As I write each blog, I try to consider what wisdom I wish I could have shared with myself as a new teacher. The the beginning of the school year is quickly approaching, and it is around this time of year that I have began considering how to decorate my classroom. I always wanted everything to be color coordinated. I wanted it to be inviting and a pleasant place to be. Let's be real here...I wanted it to look like a professional decorating educator remodeled my room (don't you wish that was really a job!). I took pride in the room set-up and decor (I know pride goes before the fall).
But the reality is that no matter how much effort we place in preparing a beautifully decorated inviting room, it is not necessarily worth the time, effort, and money we invest in this endeavor. Don't worry if you are shocked and ready to stop reading...I am with ya, but the thing is a lot of this is more for us or for our administrators or parents.
80-100 years from now after living a full and blessed life (we pray), our students will be telling their grandchildren about the amazing color coordination, the creative organizational items, and the touch of whimsy in their classrooms..............said or will say... NO student ever!!!!
Our students will not remember the decor, but they will remember the atmosphere. They will remember if they felt comfortable in the classroom, if they felt invited, and if they felt safe. Sure...decorating can lend to a general pleasant atmosphere of a classroom. Four white walls is definitely not my idea of inviting, so decor is important to a certain extent. It's just not that important. Even if your classroom is filled with four white walls...it's ok. Most students are going to remember the way you make them feel, the way other students treat them, and if they loved or hated learning in your classroom.
So...as the new school year approaches, keep some perspective. Don't kill yourself or your bank account going all out on that decor. Think through what you need for organization and include that. Otherwise, keep it minimal and fill most of the space in your classroom with student work.
Hint: Set aside the area where you want student work to be on a wall. Then let the students hang their own work! In addition to this being fun for students, it saves you work (win win!). I have let my students hang their work anywhere in the classroom they chose - even the ceiling. They loved it!
Happy Teaching :)
- Founder of Chemistry with Confidence