Monday, June 18, 2018

Calling for a Culling

Hello! My name is Mark, and I am hoarder of classroom materials.

I finished the annual task of packing up and cleaning out my classroom today. For the very first time I chose to leave the posters on the walls, if for no other reason than I did not want to spend the extra time to take them down.

Everything but the furniture must be hauled out by the teachers so that the floors can be cleaned, stripped, and waxed. Fortunately the custodians handle the task of moving the desks, shelves, filing cabinet, and closet on (wheels). All of this is accomplished by a couple weeks before the start of school, and then we haul everything back in and set things back in order.

After I moved my last cart of books and boxes, I noticed that I have much more than a small amount of stuff squirreled away. Take a look:

Yes. Count them. Six cubbies, three cabinets, and spillage out into the floor. All filled with boxes of books, files, desk accessories, decor, toys, arts and crafts supplies, etc. Looking closer will reveal sets and backgrounds from at least two homecoming floats. All of this useful and important in its own time and place, but a pain to pack and move when the building is dark and silent.

I had planned to spend a part of this year to set it all out and then to find it a better home or send it into the trashcan. The goal was reduce my stash to fewer cubbies... but it somehow grew to more! I now admit that I do have a problem. I had set out a special shelf this year marked with a sign reading GRATIS. The idea was place items free for the taking by any student, visitor, or teacher. This process began with good intentions, but as the work and activities grew, the environment withdrew into the background. Sometimes there were piles and stacks to navigate, but never did it stand in the way of our missions.

Something's gotta give, though. I will make it a priority to sift through all these items and keep only which contributes directly to the teaching of six Latin classes or the running of an active Latin Club. After all, having too much stuff can stand in the way of effective use of fewer, higher-quality items. It is time to sift, cull, trash, and give away things that are no longer making the cut. I have gather these items for 31 years. It is time to apply the notion that less is more.

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