As a Child I loved Teacher Only Days. They meant a combination of things but mainly they meant no school which unless you are Lisa Simpson or have some sort of major attachment to the school canteen  means – well no school.

As a teacher though Teacher only Day means – well let me explain.

I have just been appointed to the position of Music Specialist at a school which I am very grateful for after applying for over 100 jobs and being a reliever for last year. My classroom however has been a junk room for years. I say years as no one actually knows how many years, the room had been used as a ‘storage’ room when it was one school but on becoming a new school 4 years ago and being merged with a nearby school the 2 schools ‘extra’ resources had also been ‘put’ into the room along with the former schools resources that had been ‘stored’ there

Yesterday (on teacher only day) Two skips were ordered and we cleared out a range of items out of my classroom here is a selection:

– Various science projects from children
– a 4 metre dinosaur ‘skeleton’
– 6 tyres
– Old style school desks (40ish) – with no legs and falling to pieces
– Desk legs – not of the same type of above desks
– Chest of drawers – broken
– Computers – old and broken
– TVs and Video Players
– A box of Mouse Pads
– Filing cabinets
– Metal Cabinets
– Current Maths Resources, Current School Journals (i.e. from 2000 onwards approxametly 50 boxes of)
– Assorted Science equipment from the 1970s
– Various books and boxes of currciculum resources that filled an entire wall (including thins such as a 1960s PE resource)
– Various old large tables
– 40 boxes of Maori and Samoan story books
– A selection of empty ringbinders
– A selection of Mary statutes
– Christmas tree
– Christmas decoration
– 6 Bibles

This took 20 staff 2.5 hours to clean out. And we filled the two skips easy so much so that they ordered us a third skip. After finding all these ‘new’ resources i.e. maths /English material it was then decided that we should ‘realign’ all the resource rooms.

Turns out that the resource rooms (the places where teachers go to get books/journals from) had never actually been properly organised by subject area, when the schools merged. So instead of having one resource room with all the maths book in and one with all the English resources in we had some other arrangement (which I would like to explain but turns out that not even current staff knew) . This meant we spent the rest of the day running between 6 different locations and moving boxes/books and gear between the locations so curriculum areas could all be put in one area rather than 3 or 4. This meant we also put up extra shelving, pulled down shelving, dragged shelves, boxed stuff, labelled, re labelling and ‘culled’ resources (read: things that were printed in the 1970s and hadn’t been used since the 80s)

At 3.30 after being absolutely shattered the 3rd skip arrived and we marched (or was that crawled) over to my room to fill up 3rd skip with crap ( I mean unwanted stuff).

My classroom is now emptyish I have very few functioning instruments, a whole lot of out of date music books , a class set of recorders, and one non functioning keyboard – school starts Monday. No teachers desk, no teachers seat, no seats for kids, no desks for kids. I do however have a classroom something not all music specialists have – which is something to be very thankful for.

Needless to say I went home and collapsed. The nearest I got to theological thinking for the day was pondering whether this was what it was like to be Amish – to work so hard that it is impossible to think about anything besides the work and then to be so tired that all one can do is sleep. Yes I admit it wasn’t the best theology I’ve ever done! Come on people I’d done 6 hours heavy labour!

Teacher only day today was back to back planning meetings. A lot less labour intensive…… I am now off to do the final preparations for my music centre Enrolment day tomorrow, we have 200 children pre enrolled already for 2008 but don’t know how many will turn up wanting lessons tomorrow.