Thursday, September 5, 2013

Culture Shock and Donors Choose

I've been at my new school so far for 5 whole days! Three days were designated as unofficial set up days, and 2 days were official meetings and set up days. Everyone warned me that switching to this school would be a change... and they were 100% right, but the changes are in unexpected and surprising places!

Lets start with my room - it's HUGE!! I have two double door coat closets for the kids. Then I have two single door teacher closets. One with shelves and the other is more of a coat closet. I also have cabinets about my sink. I have a teacher desk (WOW! Haven't had one in years!) and a small 2 drawer file cabinet. I also have more book shelves than I know what to do with (no I'm not complaining because I am certain by the end of the year they will be filled to capacity!) I have 6 kiddie tables in the room and theres room to spare! I have a small round table for conferencing and a small extra desk for my computer. Did I mention that I have 12, yes 12 bulletin boards!?!?! Oh and 2 more in the hallway! Do you know how hard it was to cover all of those boards and figure out what to put on them? I still have one blank board and I have no idea what I'm going to put on it!!! The stores are all out of sets I like so that board will have to wait another week or two.

Another huge change - the atmosphere. Everyone seems so relaxed and happy at this school. Yes I realize the kids haven't come in yet and that feeling may change but for now... it's a warm, inviting, relaxed atmosphere. Even the administration have been warm, welcoming and helpful! One of our AP's actually helped me hang bulletin board paper on my hallway boards! I don't think in a million years I would have ever expected that! This same AP has made it a point to remind me that in this school I wont have to walk on egg shells or look over my shoulder wondering if I'm going to make a mistake. He has reminded me over and over again, make a mistake, so what! Learn from it, move on (and never make that same mistake again! HA!) I'm loving this philosophy! They also believe that the weekends, holidays, etc. should be family time... leave your work at the door and go enjoy your family. What an opposite feeling than my other school where the admins would have loved for teachers to stay at least 2 hours extra every day to do work every day of the week! I can feel the tension and stress starting to slip away, the uneasy feelings I used to have of being afraid to try new things slowly disappearing. The eagerness and excitement of a new year is gradually sinking. I'm actually looking forward to a new school year!

The last big change has been a bit of a shock for me. At my old school we were spoiled (I didn't realize this until the last few days). Anything we wanted for our classrooms we got - you need chart paper, no problem, scissors, pencils, markers, pens, computer paper, construction paper, copies, colored copies, books for your library, math manipulatives... we even had laptops to bring home and use for work as well as classroom printers. I spent very little money on my own supplies for my old school - the philosophy was anything in the building should belong to the school not the teachers. Don't get me wrong I bought bins and posters and rewards and fun stuff.... but the necessities were always given to us. Not so much now... I've already spent a couple hundred dollars and I'm no where near ready for Monday! I've had to buy every single supply that you can imagine - chart paper, teacher scissors, staples, tape dispenser, I even have to purchase notebooks for my kids! (Insert shocked face!) This weekend alone to get ready for the kids coming in Monday I need to go buy at least 10 (probably more) baskets from the dollar store for my library which is unleveled and all stacked in piles (did I mention I have to level the entire library on my own time! What a job that is going to be!) I also need to locate a ones, tens, hundreds pocket chart for counting the days in school, I need bins to organize pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, table top bins.... then I need to purchase a ton of ink for my home printer as I will be printing like a mad woman this weekend so I can finish my bulletin boards and have my first day of school papers ready! We can't get everything copied so I'll be paying for copies this year.... which leads me to a question - Donors Choice... has anyone every requested anything? How does it work? Could I request help for the basic supplies I need for my kids (you know like the notebooks, a classroom sharpening, etc?)

I may be spending a LOT more money than I ever intended to for my classroom - but I'm hoping the payoff of working in a nurturing, caring, loving, fun environment is what I will get! I'm excited to see what the year brings and can't wait to meet all my kiddies on Monday!


  1. Found your blog through Kindergatern Klub.

    Happy to be your new follower on bloglovin
    I'd love you to stop by my blog,If you get a chance


  2. Hi Stephanie,
    The community you have built on your blog is so lovely. I wanted to reach out because I am the community manager for the USC Rossier School of Education. We are wrapping up a blogger link up contest about classroom supplies that ends this Monday. I see that you have recently paid out of pocket for classroom supplies and I was wondering if you would be interested in submitting your post into our contest. We are looking for classrooms that have a genuine need for additional supplies, and I feel that your classroom is a fit for this contest. The reality is that the average teacher spends $485 out of pocket for classroom supplies each year. The #ClassroomProject gives a voice to educators who are spending money out of pocket. This is an exciting contest for K-12 teacher bloggers to win one of 30 prizes that total more than $3,000 to purchase classroom supplies You can click here for more information: or feel free to reach out to me directly at Thank you so much for sharing about your classroom with us, and I hope you join The Classroom Project!


    Erika Phyall
    USC Campaign Manager