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So You're Moving Classrooms...


Whether you are moving for the 27th time and you just want to crawl in one of your bins and cry... Or you are moving for the first time and you still want to crawl in one of your bins and cry, this post is for you.

I've been there. Moving sucks... no matter what capacity you have to move. Houses, schools, classrooms, hallways... waaaahhhhhhh. It all makes me want to cry too.

I am going into my 4th year of teaching and this is the 4th time I am moving. I have never had the luxury of just moving classrooms either. I have moved schools each time (I swear, I don't get fired or that I am running away from my schools each year ha!)

I got to stay in my first classroom for two years (whoop whoop!)

Then my first school built a new school so we had to pack up the whole school and move at the end of my second year. However, I never got to teach at that new school (waaahhhhh again). I literally moved classrooms twice in one summer.

My husband got a job weeks before school started and we had to pack up our house and then sort through all the stuff in storage and at the "new school" to re-pack it before I even got to teach there. We then moved everything 350 miles across the state and lived in a hotel my first three weeks of school. Not for the weak!

We survived (even though my husband was about thisclose to tossing my whole classroom, after it was more work to move than our house ha!) and now I am moving schools again to a nearby district. Even more so, my classroom isn't ready, so I have to store all my stuff yet again.

I am here to help based on what I have learned in the hopes that your loved ones won't want to toss your whole classroom :).
Boxes

Just a notice to start collecting them now. I can tell you that in the four times I've moved I have NEVER said, "I have all these extra boxes. Now what?" I am usually diving through dumpsters or creating a presentation to convince my husband why I need 1,984 more bins from the store. 



DO use your students (or other teachers' students) to help

I can say this from experience... your students are a great resource (if you teach primary, I will get to that in one second). 

When we had to pack up the whole school, because we were getting a new one, I was honestly kind of annoyed because so many people were moving and packing for a solid two weeks (while we were still in school!) I knew that I could get my whole room packed, with the help of my students, in less than a day, and we did. They also went and then helped my primary grade teaching friend pack hers too! 

I know we couldn't pack the whole school in that short time, but when you have a whole army of students who can (and want to!) help, then it honestly doesn't take that long. Don't stress about time. It will, and always does, get done. 

Now, if you teach primary and don't want a bunch of 5 year olds packing boxes :). send an email or ask your teacher friends if you can borrow some older kids. 

I have always taught the oldest group of kids at my schools, and there are some kids who are so helpful (and always ask if I need help) and I send them. We have no problem sharing, especially at the end of the year. 



DON'T use your students to help if you don't want to 

I know I am contradicting myself a bit, but I have a reason. 

My students are always so helpful, but sometimes they aren't ha! 

When it comes to my teacher supplies, professional development books, my resources binders, and even certain sections of the classroom library, I tell my students to leave it. This allows me time to think about what I need for the summer, and how I will pack it. 

The most difficult thing that comes from students helping is they pack EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING. If you know you need to go through stuff to purge or organize for storage then don't let them pack it, because they will. 

You will then get to your new classroom with 47 copies of a book you don't need (with a bunch of random school supplies rolling around the bottom) and you just moved this said box all over the state for no reason (Don't tell your husband about this. He will not be amused that the heaviest box of the bunch was basically just an arm workout). 

This can sometimes be hard when your students really want to help, and you are kind of out of ideas for what they can do, but just have some adult coloring pages on hand, until you can find something you do need help with. You will thank yourself later.  

Classroom Library 

This is always the most daunting task for me, simply because of the volume of books I have. However, this has actually led to, what I consider, a very updated and well-kept classroom library. 

Despite my library bins, I pack it into big boxes and bins every single time. My students help me a lot, but again, there are bins I have told them to leave. 

For example, I have a bunch of DRA 38 and DRA 40 book club sets. I'm teaching 7th and 8th next year and I want to store all my "too young" stuff in my basement in labeled bins. 

I probably won't need them, but I will know exactly where they are if I do and I can just go grab them, as opposed to trying to find a place to store them, in my new room "just in case" I need them. 


Storage
This is always the hardest part, but there are a few things I have learned, especially after last summer. When we moved, we were able to leave all of our stuff in the garage of our old house for the three weeks we would be living in hotels, while we waited to close on our house in our new town. This meant I got one truck load and one car load for my classroom for the first three weeks. 

I literally had this one box that went everywhere with me while we were in limbo. Essentially I had my go to professional development books, my laminator, a small printer, my lesson planner, my laptop, scissors, and a few other things I couldn't live without out. 

My husband thought I was nuts, but it was part of the reason I kept my sanity while I started a new job living in a hotel :). 

Also, when we got to the point of taking my truck load of stuff to my classroom, I was really good about storing super important stuff on top so that I could take that first. Even if you aren't in my same situation, it's super helpful to not have to dig through bins to get what you need. 


Inventory
This is something I have not done, but plan to do this year. This is a great thing for students to help with. For things like scissors, colored pencils, markers, crayons, notebooks, folders, glue, tape, etc. have students do a count of how much you have. 

I even plan to have mine organize all my colored pencils in one bin, markers in one bin, scissors in a bin etc. That way I'm not buying all this stuff I think I need, when in reality it is just packed away somewhere. 

This would also be a great time to think about copies. I don't recommend using the rest of the schools' copy budget for you new school, but at the end of last year, I made the first weeks' copies of morning work, introduction letters, supplies list (basically all the first weeks stuff) so that I wasn't a complete crazy person the week before school. 

This was also one of the things I carried everywhere with me in my bin "just in case." It was super helpful in my first weeks because I didn't really know how to make copies and stuff at my new school right away (and how many schools' technology is up and running right away anyway). 

Organization on the other end

I actually asked my husband what his advice was for husbands (or family members) who have a teacher wife moving classrooms. 

We had to do a lot of coordinating with my new school, principal, custodians, the keepers of keys :). etc. His advice was to make sure to coordinate and don't be afraid to ask for accommodations for your stuff. Most principals and staff truly understand and will figure something out to help you, even if your classroom isn't ready quite yet. 

Again, nothing worse than showing up to your new school, with a truck load of stuff.... no keys.... no one to contact... and it starts to rain on all your stuff... and you don't have a house to store it in because you are living in a hotel... and you have to go the hardware store to buy a tarp... so your teacher wife doesn't have a meltdown about all her books getting ruined.... 

.... are any of you amazed that my husband is still around? Me too! ha! He sure loves me and my crazy teacher moving shenanigans. 

It will get done

Even if people are rushing you, or you are rushing yourself, or everybody is already checked out (because they don't have to move an entire classroom.... basically you are comparing apples to oranges here), or you have a deadline, I swear it will get done. It always does. 

Even if the custodian is basically throwing your stuff out of the classroom because he couldn't wait to get rid of you and your messy students, and that's how the final boxes leave your classroom... well... it will be done. 

Basically I just tried to help you all learn from my mistakes, but if you have any other logistics or questions feel free to ask me in the comments on my blog or even on instagram! I would be more than happy to answer or even add on to this post. 

MUAH!
Martina 

2 comments

  1. What a crazy time for you! Makes our moves within our school look mild. Last year, we were in a renovation project. Our poor principal learned on the last day of school w/ the kids that four teachers on a certain end of building had to move all their stuff due to AC/heating units and duct work. Two of them had already moved and had one traded rooms with me. Then in the summer, we learned some needed to move into the new rooms because our state provides money back to the school for every hour the new facilities are in use. But you living in a hotel beats that. Like the saying goes, whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Thx so much for sharing your experience and tips.

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