Monday, February 18, 2013

My Classroom Burned Down. We Lost Everything.

So, last week was the craziest week of my life.

My classroom burned down on Sunday. We lost everything inside due to a combination of water, smoke, and fire damage. More than four years of work was destroyed in a matter of minutes:

Of course, I cried when I found out all of our stuff was ruined; but on Monday I was surprised when many of my students cried as well. I didn't think about the fact that my classroom was a second home to them. I was doubly surprised when students I have never even had in class cried for me and my students, like the little guy who wrote this note here:

It was an emotional week- I cried at least 20 different times due to at least 20 different emotions, but I'll only list a few:

1. Disappointment- when my "new" beat-up, too-big furniture arrived from the storage warehouse.

2. Hope: When a little kindergartner showed his big heart by donating his own three pennies to my class. When countless other students donated a dollar or fifty cents from their own personal money to help me rebuild.

3. Gratitude: When Specials teachers volunteered to take my class during their plan time, so I could work on my new room. When a teacher and the PTA president made some phone calls and organized two fundraisers for my class. When families without much to give gave all that they could spare. When another teacher put together gift bags for my class to provide them with some of the supplies we lost. When three teachers moved out of their classroom at the drop of a hat to accommodate my students. When countless other people banded together to help get my classroom running again.

4. Exhaustion: from working and worrying for five days straight. From waking up at 5:00 AM each day and not being able to get back to sleep. From forgetting to eat, I was so caught up in redoing all of my work.

5. Frustration: When I found out that the school could only provide me $250 to replace everything I lost.

6.  Anxiety: When I thought about the daunting task of re-making all of the signs, posters, projects, and games I had ever made. When I thought about re-buying all of my books and re-leveling them all over again.

7. Grief: I never realized how attached I was to all of the stuff in my classroom. When my principal told me to go through all of my stuff, I irrationally grabbed a cart full of all of the stuff I couldn't bear to let go. She talked to me in her office and, after many tears, convinced me to leave it all behind.

8. Shock: When numerous family members, friends, and acquaintances donated to my first Donors Choose fire project, and practically funded the whole thing in two days! When a family member sent a huge gift basket to my classroom on Valentine's Day, when AKJ Books offered to send me some free books.

So, I have come to the conclusion that although this was an awful event, I'm actually a really lucky gal. I have dozens of people who have got my back and are looking out for me. My class will practically be back to normal in no time!

If you would like to help, I have set up a couple of Donors Choose projects to replace all of the book sets we lost. Any amount will help, and I will be forever grateful for your kindness. ** IF YOU DONATE THIS WEEK, TYPE, "INSPIRE," IN THE MATCH CODE BOX TO HAVE YOUR DONATION MATCHED BY DONORS CHOOSE!!
Thanks for checking in!


  1. Oh my goodness!!!!! I am so sorry for your loss!

  2. I am so so sorry this happened to you... with every bad, comes good. I am so happy that people are helping you and coming together, that must feel like such a wonderful feeling! Plus your kids and you realize that you are an amazing teacher and really created a second home for them. I hope everything comes along and you continue to get donations XO

  3. Thanks for the kind words! Our classroom is getting more and more normal each day!

  4. Oh my gosh- I can't imagine! I just stumbled across your bucket seats and started flipping through your blog. I feel like a kindred spirit, in that we both put a lot of our hearts into our classrooms. You and your students must have been so disheartened by the fire! I am glad you felt supported. I hope you are having a wonderful summer. I bet you are working hard! Thanks for all the great things you do for your community, and for sharing some of them online.