My friend is our district’s independent study teacher and I was helping her set up her office. It came with 17 years worth of curriculum.
She is an organized person but was having a difficult time deciding what was worth keeping. She didn’t want to throw away something she “might” need.
Many new teachers face the same dilemma. Full of ideas and energy they open their classroom only to see a lifetime of someone else’s stuff covering every counter and cupboard. Unsure what they have permission to get rid of, they try to cram it in a corner with hopes someone might one day tell them what it is all for.
Here is a humorous yet practical guide to help you decide what to toss!
- If it is coated in dust…time to toss!
- If it includes black square floppy disc…time to toss!
- If no one can tell you what it is used for…time to toss!
- If no one else wants it…time to toss!
- If you have multiple copies…time to toss!
- If there have been two curriculum adoptions since this one…time to toss!
- If the pages are yellowed or brittle…time to toss!
- If someone says we haven’t used that in ten years…time to toss!
- If it is for a mimeograph machine…time to toss!
- If its broken and you tell yourself you will fix it when you get a chance…time to toss!
- If you have something better or newer to teach the same thing…time to toss!
If you are not sure verify with a grade level teacher or your administrator about what materials are currently being used and embrace the opportunity to let go of the rest. Then you will have plenty of space to make your new classroom your own. Just like my friend did!
The Uncluttered Teacher
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