At the end of the year, I always struggle when it’s time to pack up my classroom for summer cleaning. It always takes me days to complete this task, no matter what I try to do to facilitate the process. Things would probably progress a little faster and easier if I wasn’t such a packrat. I hate to get rid of anything because I’m always afraid that later on, I’ll regret tossing something that I’d thrown out in a cleaning frenzy, even if it’s something I haven’t touched in years.
Realizing that it was time to get busy, I started going through my files to purge anything unnecessary. I quickly filled up my recycling box, as well as a basket for things that need to be shredded. I organized files to keep and tried to find a spot for them in my crammed-to-overflowing filing cabinets. I came across running records from my first year of teaching and decided that it was time to toss them, especially since most of those kids are now high school graduates. I found minutes from meetings held in 2004 and started humming “Let It Go.”
I also started going through my classroom library to determine what, if anything, needed to be culled. I chose books to give away while trying to straighten up my guided reading and independent reading libraries. Somehow, no matter how organized I try to be, copies of books for guided reading get mixed up with independent reading materials and vice versa. Occasionally, I even find a stray library book months after the original due date. Often, I come across a book that I’ve forgotten about, so I have to stop, sit down, and re-read it before it can be packed away for the summer.
As I look around at everything that has to be done in the next week, I realize that I’m not ready to say good-bye to the school year. It’s been a good year with a lot of learning and progress with so much to celebrate. Maybe I drag my feet when it’s time to pack up my classroom because the empty bookshelves and stack of totes are a visible reminder that the year is over.