Classroom Tour

Drumroll, please…

The classroom is finally ready to go!  Well, mostly.  It’s at least to the point where I feel prepared to receive students.  Without further adieu…

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Here’s the entrance area. (As a yearbook adviser, I feel compelled to put out the disclaimer that the awkward empty space at the top of the bulletin board is KILLING me, but I know it will be filled with flyers and information once school starts so I’m letting it go.)

I teach theology at a catholic school, so I need to set the tone when you first step in the room.  On the front bulletin board, I hung a cross (a souvenir from Italy) and leaned a framed print of different images of Christ on top of the book shelf.  The poster is old and I hope to replace it with a faith themed poster instead. (Etsy, here I come!)  The border on the whiteboard reads, “…teach me your ways so I may know you…Exodus 33:13”. The plan is to use this section of the board for daily prayer intentions.

In addition to teaching theology, I also advise yearbook.  The  bookcase in the front of the room contains yearbook supplies.  The table holds our yearbook “mail center” which is waiting to be updated and organized by the new staff.  The yearbook supplies continue on the other side of the door as well.

The other items on bulletin board are the “essentials” – schedules, the lunch rotation, class sponsors, emergency procedures, etc.  On top of the table is a Mickey Mouse tray which holds extra pens for student use (no touching my nice pens on my desk!), tissues and the bathroom sign-out.  I have 27 desks in my room and no space for extras, but our school hosts middle school visitors each year.  I got the stack of purple chairs from a retiring teacher and pull them out whenever I need a spare seat.

Yearbook area continued.

Yearbook area continued.

The whiteboard in this area is divided into sections for the yearbook staff to utilize (More on this area in a future post). The computers are for my staff’s use. The bulletin board in the back is their’s as well.

Personal area. (The In Style magazine on the desk is not a product placement.  Don't they feature photos of all the places their magazine is taken?  Maybe I can be their back to school issue!)

Personal area. (The In Style magazine on the desk is not a product placement. Don’t they feature photos of all the places their magazine is taken? Maybe I can be their back to school issue!)

This is the back of the classroom and my own little corner. I’m spoiled and get my room all to myself, so this is the are I’ve claimed. The wire shelves contain planning materials and a stack of prayer books. The metal file holder on the top of the desk has six sections – one for each of my classes. My pen holder (Go Cards!) holds my favorite grading pens and behind the desk you can see part of my Keurig (what did teachers do before the Keurig?). The bulletin board next to the wire shelves is my personal board. It changes throughout the year as I find new treasures and receive gifts and cards from students and friends that I want to display. (Featuring my “I’d rather be at Pemberley” sticker!)

In the opposite corner...my other desk!

In the opposite corner…my other desk!

The front desk is my “computer desk” – ShinyNewMonitor(!) has arrived. The bulletin board in this area displays all my photos former students have given me along with a poster that reads, “Wherever you go, you leave a footprint.”

The purple shelves on top of the heater/air conditioner were a bargain I found at Good Will. They came in sets of three and were originally varying shades of blue. I painted them all and stacked them up. They’re a perfect spot to feature some of my treasures and trinkets I’ve collected over the years.

The tall bookshelf has a shelf for each of my four preps. Each theology class has an assigned plastic tray where students turn in papers. I’m a total stickler about the turn-in trays. After 8 years, I’ve learned that it’s best to have one designated area to accept all incoming assignments. If it wasn’t placed in the tray, it wasn’t turned in as far as I’m concerned.

Computer desk.  I really just took this picture to document that it is possible for me to have this desk cleared off.  (I'll need this reminder later.)

Computer desk. I really just took this picture to document that it is possible for me to have this desk cleared off. (I’ll need this reminder later.)

Poster on the podium in the front of the room.  Quote by Rosa Parks.

Poster on the podium in the front of the room. Quote by Rosa Parks.

In addition to finishing the classroom preparations (finally!), I also updated my phone extension list, shared my new classroom technology procedure with some colleagues and updated my class participation logs. Oh, and we had our second welcome back meeting in the morning. This means my grand total of work hours today was 9.5.

Distribution Day – One Yearbook Out, Let the Next One Begin!

I’m just going to come right out and say it, I’m logging a bajillion hours for today.  That’s what it feels like I worked.  Today was the day every yearbook adviser dreads and looks forward to at the same time…Distribution Day (but mostly dreads).

I started out early today and gave myself plenty of time to stop for iced coffee on the way to school (a MUST!). Once there, I grabbed my supplies from the classroom and headed over to the cafeteria for distribution.  Normally I would have my staff up there to actually take care of the distribution; but this year, I’m in the (terrifying!) unique position of having only one returning staffer. My staff last year consisted of 11 seniors and two freshman. One of the now-sophomores is coming back, but this is a major rebuilding year, so I expected to do a lot of the work I would normally delegate to the editors.

My set up for distribution was pretty low-key. Our distribution is part of a back-to-school event where students have the yearbook picture taken, pick up their laptops and organize their lockers. Our distribution table is just one of several stops for the students. I placed class lists by grade level at the front of the table with pens. Students checked off their names and grabbed a book. No fuss.*

Once they opened the cafeteria doors, it was non-stop from 9am until noon. I spent most of that time unpacking more yearbooks, fixing laptops issues, pointing out lockers (to the freshmen) and catching up with students. Several advisees stopped by to thank me for their welcome back cards.

