Before our big trip to the United States, we had nearly 2 weeks of absolutely nothing to do. There were no students, no staff, no classes. Nothing. It’s called desk warming and it’s what I’m doing right now.
Our contract says we need to be at school during our usual working hours. If you have already taken your vacation days and there is still a school break then you need to come to school and keep that desk warm. Some people read books, sleep, watch movies, or whatever. Because I have my own room, I was able to pour a lot of time and energy into it.
My math teacher friend who moved to Chris’s school commented that my room was “so plain.” And I thought, you know what? You’re right. The more I looked at my room the more I thought it was plain, sad and didn’t encourage much of anything.
While desk warming in January I began a full overhaul of my room. Since I moved in I haven’t had many opportunities to turn it inside out and backwards. And that’s what my room really needed- just to be taken apart, cleaned, and put back together.
Besides cleaning up a ridiculous amount of dust and dirt, I had a HUGE pile of trash or just stuff that everyone was too scared to throw away. Paper hats, wooden bridges, key chains, string… I found loads of papers that go back to 2009. I found cassette tapes (obsolete – how long have those been there?) Most importantly I found a bunch of DVDs I didn’t know I had.
The worst was my very large class library. The books are in locked cabinets below the computers. The cabinets are so deep and dark that you couldn’t even see the books unless you bent down to look in. Most students didn’t even know books were there. I didn’t even know for the first month in my room.
I thought that was a huge waste of the 200+ books I have. So I pulled them all out and began organizing them.
It took me a full 3 days but I sorted them into genre then organize them on the shelves. I put boxes behind them so they would be close to the glass. They’re finally in the light and you can actually see the library. I’ve finally seen students looking at them and acting at least somewhat interested.
The books were so organized and pretty it made the rest of my room look like a disaster (in my opinion). So I went to work organizing everything.
From the desks, to the cords; from the walls even down to the keys I wiped the dust off of everything, slapped a label on it and then put it in a better spot.
All my running around got some attention – just before the old vice principal left she complimented my work to the general staff. Some teachers that just moved to this school even heard about it. So I’m excited to have a reputation as a hard worker rather than a lazy westerner.
In the US I bought some cheapo plastic tablecloths and put those up for some color.
My students have assigned seating usually by their class number but I changed it to letters. I actually superglued them to the tables so we’ll see how long that lasts.
I’m slowly collecting pins from where students have been/lived.
Up until a week ago, my main bulitan board was all about class rules and English names. We’re long past that so I came up with a new, interesting board. False friends (mostly I got tired of hearing my students refer to cheating as “cunning” which don’t mean the same things at all).