jump to navigation

Teachers Talking Trash September 5, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Teaching.
Tags: , , , , , ,


When you become a teacher, after you’re sworn in and take a vow of poverty, you’re given a list of items to immediately begin hoarding. Paper towel rolls, styrofoam meat trays, yarn, buttons, anything shiny.  These items are no longer trash, but “treasures.”  Yes, the photo is taken from a flyer teachers received.  The trash treasure was coming to us!  Of course by the time I saw this, the “Treasure Truck” had already come and gone.  Not to worry.  We teachers are a resourceful lot.

On the way to see Louis, my trainer, today I saw gold a dumpster.  I casually walked by to check out the merchandise.  Pay dirt! The local furniture store had thrown out piles of upholstery fabric samples.  Each piece was on a miniature hanger, and my first thought was, “What could I use these teeny tiny hangers for?  To hang up little books?”  Fortunately, that thought passed.  I blame it on the heat.  It was over 100 degrees, but there I stood stocking up like a squirrel preparing for winter.  There was just too much to take in.  So now I’m waiting for the sun to set, so I can go back under the cover of darkness for all those vinyl flooring samples.  They’ve got to be good for…something!

Last week after our class for our masters degree, my friend Teresa (who lives and breathes art) and I both spotted three bags of shredded documents sitting out in the hall.  We couldn’t believe someone hadn’t already taken them.  We convinced Erin, who’s in our cohort, to be our cohort in crime. With the bags slung over our backs like Santa, we made our way down the 180 steps to the parking lot below.  More than once, Erin asked, “And why do you guys need these again?”

My bag is currently sitting on my living room couch.  Oh, the possibilities! My husband just shakes his head.  He once watched me climb into a dumpster in New York City to retrieve a cache of heavy duty cardboard rolls. Then there was that dinner we went to where I collected the mussel shells off everyone’s plates.  That was for an art project.  I had to soak those babies for three days in a bucket of vinegar to get rid of the stink.

Hey, it sure would stink if some other enterprising hoarder teacher beat me to those vinyl flooring samples.  The sun has set.  It’s time.


1. misscheese - September 5, 2009

I love finding “treasure” for the classroom. Just the other day I was going around my apartment looking for items for a creative infomercial/persuasive speech activity for my class…plastic spoons, tennis ball, deck of cards, an expired parking pass…may be garbage…but it’s worth a lot in a classroom 🙂

Hey, these sound like all the items Alexander bought in Alexander Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday. All you’re missing is the one-eyed bear! Since we do lots of art projects, I’m always on the prowl. Whenever anything is missing at home, my husband knows it’s found its way into the classroom.:) Hazard of being married to a teacher. Jan


2. Christine - September 5, 2009

As the daughter of a teacher/hoarder, I find great comfort in the new television show, Hoarders (Monday nights at 10).

NOTE: It’s on A&E. There’s also a site and support group for Children of Compulsive Hoarders (COH). Jan


Christine - September 6, 2009

Thankfully my mom quit hoarding school materials when she retired in 1984. Her big hoarding target, of late, has been greeting cards (10 packing boxes full) . I haven’t developed the talent of cutting them into triangles (and crocheting them into geodesic dome Xmas ornaments) yet. Oh yeah, she still buys new cards because she “doesn’t have any for a 100th birthday.” I’m hooking her up with Willard Scott.


3. CZBZ - September 5, 2009

Too bad shipping costs are prohibitive. I’d love to send you all the treasures stacked in my garage!

I used to be an active potter, throwing clay around and making stuff to clutter up my house and someone else’s (if they were inclined to pay for my pots.) Everywhere I went, I was looking for interesting items i could press into clay and make it look unique. Like broken machine parts, or rocks, or pieces of bark, or cottony socks, or the elastic band of an old worn-out husband’s underwear.

Since I probably won’t be doing pottery for another year or so, would you like a collection of walnut shells??

When I lived in California, all my illusions about well-fed and well-provided for children in the school system were CRUSHED, I tell you! CRUSHED! We were donating crayons to keep our teachers from spending their paychecks just to keep the classroom in supplies. It was appalling.

My sister used to teach in a one-room school house in Utah (did you know they still have places like that?) So I know how dedicated teachers are and if it means scrimping on lunch to buy pencils, or filling your garage with bits-and-pieces of stuff so your kids can have what they need, you guys will DO IT.

Bless you.


Walnut shells? Be still my heart! I still have a bag of small coconut shells (cut in half). They came filled with coconut ice cream, and I thought they could be turned into….well, I never quite figured out what they could be used for aside from clapping them a la Monty Python to simulate an approaching horse! Jan


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: