I’m getting closer to moving in to my new digs at my new high school!
A few weeks ago, Pete let me know that he’d decided which room I’d be occupying. He warned me not to settle in just yet, though, because the custodians hadn’t done their summer floor refinishing.
When I left CHS, I took everything – EVERYTHING – that belonged to me; I would be damned if I was going to donate anything to that place. As a consequence, I had a LOT of stuff; I’d bought decorations and posters and such, I’d bought a TON of books (well, not literally, but it sure felt like it once they were all packed), I’d bought book cases from IKEA. ALL of it came with me. When I was given the heave-ho, Mr. Chili went to Staples and bought dozens of boxes into which I packed pens and Post-it notes, books and magazines, containers of wipes and bottles of Lysol, posters and magnets and bumper stickers. All of those boxes got stored at Chez Chili, divided between the basement and the as-yet-unfinished master bathroom and, after Pete decided which room would be mine next year, my family helped me cart all those boxes up the stairs and into my new space.
The boxes sat on top of tables for a couple of weeks while we waited for the custodians to work their magic, and the other day one of the lovely office ladies, whom I’ll refer to here as Molly, sent me a message giving me the green light to come in and start unpacking.
My nephew, Nate, who’s been living with us since November (he’s moving here from England and has had a bit of trouble finding a good IT job) was keen to help, so we packed up the un-assembled book cases and made the half hour trip to the school. I started unpacking boxes while he started putting together a book case, only to realize that he’d failed to put the case backs in the car. This wasn’t REALLY a problem, though; there is a built-in book case in the room, plus a freestanding unit against a wall, so I was able to put some of my books away. Besides, what I REALLY wanted the man to do was to get a handle on all the computers in the room and, given that this is his particular talent, he was happy to help.
There are tables around two edges of my room upon which are situated a number of computers for the students to use. While I’m not obsessively type A, I really do like my environment to be neat and orderly, and these computers were ANYTHING but; there were cables EVERYWHERE. Nate had noticed this when we were moving the boxes in and volunteered to get all that mess under control; as soon as we got home from the box moving trip, he went online and bought some velcro straps and assured me that he’d put the whole thing right for me.
He did. He spent most of the other day tracing cables back to their origins (at one point making me laugh by walking into the middle of the room with a line of cable spooling out behind him, then turning to me with an hysterical look on his face and saying, in his lovely British accent, “Right; this cable needs to be about 18 inches long. What is this? 10 feet? What were they THINKING?!”) and making sure that everything worked properly. I kept myself busy unpacking books which, I’m not ashamed to say, felt a little like Christmas; I rediscovered books I’d forgotten I had – AND I found all of MY copies of the books I teach (distinguishable by all the myriad sticky note flags in the pages; despite a world-class English teacher training, I still cannot bring myself to write in the margins of books).
By the time we thought to look up, it was already quarter past five and we needed to get home. We went back today – with Bean in attendance – to do some finishing up, so we put the book case backs in the car and headed over. Nate built book cases (there’s still one left to build; we need to find some more wooden plugs because we somehow came up short) and I filled them. Bean had a blast decorating my classroom with posters, stickers, magnets, and memes I’ve printed from the internet.
By the time we left this evening, I felt really good about the way the room looks. Bean has promised to come back with me next week to help me sort all the books. Some of them are in logical places, but the ones I put away today were just thrown on shelves with no discernible order, and I can’t have that; I need to have at least a general idea of where to look for a title. There’s still a bit of work to be done – the tables need to be rearranged, I need to decide which chairs I’m going to use (I’m hoping to switch out the chairs that are in the room for rolling chairs from a room down the hall) and I NEED some plants – but I’m confident that I can make this space a really great and welcoming place for students to learn.