I don’t have my own classroom yet, but I sure have been in a lot of them! And there are things that I liked and also disliked about each one. Some classrooms have been unorganized with things everywhere and neither teacher nor student knew where to find anything. Some classrooms had decorations thrown up all over every inch of the room with no bare wall space to be seen. And some classrooms have had minimal decorations or academic decor, only the required school signs hung up and maybe the alphabet chart along the top of the wall. Some rooms have felt warm and inviting, while others felt sterile and cold.
The range in how teachers set up a room and what they put in them has sure been varied in my many experiences. It’s been good to see a lot though, for I have certainly been able to think about how I want my classroom to look and feel. I’ve gotten some really great ideas and some really big “no-no’s” as well.
I know when I have my own classroom how I envision it now may not be how it turns out. But in perfect world this is what my classroom looks like:
It is warm, colorful, and inviting. A place that a child will want to come into everyday. It is friendly and homey. When a student comes in they will have their very own space or cubby to put their things. Their name will be clearly displayed and they will feel like they belong. There will most likely be tables with little chairs and each student’s space will have a tag with their name, written out neatly.
My desk will be in a central location. I will be able to see every student and they will be able to see me. It will be central, but still out of the way. I don’t envision spending a lot of time at my desk while my students are in the room. It will be neat, and organized. I will be prepared ahead of time, with copies and papers neatly filed away and ready for when I need them.
I will have a cozy reading corner that is inviting and shows students the value of books and how exciting they can be. There will be lots of comfy places to sit, where students can spend time getting lost in another world. There will be an art center with materials for students to be creative and express themselves. There will be a dramatic play space where students can also be creative in a different way and express themselves through costume.
I will have bright, colorful, comfortable rugs on the floor, especially around the whiteboards/SMART Boards. Students will feel a sense of camaraderie and community when they gather on the rugs together.
On the walls there will be lots of bulletin boards and other academic decor such as sight words, number lines, the alphabet, calendar, weather, etc. It will be colorful and stimulating, but not overwhelming.
Most of all, I want my students to feel welcome, to have a sense of belonging, and a desire to learn when they step inside.
In a perfect classroom, all of the above and so much more would be implemented. It would be the best classroom I could possibly imagine. But I will be a new teacher and so it will take time. I may not be able to afford all of the things I want and the school might not provide a whole lot. It might start out minimal and a little bare. But over time it will grow and expand. I will someday have the idyllic classroom that exists in the back of my mind.
But then I remember, it’s not about the stuff, although stuff helps (especially materials that will help my students learn). It’s about the kids. And if I can make them feel welcome, like they belong, and inspire in them a desire to learn, well then, my classroom will be perfect from day one.
I can dream up the best classroom in the whole world. But I have to keep my students in mind. What’s best for them. And for a lot, it won’t be about the stuff. It will be about how they feel, how I make them feel, how others make them feel. Loved, cared for, understood, respected, the list goes on. If I can do that, with an assist from my classroom environment, I will feel that my job has been one that was well done.
How do you use your classroom to do what is best for the students you are given? Does your classroom environment make a big difference in your student’s lives or is it more about you and their peers? Let me know! As a new teacher I love feedback and advice and I look forward to the thoughts and ideas you will share!