also know that is a goal that is hard to attain, because a lot of students would rather be anywhere but school. However, I am going to do my best to make my students feel comfortable in their learning environment. I feel like I have done that with my room and I am very excited to see their reactions. I LOVE LOVE LOVE 3rd grade and I am so excited to start! My mentor and inspiration for a lot of my ideas comes from my cooperating teacher for student teaching, Mrs. Stiles. I could not have asked for a better student teaching experience. My teaching style is very much like Mrs. Stiles and we got along so well. I have taken many of her ideas and incorporated them into my classroom. I can't wait to share them with you!
I am going to end this post because it is pretty long and you may be bored. HA! However, I am going to post another post tonight giving more detail about how I did some of my decorating and why, and of course there will be pictures! I know you aren't supposed to write two blog posts in one day, but I am just so excited about the school year and I want to share it all with you. My goal is to be one of those people that make it on Pinterest and have all these followers. HAHA! A girl can dream :) Check out my next post and try out the fun ideas!!