Friday, August 19, 2011

The Walls Are Ready, But Am I?

This afternoon I finished setting up my room.  As you can see from the before and after photos I felt that I needed to do something new and fresh this year.

Circles.  You know what the best thing is about circles?  You can never, ever hang up a circle crooked.  Trust me.  I slept at a Holiday Inn last night.  Seriously though,  I am the King of Crooked.  But I would like to point out that every circle I put up this week is, well, I am not sure if I can say it is straight and level but I know for sure it's not crooked!

The second best thing about circles in this room is that they break up the immense white space.  This room is so big and so bland that it almost feels two dimensional when you walk in.  So I decided to work on three different levels:  color, shape and 3-D (no glasses required).  The color breaks up the expansive white space, the circles mute the harshness of all the right angles and the circles "popping off" the wall add interest and grab the attention of the eye.

It looks good and I enjoy being in this space.  There are many theories and ideas about how you create your learning space as a teacher.  I will admit that when I plan my room I am egocentric in my design and layout.

I spend over eight hours a day in this room, my students pop in for 50 minutes.  I need to be comfortable in this space.  I also want it to be visually stimulating to the students.  As I have posted before, teaching is a constant battle for student attention.  By varying color and design, I hope to create an atmosphere that is visually engaging (I will admit I am worried that this room might be so engaging as to be considered distracting...we will just have to wait and see).

So the room looks good but because I put so much effort into the walls, I feel a little unnerved about my preparations for the first day of school, the prime time, when the lights come on and I walk out on stage.  The set design looks great but I feel like I do not quite know my lines.

I am going in early Saturday morning to finish my "to do" list, go over my lesson plans and just get comfortable in the space I have created for myself and my students.

I have been teaching for sixteen years.  Almost two decades as an educator, enough time to be recognized as a campus teacher of the year, a regional teacher of the year and now a state teacher of the year.  Great honors that I am proud of and humbled by.  But I still get nervous before the first day of school, I still doubt myself, I still worry that someday an administrator will walk into my room and say "The gig is up buddy, we know your a fake.  Pack your bags and head to Wal-Mart."

Maybe that hint of insecurity and nervousness is a good thing.  A sign that I still care that I do a good job, that I still need to grow and learn, that I still need to start every year with a sense of awe and humbleness for having the opportunity to do what I do.

So the room is together.  My "to do" list has been whittled down to one page and, ready or not, the students are coming on Monday.  Yes I am apprehensive but I think I am ready, I hope I am ready.  Maybe I better get to school a little earlier than I planned just to make sure.

Well, the more time I spend writing about the walls the less time I spend thinking about the important stuff...the students.  I hope I have inspired you to do something new and different in your room.  If you have some cool pictures share them on my Facebook page:  Creativity 2.0  I would love to see what you have done.  Have a great school year!  Now, where is that "to do" list?


  1. Some are just butcher paper (brown, red, black and yellow). The other circles are a combination of cardboard and pink foam board. In order to make some of the circles pop out, I created hangers to help push the circles away form the wall.