After distribution, I went out to grab a quick lunch and then came back to work on…you guessed it…my classroom. Again. I’m beginning to think that my classroom door is leading me into some kind of space-time vortex. I keep going in and thinking, “I’m almost done” and then, hours later, leaving and thinking, “There’s so much to do!” To prove I’ve been working, here’s a list of what I did today:
– switched a “hodge-podge” bulletin board to a picture board showcasing photos given to me by students
– found a place for the three boxes of extra yearbooks that will be picked up over the next couple of weeks
– cleaned and organized my desk drawer (This was a JOB, let me tell you.)
– set-up a new organization/file system for my advisement (So exciting! More in a future post.)
– pulled all the desks that need to be replaced

I also spent some time teaching a coworker how to set up her seating arrangements using our online system. So maybe not a bajillion, but eight hours of work on a Saturday still has me feeling fairly accomplished. 🙂

Don’t expect a post from me tomorrow. I have to work open to close at the retail job, and then I hope to spend my last night of “vacation” with my family.*I should mention I work at a private school where the yearbook is included in the activity fees. This means every student gets a book and makes distribution much easier.

Classroom Decor that Shows Personality

No post yesterday because I didn’t do any school work. Instead, I made the four hour journey to be with my family for the night. (See previous post for more.) So unless y’all let me count sitting in the hospital waiting room, searching Etsy for a mouse pad for my ShinyNewMonitor(!), I don’t have anything to report from yesterday. (Although all of my Etsy purchases will make their homes in the classroom. Sneak peek of my finds at the bottom of the post.)

So today I made the return journey and drove straight up to school. I worked in the classroom for two hours and, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever entered a school year with a room this clean and organized. I really am down to the finishing touches, but it’s still not quite there. I was able to borrow a cart from the office down the hall today. I used it to haul out all the recycling and trash. Turns out I can accumulate an awful lot after being in the same classroom for five years.

Here’s a review of some of my Etsy purchases.  Click on the pictures to go to the Etsy shops and let the fun begin!

Don't you think this mouse pad will be the perfect complement to ShinyNewMonitor(!)? I think so, too.  The room is decorated in purple with accents of orange.

Don’t you think this mouse pad will be the perfect complement to ShinyNewMonitor(!)? I think so, too. The room is decorated in purple with accents of orange. It’s like a sunset and I love it. From Laa766.

Can this bumper sticker count as room decor if I intend to hang it on my personal bulletin board near my desk?  I'm thinking an extra credit point to any student who can explain the reference. ;)

Can this bumper sticker count as room decor if I intend to hang it on my personal bulletin board near my desk? I’m thinking an extra credit point to any student who can explain the reference. 😉 From one of my fave shops – BookFiend.

A comfortable place to rest my beverages and a fun way to make the Boy Who Lived part of my classroom?  Sold.  From the Breakable Designs.

A comfortable place to rest my beverages and a fun way to make the Boy Who Lived part of my classroom? Sold. From the Breakable Designs.

It takes a village…

Or in this case, a group of really amazing coworkers.

I was beyond stressed at the end of the school year last May. I was trying to finish the yearbook, grade exam projects, prepare for the trip to Europe and trying to pack up my room all by June 1. On top of all of that, I was working way too many hours at my other job. There was no way I was going to be able to accomplish it all and I was on the verge of a mega-meltdown. Luckily for me, I have some awesome coworkers who stepped in and volunteered to take care of the room-packing for me. Seriously, I have no words for what a huge relief this was.

And pack they did! When I got back into my classroom in July, every shelf, table and bulletin board had been boxed up. My room hadn’t experienced that level of cleaning in…well, not since I moved in, that’s for sure.

Which brings me to the hours I’ve put in for the day. I actually did most of the unpacking in July (but since that was while I was on “vacation”, those hours don’t count). While on vacay, I unpacked all the boxes and began making piles: store, keep handy, toss or recycle. Many trash bags and one huge recycling bin later, I now just have to find a new home for all the things I need to keep. And that’s what I was working on today.

In addition to organizing the room, today was yearbook distribution for the recent grads. The alumnae office hosts a bbq each year before everyone leaves for college. This year, it was another example of some of those amazing coworkers all pitching in and volunteering. Technically, only the administrative offices are back to work until next week. And yet, the bbq today was filled with my coworkers – grilling, cleaning and wishing luck to our newest alumnae. Which is why I’m logging these hours onto my blog/timeclock.

Today’s total, between room organizing and yearbook distributing, is 5 hours.

PS – for documentation purposes (and for the morbidly curious), here are some pics of the room before I started on it today. I’ll post more once everything has found its new home.

View from the door. Say "hello" to the keep piles!

View from the door. Say “hello” to the keep piles!

More cluttered desks and bare walls.

More cluttered desks and bare walls.

Yearbook corner, second teacher desk and, get this, the totally cleared out and organized cabinet! Tada!

Yearbook corner, second teacher desk and, get this, the totally cleared out and organized cabinet! Tada!

Bare bulletin boards = BORING!

Bare bulletin boards = BORING!

Teacher desk #1 - hopefully, next time you see this it will be topped by a shiny new monitor!

Teacher desk #1 – hopefully, next time you see this it will be topped by a shiny new monitor!