I realize that teachers are very very busy people - but when I walk into a teachers classroom that is built up over years of clutter, mess and dirt (as in filthy) it just makes me sad. I have tried to get a teaching job for many years - and I DO NOT understand why a teacher WILL NOT take pride in the appearance of their classroom. These are messes and clutter that have nothing to do with custodians work either. I have realized after years of subbing that a classroom like this generally means students who do not take pride in their work being done neatly and on time - the students tend to act chaotically as well. When I see these messes - I just want to cry - I would as a classroom teacher - make an effort to have it neat - organized and reasonably clean! I also wonder where are the administrators - do they look at the classrooms? Honestly some of the filth is a health hazard!
I taught for two years, and in a teacher's defense, sometimes pile can get out of hand. I taught 1st grade last year and I never sat at my desk because I was constantly up moving around, tying shoes, zipping jackets, teaching, circulating, etc, that my desk became the catch all. I would try to keep things tidy, but sometimes I got so busy doing to grading, after school activities, and prepping for the next day, that organizing piles did not fit into my schedule!
In one classroom the teacher's desk was so piled high with items that you couldn't see over it-- she didn't use a desk at all as a result. So I had to put my bag on the floor. At the end of the day when I picked it up it was covered with dust and nasty stuff. *shudder*
I had a job in an elementary class today and when I walked in and saw the piles of papers (no room on the desk) and piles on the front table (not neat piles, stacks) I did a double-take. Some of the day's worksheets were on the front table, amid other stacks. The plans were brought in by another teacher. The plans had abbreviations in them and I was confused about which math workbook to assign. There are 2 and the plans didn't specify. I was also asked to correct the science assignment but the teacher's edition was not to be found. There were notations on things I didn't understand. I asked the neighboring teacher and she was very helpful and said to just do my best. I'll make sure to leave my pile of things front and center on the table and hope the teacher finds it. It's a 2 day job.
My desk is constantly piled high with papers, papers, papers. I wish I had the time to keep it neat. I honestly don't know how some teachers do it. I never stop working. I even eat lunch while working. I teach 4 reading groups a day and three math groups a day. I am never at my desk unless it is to drop something on it. After school there are workshops, meetings, tutoring, planning, etc. My desk is the last thing I worry about. I look forward to workdays when I can find my desk. Teachers don't have the time to dust and sweep.There is barely time to go to the restroom. Our custodians on the other hand are often sitting around doing nothing. I have many times wanted to hand them a dust cloth and say "Can you dust my bookshelves?" I would love it if someone came in my room and offered to help me check papers, file papers, clean, etc. I think most teachers would. A messy desk is not a sign of a lazy unprofessional teacher.
There are some teachers who's desks are just plain scary. When you look to see where you can set yoru coffee mug and there isn't one space piled high it is something. One teachers desk was so high whenever anyone walked by mountains slid off it. lol This just isn't my way and it bugs me. However, it doesn't stop me from taking a job lol
As for years of clutter - our dist makes them empty their rooms every year to be painted and cleaned. So at least it gets a good thorough cleaning every now and then.
I said filth - not stacks or piles - filth - there is a difference. Teachers refusing to teach in the classroom - total disorganization - nothing can be found. Nasty, dirtiness. Think hoarding shows - level 2 and 4. Been doing this job for many years. I know the difference between clutter and filth. Not healthy for students or teachers. I did say teachers are busy people - but a classroom should not be in some of the conditions I have seen.