Two weeks in a row of blogging – watch out world.
The physical space
I work in a small private school with a typical class size of 12-15. That means my current room is smaller than my “normal” sized classrooms when I taught in public school. However, I am suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper spoiled in my current space. It has a lot of windows with a terrific view. Icing on the cake…I am about 10 steps from the computer lab in the student center. IT’S MINE…ALL MINE HAHAHAHA!
Ever since my first teaching gig, I have always preferred to arrange the desks into pods of 4-6 students rather than use rows and columns. It creates more space for me to roam, and allows easy facilitation of pair-and-share discussions. My desk is situated with a clear view of the door and hallway outside, but is also in the “back” of the classroom due to the set up of my projector screen and white board.
I have been at Moravian Academy since 2015, so I am getting very settled into my classroom space, but prior to that I had a run of three different teaching assignments at two different schools in the space of three years. As a result, I learned to travel light. I don’t keep a lot of materials (e.g., print outs, old projects, etc.) on file or in storage. Anything important I maintain as an electronic copy – I actually hate it when I only have a hard copy of a resource, I always lose it! I have a nice sized storage closet in my room (again, very spoiled) that I clean out a few times a year. No mess. Except my desk of course…that is a constant battle.
I have a very sophisticated design style. Maps. Flags. Done. I do have a little step in my game though, I rotate everything each unit so the whole room stays relevant to the topic at hand. I am particularly happy to have such a high ceiling to allow hanging a 3×5 flag with head clearance. As a side project, I am working on a classroom library of content-specific texts, particularly young adult, memoirs and graphic novels. It’s mostly window dressing at this time, basically just for enrichment. But I have had confirmed sightings of students actually grabbing something off the shelf and reading it.
At one of my previous gigs, I had to clear out 20 years of accumulated “stuff” from the previous teacher. It was sort of a pain. But it served a very concrete lesson for me. Everything in that room was kept with a purpose in mind. It made sense to someone at one point to keep four (mostly) complete sets of wildly outdated encyclopedias. It was perfectly logical to keep a small desktop film projector with a box full of old lectures and presentations. Dozens of work student work samples. And so on. I mean it when I say it made sense…it did. A lot of the information in the encyclopedias is still “good” and more reliable than Wikipedia. If you were so inclined, you could go through those old filmstrips and transpose the lectures to PowerPoint. Everyone knows the best way to model for students is to use student work. Yadda yadda yadda. That way lies madness.
So anyway…I guess I saw a possible future for myself and I didn’t like it. I think most teachers have a hoarder instinct. I know that I am always on the look out for the next “thing” that I could probably use sometime. But it can turn on you. Sometimes you just need to be honest and say, “this may have value and relevance, but I don’t need it and/or won’t likely use it”. Even more difficult, “this was once a useful thing, but no longer”.
Having said all of that, I have little compunction or self control about filling up my email and Google Drive with interesting and useful stuff that I will surely use…some day…
Tips, tricks, or advice related to the above
Own your space – particularly your storage spaces. When is the last time you cleaned out that file cabinet? Do you really know what’s in there? It’s OK…just have one of those big recycle bins ready when you go in.
Thanks for stopping by, please comment with a link to your blog so I can see your classroom space!