I wasn’t going to write about the box I packed up tonight. I was going to keep my donation between me and Maggie, who is trying to help a school in Staten Island that lost a lot during Hurricane Sandy. But then Maggie posted this on Twitter:
Seeing as my donation became public, in her Tweet I decided it might be okay to write about what I did tonight. After all, parting with some of the books I packed up was incredibly hard.
Maggie Beattie Roberts, who is one of my former classmates from TC, is a staff developer at the TCRWP. She has a heart of gold. Ever since Sandy passed, she’s been working tirelessly to help those in need. Earlier this evening she posted the following on her Facebook page:
I’m gathering small donations of school supplies for one of my little schools on Staten Island that was caught in a direct hit by Hurricane Sandy. The principal shared that many of her students and their families are in shelters and the school suffered a severe loss in materials.
If you are looking for a small way to donate, message or call me and I’m happy to take them a care package from you!
They are in need of:
-books (esp, for 2nd-5th grade)
I had been thinking about donating a bunch of the books from my former classroom, but wasn’t sure how to do it. Maggie’s post seemed like a good way.
You see, my former classroom is located in my basement. While I’ve been out of the classroom since June 2009, I still have many of my school supplies, books, files, and such located in my basement. My mother has pleaded with me to consolidate my boxes since it’s a mess down there. However, my husband hasn’t complained about it. Seeing as my mom doesn’t live with us, I haven’t made much headway on those boxes since July 2009 when we moved in.
I’ve been saving all of those things for “some day” because some day I want to return to the classroom. While I enjoy the consulting work I do, I know I want to go back and teach fourth or fifth grade some day. That some day might be 10 years from now, but I know it will happen.
I hate our basement because it’s dark, cold, and messy… kind of like people’s homes that have been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. However, our basement is a controlled chaos. I know where everything is. So, I canceled my pity party and immediately went over to the supply cabinet and removed a bunch of pens, pencils, magic markers, sentence strips, pencil grips, baskets, etc. that I thought another teacher could use.
And then I went over to the shelves that hold many of the books I purchased through the years for my classroom. I went through them, trying to identify the ones that were on the reading levels Maggie specified. I grabbed paperbacks that I knew would be right. I paused as I found books that contained post-its with my former students’ handwriting. I paused when I recognized Kevin’s handwriting. He had filled a book with post-its and returned it to the classroom library without removing them. Then I saw Emely’s handwriting on another post-it. Wow! These kids are in in 8th grade now (from my last class in Rhode Island). Time sure passes quickly.
Convinced I didn’t have enough books, I went over to a box, which was labeled “Stacey’s Office.” Instead of finding classroom library books, I found books that used to be in my home office. Books I used for minilessons. Books I loved. Books I wasn’t sure I wanted to part with. What if the Hurricane blew through here and washed these books away and you had nothing? I asked myself. With that, I inhaled and grabbed a few for the box I was packing up to send to Maggie. I ignored the books I wanted to reread, the books I thought Izzy might like to read, and the books that might go into the classroom I hope to have again some day when I want to go back to work full-time. Someone else needs them today. So I kept searching.
Once I realized I could barely lift the box, I decided to call it quits for the night. I typed up a letter to the principal and told her to contact me if she needed anything else. Besides, my parents live an hour away from the school where these books are going so I’m sure I could send another box up with them in a few weeks if the need is still there.
My husband taped up the box. “Find out what time the post office closes tomorrow, I’m taking it in. It’s too heavy for you and I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
“Okay,” I said in a small voice. “Thank you.”
He’s doing his part too.
If you’re interested in helping this school, then please let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Maggie.