Saturday, September 12, 2015
How many of you spend the first 10 minutes after dismissal cleaning up after your students, even though you tell them it's not your job to do so? It never fails that I return to my room from bus duty and immediately start picking up pencils, stacking left over chairs, straightening up the reading center, plugging in iPads, and my personal favorite: finding numerous topless items and searching high and low to find the missing piece to savor our beloved classroom materials. Throwing out glue sticks and expo markers that are perfectly fine with the exception of the lost top hurts my heart... BAD! Those materials are like GOLD.
This year I have the pleasure of learning how to create a successful and effective co-taught classroom. For someone who has never done that, it is very different than a traditional classroom setting. After about a week of teaching together, my co-teacher turned to me and said, "Man! Everything has a place in this room!" I laughed and kind of shrugged my shoulders because she's right... everything has a home in my room...and I teach my students those homes right away. But then I took a quick survey of my room and noticed that the tablet wasn't in the technology center, one of the reading buddies was in the writing center, and there were papers left everywhere. So I can't be THAT OCD, right?? And what's wrong with being OCD anyways??? I will be the first to admit that when I first got told I was a bit of a perfectionist and maybe a little OCD (from a college professor I think very highly of), I thought to myself, NO WAY. Not me. I'm okay with things being out of place. And then I got my own classroom. I realized in order for me to function, things needed to have a place. And that's when my realization that my college professor might have been on to something about this whole "perfectionist/OCD persona"...
My point to writing this post is to share with my teacher friends that being OCD is OKAY, to an extent! In my opinion, if YOU don't feel organized in your classroom, then you cannot do your best teaching and therefore, your students cannot do their best learning. Weekend after weekend I have gone into school with many of my co-workers. I sit there and organize my desk area, my closet, and my binders. I'm not working on lesson plans, or collaborating with other team members who are also spending their Saturday at school. Why? Because I can't do all those things to the best of my ability until my room is organized and I feel organized. So yes, it is a process. And yes, it may take until late September for me to feel completely organized. But that is SUPER important and will simply make life easier for the rest of the year!
Does it bother me when things are not put back correctly and I have to spend 10 minutes after school reorganizing? Oh yeah, sure does. HOWEVER, I have to remind myself that that is truly the sign of a classroom that learning has taken place in. Students are supposed to use the classroom materials you put out for them as a resource, they are supposed to integrate their reading and writing activities, they are encouraged to find spots in the room where they feel they can do the best learning. So yes, being OCD is okay, but try and remind yourself that the messiness at the end of the day means that your students are learning and YOU are teaching!