Goodness gracious! It’s been so long since I have posted anything. So much has happened!!
Last year, I started teaching third grade and quickly realized I was in the wrong place and the wrong grade. So, I decided to do something about that. I spent last spring teaching full time and going back to school to get my secondary teaching endorsement in English/ Language Arts. Best decision I ever made.
Now, I am teaching close to home, instead of a 45 minute one-way commute, at a deliriously wonderful middle school, and even have my daughter at the school. LOVE having her with me every day! I couldn’t be happier with my school and the staff. I have even been able to use my almost 2 decades of community theater experience in the drama department co-directing the 8th grade play and now the spring musical. My amazing daughter is involved in sports and stage managing the shows.
My classroom is my happy place. Even the other teachers come in and “zen out” for a while sometimes. I get so many comments on how good it smells (which is something to remark on with middle schoolers) and how peaceful and orderly it is. I have lamps and strings of lights (the blue lantern ones around the tree board weren’t up yet for the picture), cool peaceful colors with a few splashes of bright colors, and things are organized and simple. It makes me smile when, even into the second semester, my students come in, settle in to their desk and sigh, “I love this room.”
To make my space feel extra homey, I created my own personal space at the back of the room. My “office” as I call it. Anchored with a cute rug, I have all of my personal supplies within my reach, but harder for the kiddos to get into without my permission. Organization is key. Behind the lime green curtain (on a tension rod) is all of my personally purchased supplies organized in tubs and containers, which would look neat enough, but even cleaner out of sight.
Another feature of my classroom is art. Several paintings around the room are my own work (the large pink one was done by my daughter), and three were done by a friend to bring my Louisiana roots into my room. I believe that art can inspire the imagination, so what better decoration for a writing classroom? The READ letters are re-purposed frames from a thrift shop and some letters and craft supplies. I put a roll of contact paper on the front of the desk to dress it up some and tie it into the rest of the room. It’s the simple things that pull this room together and make me happy.
These pictures are from the start of the year and some things have been added, such as student work and the bulletin board tree “leaves” have changed with the season. (At the moment, it is glittery white with snow covered hills and penguins sledding among the student work hanging up.) My door changes with the season, or my mood. 🙂 I just took down my 3D snowman and am in the process of replacing it with a 3D blooming cherry tree and dandy lions on a hill. Here’s the snowman (We named him Bernard and the kids did journal entries on his adventures with the penguins, Bartholomew and Nigel.) Pictures of the tree when it’s done!
Sometimes you have to take a few steps back from what you thought you were supposed to be doing, listen closely to your heart and gut feelings, and step out on a limb for something new. Last year, I questioned whether or not teaching was what I was supposed to do at all. This year, I KNOW it is and I KNOW I am teaching what I was meant to teach and have created a space that makes me happy, productive, and at peace.
Is it hard work? Definitely. Is it worth it. You better believe it!