Little by little, I'm weeding out. A clothes basket here. A purse collection there. A cabinet. A closet. My problem is that when I get in the "decluttering mood", I want to declutter everything. Then I get overwhelmed, anxious, and cranky because it's just too much. So here's to focusing on one small area at a time and celebrating each accomplishment.
One thing I can't stand is a cluttered, messy classroom. It drives me insane. When you teach 44 four-year-olds every day and expect them to clean up for themselves after working in multiple learning centers, you've got to be 100% on top of organization so they know exactly where to put things.
I'm a bit frustrated this year because there's no real, clear focus, so it leaves me feeling scattered as to what and how to teach my littles in order to prepare them for kindergarten (and for life--because remember, everything you need to know, you learn in kindergarten). With that being said, I've had a hard time keeping things organized in a way that will lead to an efficient flow in the classroom. I personally want to take all like things out of several "kits" and put them all in one central location. One area for shapes. One area for science tools. One area for farm stuff, jungle stuff, etc. One area for blocks and another area for fine-motor skills activities, and yet another central area for books. I ran into a problem, though, when only one of the kits got audited, so I had to dig out every single item and book from that specific kit, count it, and put it all in one location as a kit, rather than with all the other "like" materials. To me, it's a waste of space and incredibly inefficient for teaching. Sorry, people, but I teach by concept, not by kit.
Then I've got the Dual Language program telling me how to set up and organize my classroom so I can teach according to their best practices, while the curriculum I'm told to use isn't at all in collaboration with the Dual Language program. Oh, and all those materials with the kit I now have separate barely coincide with the new curriculum or how I'm supposed to teach Dual Language. Ugh. It's frustrating.
By Friday, I'd had enough and I started tearing the classroom apart, trying to find more efficient ways to organize to create a better flow for both me and my kids. Except I ran out of time and left it all pretty much a mess. Thankfully the building was open to teachers yesterday and my son was available to help me out for an hour or so. He helped me tackle moving around some heavy items and reorganize a few things. But he just kept saying, "Wow. You have way too much stuff and no space!" Yep, welcome to my world, son. And I've been told I've got more boxes coming soon, filled with more stuff I have to keep organized by kit. Either I need a bigger room, a few kits to go out of adoption and disappear from my inventory, or I might lose my mind.
The stuff I know the kids really need isn't required for me to keep, while the stuff I will likely never use has to be kept, labeled, and accounted for year after year.
So, yesterday my dear son David and I started getting rid of a few things, and now I'm on a quest to empty out everything that I can possibly get rid of that isn't absolutely necessary for their development and preparation for kindergarten. Too much stuff just blocks the flow of class, gets in the way, and overwhelms everyone.
Hopefully next year the district will begin to bring all their new programs and curriculums together so at least we have a clearer focus. I can't control the curriculum, so for now, I'll focus my attention on my classroom. One small area at a time, taking time to celebrate each little accomplishment.
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.