Peaceful Space = Better Teaching?

My first faculty meeting of the year, my first year teaching, started off with a joke about the fact that a teacher’s fully and elaborately decorated bulletin board was as important as the content the teacher covered in the course.

“I’m in the wrong place,” I thought.  “And I don’t even have a bulletin board.”

Years later, I realize that I was in the wrong place and that bulletins boards mean nothing.  At least to me.

This summer I have spent some time making my classroom my “happy place.”  It needs to be a safe space for kids, and a place of learning.  It needs to be set up so that every seat is a “good seat”.  Yeah yeah, I get all that.  But during the school year, I spend more waking time in my classroom than I do at my newly purchased house, so it makes sense that my classroom should be a place that I find relaxing and comfortable, a place that is peaceful and a true home-away-from-home.  It should also have as few sharp objects within arms reach as possible.

All of these things have come to fruition and my room is nearly finished.  The highlight of my classroom is my “art wall.”  In my sparse spare time, I like to take photographs.  I pride myself in my “art”, as I have had no formal training and I do no digital alterations once the picture has been taken.  I point, shoot, and print.

And this summer, I framed some of my favorites and hung them on my wall.  It’s not a bulletin board.  It doesn’t post any class news or sayings.  It’s much more than that.

While this has no bearing on my teaching specifically, it makes my classroom a place that makes me proud and comfortable – a place that is uniquely mine.  And hopefully this will, in turn, make me more peaceful and less likely to throw the sharp objects that I have kept out of arms reach.

Here’s hoping the kids don’t laugh at me.


About sherioffy

I am a teacher. I am attempting to persuade today's youth that mathematics is both beautiful and satisfying. I'll keep you posted about the progress of my endeavors. So far, no one is buying it ;)
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One Response to Peaceful Space = Better Teaching?

  1. I really like the idea of putting up the art in the room. I like it even more that you aren’t “professional”. Your vulnerability creates an environment to show the students that it’s okay to take chances and to show off what you love. I have replaced all of my ceiling tiles with student art projects over the last few years. I have no idea if it helps, but it all goes toward the same goal!

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