Tuesday, July 28, 2009
So Where Did all This Stuff Come From?
Do elementary school teachers ever throw anything away? My guess is "no".
Today I went with Elijah to see his new classroom. He wanted to set up an instrument area for all kinds of instruments to show his elementary music students, so we took a trunk full of them. We also took a chess board and a box full of music books. We thought we'd whiz in there, settle the instruments and books into the closets, meet a few people, eat lunch, and come back home. Well we thought...
The room was spacious and fairly new. It had one window with a great view out over the empty prairie. It also had a file cabinet, a wall of new, short cabinets, a built-in coat closet, dilapidated metal closet, five tables, 16 chairs, a piano, with a crooked leg and two little white statues on top (Beethoven and Haydn, I think) a teacher's desk and three old, brown, broken-down desk chairs on wheels. Every shelf of every closet...every drawer of the file cabinet...the tops of the closets and cabinets--they were all full.
There was bulletin board stuff, music and more music, construction paper, poster board, old tapes, cd's, dvd's, and even records. The biggest headache, though, occupied the only real closet in the room...you know, the lockable one where the teacher is supposed to hang his coat and store his lunch? It was popping out and running over with costumes for musicals--pirate stuff, stacked sets of hats--all kinds, swords, glitter wands and feather masks, Groucho Marx glasses, pilgrim outfits, angel wings, nutcrackers, wigs, boots, and jester bells. We didn't know where to begin, because there was no place for any of the stuff he had brought.
Before we despaired completely, however, another teacher came to his rescue and showed us a storage room where the teachers keep all their leftover junk. We moved a few labeled boxes in there and grabbed more furniture. (She said anything that didn't have a name and 'keep your hands off sign' on it was free to whatever teacher saw it first.) No, we didn't find anything so grand as a book case, but we found a sturdy upright cabinet with doors and a partially empty file cabinet. We moved all the costume stuff into the old upright metal cabinet and were able to find room for Elijah's stuff in the real closet. We relocated the books and teaching supplies he thought he would use--and there were many of those--into the new cabinet. We sorted stuff into the drawers of the empty file cabinet--games, baskets, tapes, cds, mementos of choir contests and programs. Then we carried some of the tables and the three dilapidated chairs back to the store room. He brought a black computer chair from his apartment; it looks much more manly.
Elijah has great ideas about teaching and setting up a stage area for the instruments. I think it's going to be a good room after all...if someone will just help him make some bulletin boards...