Hey teachers! We are getting into summer and most of us are either already packing up our rooms, or we are getting ready to pack up our rooms. This year I have done some major growth (like you I am sure) and so I wanted to talk about how we can make our classrooms and wonderful space for us as teachers as well. Sure they are driven to help the students feel safe and have a learning area that they love. However we as teachers need to also love the space and hopefully it can bring some calm into your life. So today I want to share 5 things you need to get rid of in your room!
1. Reminders about Meetings
I realized that I was holding onto ALL of the memos and I have NO idea why I was. You see, I HAVE A PLANNER! I am sure that you do as well. Get into the habit of writing down everything in your planner or on your calendar and then recycle the paper. Trust me, you are not going to need it. If you are anything like me you will lose it anyways!
2. The “just in case” containers
I love teachers that can truly think of anything to do with containers in their classroom. However with too many of them you room will look cluttered and a hot mess. Trust me, you do not need to keep the old baby food jar, the cool whip tub, and microwave plastic container or anything else food related “just in case.” There is nothing to feel guilty about by just recycling these items. I used to be the queen of “oh well I might use this for a game…OR I can use it for a center I have planned.” NO! Unless you already have the lesson down and you know exactly what you will need it for, toss it! Ex: I put together a Last Supper activity every year with egg cartons for my class and they each need 2. So I have egg cartons that I know I am going to use!
3. Books that aren’t exciting for your class.
It can be SO hard as teachers to get rid of books I know. I struggled with it in the beginning as well but then I realized that there were some books that I just didn’t want my kids to read. I remember one of them was about Santa…or the lack there of. I honestly had NO idea I had this book since it was a hand me down and when a student brought it to me for read aloud I nearly died. It looked so innocent and cute that I thought it would be darling. Boy was I wrong. There is nothing wrong with going through your library and assessing the books that you have. If you have any books that are ripped, pages missing etc place them in the recycle bin so they can be made into new beautiful books!
4. EVERYTHING on your desk that doesn’t serve you
I know that as a teacher I am always telling my students to keep their tables clean so that they have a place to work. You don’t want things getting in the way when you are trying to do something that is important. Then I would turn around and I would have to dig through the candy, my keys, the computer and all the old paperwork to MAYBE find what I was looking for. That is when I took charge and I cleared out the desk! I know have my planner, pens and my teaching forms on my desk with plenty of room to work. It also sets a good example for students!
5. Items that do not bring you joy.
We have been working hard on organizing our lives and making sure that our items spark joy, so make sure that happens in your classroom as well. There is no need to have 45 coffee pods on your desk from the Keurig. Your classroom is a small space and we do not want it cluttered!
I know that getting rid of items can be so tough and it can also take a long time for us to do this. If you are ready to tackle it I say LET’S GO! If you are not ready then take things as they come. Maybe you have all of your items packed by season in boxes. Go through the boxes at the beginning of the season and select what brings joy and keep it. When you are going through the file cabinet and you see outdated papers, grab them and toss them. If you are clearing out a cabinet then just focus on that one. It will make the large task seem a bit easier.
Once I learned to ask the question ” Will I NEED this to teach effectively?” rather than “Could I use this?” it made a huge difference in my classroom. I was able to let go of a lot of things that I thought I needed. In the end my classroom looked great! I admit that yes I still go through and de-clutter because hey I am a teacher too and I hang onto things a little too long but it feels good to have a space that is clean and mine.
I know that is can be tough to get rid of things in our classroom since we are always wondering when we are going to be using them again, Remember that spaces that are cluttered with often have us feeling overwhelmed and unable to work at our full potential. That is NOT what we want. We are looking to reach our best potential in the classroom. We should strive to make our classroom the best place it can be so we can be our best teacher self!
What is something that you got rid of in your classroom? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know! You can also email me with blog ideas or just to say hello!
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