Slice of Life – End of a Chapter

Slice of Life on TwoWritingTeachers.org 8 June 2021

Today I did one of the last things I will need to do as a teacher at my school. I spent three hours in my room for a final cleaning and organizing blitz. It’s been since February 2020 that I had spent any significant time there. Over the past year and a quarter, I have stopped in occasionally to grab something, but that’s it.

I spent some time today with the teacher who replaced me this year. She had end-of-the-year paperwork to complete, which included listing the resources in her classroom. It was sadly ironic, though, because she hasn’t had this or any classroom this year. She and I looked through the materials, and I identified the resources she needed to be aware of if school ever goes back to anything pre-Covid-like.

I then spent the next 2.5 hours pulling things out of closets and looking through supplies I had neglected for years!  Two cupboards in particular had not received any attention when we stopped teaching in person.

I quickly made a mess!

Too many times I said, “Oh, there is ______!” (that hammer my husband’s been looking for; my hot glue gun; that new journal Fatima gifted me, etc., etc., etc.)  I ended up carrying four bags home for a variety of purposes–to return things to people I borrowed them from, to give away to friends I know will appreciate them, to add to my own supplies from things I purchased and still needed, a book to read, and a few things to repair or work on that will go back to school.

29.7 pounds (I weighed these beasts because it seemed I carried 50 pounds home!)

I told myself I would not bring any more than I could carry in one trip, and I managed to do that. I carried all four bags for the several blocks home, with a few breaks to set it down and rest. (How does that weight thing work? I’ve lost 30 pounds in the last year, and today I felt I needed Super-Woman-strength as I carried an extra thirty pounds home. When I had that extra 30 pounds on my bones and not in my hands, I didn’t even notice it. Hmmm….)

Four bags of trash–just trash–came out of those closets.
That’s better! Ready for the new teacher to organize and go through.

A chapter closed today.

18 thoughts on “Slice of Life – End of a Chapter

  1. What a lot of work and it must have been quite emotional! Are you leaving Bahrain? I feel like I should know that. I DREAD the day I retire because I have so much school stuff! I have just moved to my third classroom in 4 years, so that keeps some of the “clutter” to a minimum, but…

    1. Yes, a bit emotional knowing I no longer have a classroom. I still felt it was mine a bit because I knew I’d have to go back eventually and finish cleaning. We are scheduled to leave Bahrain in December, but who knows?! Originally, we were scheduled to leave last December. Yes, changing rooms definitely helps with the clutter factor! Hope you have a great year in your new digs!

  2. Every time I moved classrooms, I would be surprised by what I would find. I’m impressed that you did that in such a short time. You must have been quite organized. Wishing you all the best in your next chapter.

    1. Oh, Cathy, you didn’t see the three weeks I spent in my classroom last February and March after the children went home for the lockdown. I did most of the work then! 🙂 Thanks for reading and visiting!

  3. This cleaning of the classroom is a bittersweet, emotional event. I’m impressed w/ how much you accomplished in a few hours. Congratulations on the weight loss, and on making it home w/ the “baggage.” I’m always shocked when I put weight loss into perspective like that. When are you returning to California?

    1. Thank you, Glenda. Yes, that wasn’t the first time I have compared the weight I lost with big piles of groceries or my husband’s weights. It is interesting to think of what our bones are capable of lifting. I will still be in Bahrain for seven more months, so my volunteering will continue at my school for the first few months of next year’s school term.

  4. Denise, I wish you the best in your new chapter! It is amazing to think about how much clutter can accumulate in a relatively short amount of time. You did well to get it done in just a few hours. I would likely need at least a day!

    1. Yes, I realized how much clutter I can accumulate, at home too. So I have a few months to declutter and work on my home piles and cupboards now. Thank you, Tracy.

  5. So much cleaning. It is only then we realize how much we have gathered 🙂 I wish you all the best in the next stage of your life. Regards

    1. Thank you, Lakshmi. I have learned so much in the past couple of years about accumulating. However, there were things in those closets that I had not seen for a while–back when I would buy things thinking I can use these for my class! Now, I just say no.

  6. Oh, Denise, what a passage! There is something very cleansing about this kind of work, I think, as we move to a new phase of life. I loved your insightful comments about how hard it was to carry 30 lbs, though you had been carrying it on your own body! (Kudos on that weight loss – what an accomplishment!) Will you be staying in Bahrain? Life is change. I wish you well!

    1. Thank you, Maureen. It’s so good to see you back here after your May break! 🙂 We will be in Bahrain throughout 2021. My husband will likely finish his job by January.

  7. As a woman who returned last June to clean 22 years of stuff out prior to retiring, I am impressed. May your move be seamless and without much stress.

    1. Thank you, Christine! Wow, my accumulation has been for only eight years. I think 22 years would be quite a job! Congratulations on your retirement. I am blessed to have a few more months to process this change.

  8. Denise, it is always a chore to clean out the remains of our life story. In this case it is your classroom. I remember when I did that because I accumulated 25 years of teacher “stuff” before moving into an administrative job in another school district. It took me five years to clean out the next batch of materials after retiring from being a districtwide administrator. Now, there are still boxes unopened of books to sort through. We may leave our belongings or give them away but a part of our heart remains in the classroom. Best wishes for volunteering work in Bahrain before leaving for the states.

  9. I’m cleaning out my inbox and found your slice. I hate this part of the whole process. I always feel so sad when I clean out to move onward. I am wishing you peace as you process it all. Writing helps, I am sure of that!

    1. Oh, yes, I’m finding much peace in the writing process, Margaret. It’s been a long year too say goodbye, and I’m still not quite finished, so I guess the sadness comes like a slow drip. Thank you for your kind words.

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