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Public Service Announcement: Teacher Hoarders

I've taught in a few schools in a few different states (thanks Marine Corps!).  One thing I've noticed is that some teacher are HOARDERS!!  Oh man, do some teachers like to hold onto things for a long, long time.

I was just offered a 2nd grade SPED resource position, so I'm back full time again.  There might be only a few months left in the year, but I can't stand a cluttered classroom.  I've been slowly going through things and throwing junk away.  I'm pretty sure the custodian hates me already!  

So far I've found some interesting things.

This play dough with MOLD on it might be the most surprising thing yet!  Yikes!  How long does it take for play dough to grow mold?  Scary!

A rice cooker and a toaster oven is something you don't see in a classroom everyday.

This blast from the past that I found last year was pretty awesome though!  Man, I loved He-Man as a kid!  Too bad there wasn't a SheRa book though.

I also found some pretty outdated curriculum.  Do we need to keep work books that are almost 20 years old?  

And oh man the worksheets.  Tons and tons and tons of worksheets.  I'm sure there was good intent to use these worksheets, but it just didn't work out.  Please, recycle that paper!  And I have one word of advice to leaving, transferring, retiring teachers.  Throw the worksheets away.  I know you mean well but most teachers don't have time to dig through old worksheets and see what's useable.  Most of us will find our own thing that fits our teaching style anyway.

If you think you might be a teacher hoarder, look around your room and think about what you can throw away or donate.  I've only made a small dent in cleaning out my new room, but I will get it done!  I don't know if I should be scared or excited about the possible finds that are lurking in my 4 floor-to-ceiling cabinets!


  1. Ew!! I didn't know play-doh could grow mold. You taught me something! Lol.

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  2. I always look at cleaning as if an archaeologist could come dig around in my room. If I wouldn't want him/her to see it, I should toss it! I have grandiose plans for purging, but I just can't seem to find the time right now. I feel the same way about my house, too!
    Stories by Storie

  3. Playdoh Mold?!?!? That is some old playdoh! I would love to see the "lesson" that accompanied the rice cooker/toaster:) and AMEN! I am on my fourth room in just ONE building and GOOD GRAVY at the worksheets!!! - Let 'em go people> Let 'em go.
    ☞ Go Nutty With Me ☜

  4. I have been told that anything bought with IDEA money is not to be thrown out. They actually keep track of what was bought, even if it was years ago!

  5. I confess, I am a teacher hoarder. But there's a reason why. I also teach special education, but severe-profound, not resource, so there is never any curriculum, or money. In one district in Colorado, I got $46 dollars for the year to spend on curriculum and needed items for the classroom. So I spent a lot of my own money for items, plus I made a bunch of things, and I wasn't going to trash them. Then they would switch me around: autism classroom, multiple disabilities, very low resource room, etc. The students would be so different from year to year and since I rarely did anything whole class (I rarely had students with similar needs or levels), it was all individually based and their needs are so different. Some things I had would work for a class in any given year, and wouldn't work in others. I would have to make more and purchase more and I just hung on to it in the hopes that it would work again. Last year I decided to stick with a certain group of students in the future, those with severe cognitive needs. So I purged many, many things from my closets that wouldn't work for those students, ever. I am still purging file cabinets and items that I haven't touched in a few years and it feels good. Plus I am lucky now to be in a district, in a different state, that funds my classroom handsomely, so I can get what I need and leave it behind if I move on.

  6. Okay...I admit it, I'm a hoarder. I have thinned out my kids' book collection over the years, but in my defense, I've taught a different grade every year! Now, I'm flex-schooling my sons and running a teaching website, so I need it

    There was one admin I worked with who had bankers boxes stacked floor to ceiling of worksheets, so I feel ya on that one.

    That moldy playdoh is nasty!

    Thanks for the laugh,
    The Classroom Creative

  7. I've slowly been clearing out my boxes of teaching things. I've tried to digitize important papers and recycle what I don't need. It's a lot of work.

  8. I was recently transfered mid-year and the teacher I took over for was a major hoarder. No moldy play-doh, but I have found student work from the 80's, a filmstrip projector, materials from a curriculum used two decades ago, etc...I even found two broken staplers in the desk drawer. Why save? I have been trying to go slow and save what's important, but at some point, you just need to dump it without looking.

  9. This is my first year teaching special ed (I graduated in April 2013). When I first walked into my room, during the summer, I almost fainted. There was soooo much stuff. But I went through every little thing & what I didn't want, I placed in the hall for other teachers to take or for the custodian to take away. I don't consider myself a hoarder, because I can't stand clutter. (I didn't know mold could grow on play-doh either.)

  10. Totally feel your pain! I took over a classroom from a retiree who taught for 32 years. I worked (trashed things) 40-50 hours the summer before and then had to stop and set up the classroom my way. I finished purging the next summer. There's just not time during the year! I did have the support of my custodian--she met me on my first day and brought in 3 big rolling trash cans! I lost count how many times I filled those cans! Good luck with your new class! Before you know it, it will totally be your space :)

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