Some teachers dread having to move classrooms while others like the opportunity for a fresh start (or maybe even the chance for an upgrade).
Sometimes it means teaching a year level you've never taught before and sometimes it means moving into a dreaded demountable.
Whether you count it as a positive or a negative, one thing is for sure. It is a huge undertaking!
In Today's blog I'm going to take you through my three phase approach for moving classrooms in an efficient, easy and stress free manner.
I recommend starting this phase early- even if there is only a small chance you have to move classrooms.
In phase 1 you need to go through every inch of your classroom culling and sorting.
Start from the area immediately to the right of your classroom door and work around all the cupboards, displays and furniture until you end up back at door.
Teachers are usually hoarder. We have stacks of items saved up for that one time we might need use them. But if you haven't used something in the last 5 years then you probably aren't going to!
If you are really struggling to throw something out then search Pinterest for ideas on a way you can use it within the next couple of weeks. You can also pass it on to another teacher ;-) I am a big fan of the 'free' post it note on an item placed in the staff room or common area.
Basically, you want to try and avoid having to lug too much to your next class. This includes any recyclables students have been bringing in for miscellaneous projects through out the year.
Have a big construction afternoon where students are free to make anything and they then take that item home. You can get students to bring in a fresh crop next year.
This was my cupboard before I did a construction afternoon. This cupboard is completely empty of recyclables now.
The other thing you are doing during this phase is sorting. Make sure everything is where it is meant to be so you don't have loose floating pieces and like things together and organised.
This phase can sound really daunting but the key is just to take it one section at a time. Set aside five minutes before school and/or after school. Maybe 5 minutes during your lunch break or even if the students are doing activity that they don't need your help for.
Just start with one area and then just keep moving along doing small sections at a time. I think it can also help to watch a Marie Kondo episode for motivation!
In phase 2 we're getting ready to actually move out of the room. Start by emptying all of your cupboards. Place all the items you won't need to use for the rest of the year into one spot in the room. Use cardboard boxes or storage tubs as needed to keep your things contained. The boxes photocopy paper come in are great for this but you can also ask at your local shopping centres for excess boxes. Label your boxes to keep a track of where everything is.
Anything you will need to use, place on top of counters around the room. We still want the classroom usable but this will make moving a lot easier.
This is the contents from all my cupboards during my last classroom move.
By phase 3 there shouldn't be much left on the walls or the counters. From here you need to write up a plan on packing up the rest of your items. Don't leave everything till the last day.
Curtains and displays can come down 3 or 4 days before the end of the school. Resources can be packed up as you finish up using them. Return items to the library and storage cupboards. Write up when you will pack each item.
Aim to have everything packed up by the last school day with your students. This means you can use your students to help transport all your items to the new room. By having all the items in one space they will know exactly what needs to go and you'll have it in manageable boxes/containers. If your students are too little to help with much ask an upper school teacher to borrow a few students on the last day. Trust me, they won't mind loosing a few students for part of the day.
Discuss this with the teacher in the classroom you are moving into and ask them for a space free to place your items in. This allows you to then have the last day of school which is usually a PD day to start setting up your room and not have to leave it all to your holidays.
Everyone loves to move into a clean classroom. So after you have emptied your cupboards, wipe them down. Clean out drawers and wash the chairs. As you pull down displays ensure you remove staples, pins and blu tac/sticky tape residue. Hopefully the teacher of the classroom you are moving into does this for you too.
When you are setting up your new classroom don't feel like you have to have everything up for the first day of school. Your new classroom can grow and change with you and your new classroom.
If you are moving schools then use this same approach but instead of placing items in a corner of your room take them straight to your car and back to your house. Each day continue to take another few things home until you have everything out of your classroom.
I hope you have found this blog post useful if you are moving classroom this year!
What's your best tip when moving classrooms?