The Kids Like It Clean

Well, the classroom was a hit. A hilarious hit. The kids came rumbling in this morning and quickly came to an astonished halt when they walked through the door. They stopped and stared, looking all around like it was a museum. I have to admit, my heart skipped a beat. It's just not every day - okay, more like it's not any day that people young or old marvel at any space of mine because of its cleanliness. I heard all kinds of comments like, "It's so clean." And, "Wow, where did everything go?" I was loving it. One very bright and quick witted little girl even went so far as to peek out the door, look up at the sign and say, "Is this really Mrs. Russell's class?" Very clever. I will have to say, though, after awhile, as more and more kids came in and commented, I started to think it really must have been something awful!

So, it's time for an admission. Here it goes. While I have learned to be honest about my weaknesses and play to my strengths, I get it. I'm starting to appreciate those that claim the OCD behaviors that keep a space spotless. It does feel good. And it's so much more efficient. You should have seen me walking around there today making sure things were tidied and maintained as the day progressed. And it sure made clean up at the end of the day easier!

I have to thank my dear teacher friend across the hall in the 5th grade classroom who stayed late for awhile Friday to help me create systems I had never thought of. Teamwork at its finest. It made me appreciate so deeply the necessity to share our gifts with one another. We must not keep our strengths to ourselves, when they can so enhance the lives of someone else. If you are naturally organized and think a thrilling Saturday means cleaning out the closets, then you and I might never understand each other. But I could never tell someone like you how much I appreciate when you help someone like me create "a place for everything," and help to "put everything in its place." In my mind it's all kind of a jumbled mess. Like the stinky little Charlie Brown character who walks around with that dingy, dirty cloud. But I could at least be good for a laugh in the process!

So thank you to my students for noticing and appreciating my hard work. I pray you feel loved, nurtured, and lead well here.
Thank you to all the naturally organized people who offer grace to those who struggle to grasp the concept. I am in awe of your gift.
Thank you to all those who, like me, refuse to pretend to be anything other than a beautiful mess...and aren't afraid to ask for help.
And here's to another day of having a desk I can see. Because after all...the kids like it clean.

(P.S. Those of you who are or used to be teachers: trust me, I'm aware this room will not win any awards. But for me, it's a win. I mean, you should have seen it before! :) )


Savannah said...

I love your classroom! and your blog :) The US floor mat, "caught being kind" door and cute striped curtains in what looks like a reading corner... ADORABLE! I wish I could be your student :) I was also greatly encouraged by your other posts and I could not stop myself from reading every one! Glad to know someone else is on a grocery budget! On most days, it is a fun adventure picking the perfect mix of food and coupons. Hope you all are doing well!

Chris said...

I was giggling at your students' reactions to the room. If I have one desk out of place in my room, my students (Freshman) look like they're walking through a time warp. It's amazing how they react to the slightest changes! I had fun looking around at all your stuff. Looks great!