Friday, August 7, 2009

Boxes, Boxes, and MORE BOXES!!!

I don't get paid to go back to work until Tuesday (8/10). Hence, one would think I would go back to work on Tuesday. Not true. I am a teacher, which means I do MUCH work without pay. I spent the past week in my classroom going through box after box after box. After box. Part of the reason I went back early, was because after 4 1/2 years of teaching, I know it takes longer to unpack a classroom than it does to unpack a house. I don't know why, it just does. Again, one would think I wouldn't have to pack up every single item in the room since I stayed in the same room, but I did. Such is life. At my school, it's usually better to not ask questions. So, I knew I had a ton of boxes to unpack, and when I walked in Monday morning, a new realization came crashing down on me. I had tons more boxes in my room than I ended the year with because all of the 7th grade curriculum was now in my room. This is what I saw when I walked in.

I would say there were a minimum of 60 boxes in my room. This may be skewed logic, but I decided that given the circumstances, I'd start with the furniture, and then I'd be able to put the contents of the boxes in their assigned locations. This was a great idea, but in order to do that, I had to move the boxes to move the furniture. So once the furniture was in place, I had to move and open the boxes again. Oh well, good exercise, right? So, I moved all the student desks into groups, moved my desk to it's place, and the bookshelves to their place. Doing this along with all the boxes was a bit like doing one of those tile puzzles where there's a square container with tiles, minus one and you have to get them all into the correct place, moving one at a time. Either way, it got done.

Then, I started opening boxes. Now, it's one thing to unpack boxes that you packed. It's another to unpack boxes with things you are not familiar with. The first thing I discovered was that I seemed to have an immense number of boxes of science materials. I would say at least 30 of the boxes are science materials (test tube racks, beakers, goggles, chemicals, rocks, microscopes, etc.) That was a sad discovery that I'm going to have to house all that business, I don't know where. Next, I discovered that I inherited an inordinate amount of textbooks. I took all the ones I needed and still had about 15 extra boxes in the back of my room. I had 70 extra dictionaries, 160 extra history workbooks, 40 extra science books, and the list goes on. It was crazy! (And it wasn't like the other 7th grade teachers needed them, they're just extra. So that's a bit of a mystery.) Finally, I discovered that I acquired every single item out of a person's
classroom who retired. Every item, right down to ancient textbooks, old software, erasers and
paper clips. Among other things, I discovered a clipboard from the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a set of 1961 Encyclopedias, and 11 boxes of manila folders!! Crazy talk (and a little bit irritating).

So, I buckled down and starting finding places for as much as I could. By the end of Day 1 of De-Boxing, I had 3 out of 4 of the required textbooks in the students' desks, my classroom library of reading books on the shelf, and many of the peripheral reference books we use in class on the shelf, in addition to the furniture being arranged. There were still at least 2/3 of the boxes still full, but I had at least opened most of the boxes to find out what was in them and arranged them in appropriate locations around the room. The entire east wall was covered in Science materials (still is). The south wall had the boxes and boxes of extra, unneeded materials that
showed up. The west wall had all of my own boxes. Still a lot of boxes, but I at least knew what
was in them. In the center of the room were all the empty boxes, where I tossed them with great relish.

5 days later, many of the boxes are still there, but they are at least contained in a bit more orderly fashion. :-) Now, all boxes are either unpacked or touching a wall, my desk is functional, all computers are functioning, laptops are updating as we speak, no boxes remain on desks, and posters are up. Now, I just need to figure out what I'm going to teach in said classroom!!


Southwestern Pirate said...

Save that old clipboard and the encyclopedias. And any other stuff older than 1975. sell it on ebay. :)

John Spencer said...

Looks like a factory.

Ross said...

Quick story, in one of the storage rooms here, a staff member found unopened military bread rations from 1962. It was quite the news around campus, so much so that some upper administration took a can to see what was actually in it. Nobody that I've talked to has any idea where it would have come from, let alone why it's been sitting in a residence hall for the last four decades.

Congratulations on working through setting up! I haven't started quite yet, but will be getting into my office in the next week or so.

Those first pictures are crazy. Good luck trying to find a location for everything and recycling the rest.