Tools for the School Year

Obviously, since this is vacation, I spend all of my time thinking about work.

Of course that’s not quite true, but not much of an exaggeration.

One of the first things I do at the end of the school year is organize (range as I would say in French) my school bag, my papers, my desk, and the piles of crap around all of those things as well as in other spots in the house (on top of the kitchen cabinet has somehow become a good dumping place).

My shelves. They won't look like this for long.

My shelves. They won’t look like this for long.

Then at some time during the summer I make a trip to Auchan or Gibert Joseph to modify my methods of organization during the school year.

Why does this matter at all? Well… teachers in France don’t have any sort of space at the schools they work at. In many schools, they may always be in the same classroom, but they don’t have a desk and computer for their own use like the schools I went to in the States. Instead, there’s a salle des profs (teacher’s lounge and work room) and a few casiers (cubby holes).

Add to that the fact that the teacher’s lounge at my school is actually not even in the same building as the classrooms, and organization becomes an obsession.

I wrote about my wunderbag last year when I bought it, and though it’s got some scratches now, those euros spent turned out to be way worth it. I drag this around behind me all over the school, from building to building (this year there were three) and out to the parking lot.

Here’s what I fit in my bag—er, suitcase every day:

  • iPad (thanks to my mother it’s now an iPad 2, with vastly larger video projection capabilities, though right now to be honest I’m mostly using it to play Sims Freeplay)
  • Cables: general projector cable (I quickly discovered my first week that there were typically none to be had at the school), iPad adaptor, and auxiliary cable to plug the iPad into my transportable boombox (oh yeah, I also trek around the school with that in the other hand)
  • Teacher’s planner + gradebook: I think a part of me expects to be able to perfect this object until it writes my lessons itself. I’m considering ordering this one from England this year.
  • A “binder” for each level I teach (=4 this coming year): This is not really a binder but a bound book of transparent sheets, which as far as I know doesn’t exist in the States.
  • The text books and workbooks for the classes I’m teaching that day. To be honest, I rarely remember to take any text books out of the bag and they generally just live in there taking up space.
  • My pencil case: complete with pens (never enough, they always disappear), glue stick, scissors, white-out tape, post-it notes, and a pencil or two (also particularly skilled at disappearance).
  • Random floating objects: my white-board markers, my transparency markers, absence forms, and who knows what else climbed in to spend its life down at the bottom.

Somehow it all fits, that is, until I want to show a Region 1 DVD and have to bring my American MacBook as well. Or until it rains, and the umbrella has to fit in. Of course, to be honest, there is NO way, and I have tried, to successfully drag the suitcase, carry the boombox, and cover myself with an umbrella in the rain. Sad, but inevitably true.

Hence the obsession with school supplies. Besides school supplies being something many normal people everywhere are obsessed with (am I wrong?), I remain somehow convinced that with the right combination of binders, post-it notes, glue sticks, and transparent covers, I’ll become not only better organized but some sort of super invincible teacher.

Add to the list this year a binder for the class where I’ll be professeur principal. The big question, of course, is, will it fit? And, did I choose the right one? Somehow this binder, of course, WILL make me a good professeur principal. I’m certain. I have that sort of faith in school supplies. THEY ARE MAGICAL.


2 thoughts on “Tools for the School Year

    • oh and BTW I still don’t get what the transparency notebooks are for. You line up the same roster onto several grading sheets? So you don’t have to write the names over and over? I just cut and paste. I know you relish pen and paper; i do too

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