Friday, June 16, 2006

The Last Day of School & How it Nearly Made Me Crazy


Another school year over.

No matter how good the class has been (and this one was good), I still LOVE the last day of school! I love having a job with a fresh start and a definite ending every ten months.

I will tell you that this year it was more difficult to get ready to go than it usually is. Due to a colleague's retirement, I have the opportunity to move into his classroom. This colleague has been teaching since 1967 (the year I was born!), and has been in his current room for 14 years. I have been in a portable building for eight years, and I would like to have a classroom in a real building.

The problem?

He. Has. Never. Thrown. Anything. Away.

He can't seem to part with anything. He offered me his stuff, but I told him that after ten years of doing this for a living, I'm set. I don't need anything else. So, he decided that the new teacher we'll be hiring must need his stuff. So to my old classroom (the new teacher's room) he sent:

Teaching books... from the 1970s.

Obsolete world almanacs and encyclopedias.

Boxes and boxes of dittos (we haven't had a ditto machine in at least 8 years). These dittos weren't just old, they were used - student writing all over 'em.

Hundreds (maybe thousands) of chapter books - some apparently never touched by students. They were like new. Some have been saved for the new teacher. Some have been donated to our PTO reading program. Some are being donated to another school in the district.

Used crayons.

Used markers.

Used colored pencils.

Nearly empty glue bottles.

Training binders from 1995 and 1996.

Workbooks with most of the pages torn out of them.

Ancient, faded posters.

It took about ten minutes of his students carrying over boxes of this junk, before I had to call him and say that my room was full and to please stop sending things over. That just means they are in my new (his old) classroom and I will have to toss them when I return in late August, but I didn't want this brand new teacher to have to spend days of her time going through all his crap. I had to do that my first year of teaching, and it's no fun to go through someone else's thirty years of accumulated crap.

I was feeling so angry with him for creating so much more work for me and I was just about to cry tears of frustration in front of my students, when an angel of a volunteer mom walked in my door, surveyed the horrible mess, and said she'd be right back to help me make sense of it all. When she returned, we spent forty minutes deciding what to keep and what to toss. After school, the amount that was tossed filled an entire portable dumpster that the custodian uses on his daily rounds. He had filled another such dumpster the day before with more of the crap my colleague had sent to my classroom then.

I'm still upset and overwhelmed by this whole situation. I now realize that I will have to go back to work two or three days earlier this year just to continue purging his room of all that crap. I'm sorry I keep using that word - junk or garbage just doesn't seem strong enough!

Why can't some people throw things away?


Update: I just did a little Google style research. This type of behavior is considered "compulsive hoarding" and treatment is usually ineffective. People like this think everything "might" have some value at "sometime". Sheesh... I guess you could call them a CRAP ADDICT!

Hehehe... I crack myself up sometimes!


  • At 5:45 PM, Blogger Connie said…

    Pack Rats...sounds like you have the king rat on your hands. You'll probably find bookworms from the dark ages in there....and their great-great-great-great grand bookworm's dried out bodies.

    That crap is probably his treasure though (I'm trying). Perhaps he thinks he is doing you a favor? ;0)

    This, too, shall pass.

  • At 6:08 PM, Blogger Paulette said…

    Happy last day (me too), boy us teachers are sure pack rats and he sonds like the bigest rat around :0

  • At 6:12 PM, Blogger Julie said…

    Yeah, I cured myself of that syndrome when I moved to New Jersey. Since they I get some freaky high purging clutter and reorganizing.

    Sorry you have to deal with that!

  • At 6:18 PM, Blogger Michelle said…

    Ugh - that is seriously frustrating! But YEAH that you are done with school for the year - you must start alot later than we do here in St. Louis - our public schools have been out for a few weeks now!

    I'm the complete opposite of a pack rat - to the point where I'm afraid that I'm doing to throw away some very special momentos from the adoption. Yikes!

  • At 8:24 PM, Blogger Lisa and Tate said…

    It must be an amazing feeling to be done with the school year and ready to have a few months of fun!!! You are a good soul to clean out and de-crap someone else's room!!!! I hope the new teacher will appreciate this!!!


  • At 8:59 PM, Blogger Michelle said…

    Crap Addict! Ha Ha! That's a bummer that you have to deal with that. Think how nice your new classroom will be after you get done with it. Here's to a wonderful summer!

  • At 10:19 PM, Blogger Kristin said…

    Oh my gosh... this sounds so much like Jake's teacher! The boys' school is being knocked down this summer and we have all helped the teachers pack up their rooms and oh. My. Lord. The CRAP!!! She kept trying to foist stuff (books, old globes, etc...) off on me and I RAN!

  • At 10:26 PM, Blogger AprilMay said…

    Oh what a NIGHTMARE! We call those teachers, "trash teachers"...terrible, I know! Luckily, I have a very picky headmaster at my private school, who will literally go around to each classroom and make sure there are no piles of crap! I know what you mean about the 10 months...I can't imagine a job that has no END in sight! ;)

  • At 8:23 AM, Blogger Tamara said…

    Bless your heart! (good ole' southern saying) I'm feeling the pain for you. I hate cleaning out my own "crap" let alone someone elses- good grief! WHAT was he THINKING?!?!??!

  • At 9:52 PM, Blogger Jen said…

    I have a colleague and friend who also suffers from this illness. He is the sweetest, kindest man if you get past his peculiarities, but he simply cannot part with anything. When he retired, my boss and I simply took it upon ourselves without telling him and cleaned out his office. It took us two three day weekends and two dumpsters. We, of course, saved anything we thought was personal, but as you said most everything else was really junk... sooo many copies upon copies of the same things. It's sad if you think about how trapped these people are by the things around them. He seemed relieved it was over although he never could have done it himself. Hang in there Joannah, and bring plenty of trash bags.

  • At 10:42 PM, Blogger Katherine said…

    Happy Summer! And thanks for the memory of ditto machines. I remember helping my mom run off copies for her students (many years ago). We used to keep the yellow sheet from the masters as drawing paper at home.


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