I moved from the middle school classroom to the university classrooms about 5 1/2 years ago. It was a strange move from owned to shared space. My middle school classroom reflected me and what/how I taught. I had my classroom library (huge) with a rug, bean bags, and walls of book-filled bookcases. I had my lamps and my plants. This was a cozy learning space! When I left, I gave away many of my books. It was right that books landed in hands that would use them — fellow language arts teachers and students. My office at the university is small. And since my time is divided between there and the classrooms in which I teacher…well, I guess it’s only moderately personalized. A few framed photos of my grand daughter, some nicknacks from my past middle school life. Staying organized either at home or work is always a balance between my need for some aesthetic sense of neatness and my equal need to get my hands on what I use most right away. Most of the time the hands-on me wins this battle, depressing and antagonizing the neat me.
I have moved to being such a digital, paper-free educator, that for the most part the organization challenges are digital. And even those challenges are diminishing with cloud-based storage. I remember too well those days I panicked that I didn’t have my thumb drive with me with THAT document. Then I moved to digital writing space and I spent an inordinate amount of time creating folders and deciding which file needed to be in which folder. I think those were my PC days. I’m a Mac girl now and just save the darn file to the cloud where we will be blissfully, easily reunited — THAT document and me.