At this time of year, I see lots and lots of pins coming through my Pinterest feed about classroom reveals. I have to admit, I often get very excited and I love to see what other people put in their rooms. But I also start to get a lot of self-doubt creep in as I compare myself to these “perfect” classrooms. I am a confident practitioner, I have great classroom management skills, I can teach anything to anyone until the cows come home, but when I look at these perfect rooms I start to wonder about a few things.
I am not trying to make people feel bad about having a “perfectly coordinated” room with matching labels and word walls and anything else, but I do wonder what pressure these perfect rooms put some staff under? Don’t get me wrong, I like my room to look nice – after all I have to spend an awful lot of time in there! But, is spending all of your hard-earned money on making your room look “perfect” worth it? Will it make you a better teacher? Will it guarantee that your students will learn more? Will it mean that your students will behave better? The answer is – no! I know that some people will not like hearing this, but a pretty room does not make a great teacher.
So, what should be on your room? In my own classroom, which is quite small, I have a lot of equipment. As a music classroom, I have instruments all over the place, whiteboards, computers, desks, display areas & shelves. But, not any of these are really needed. The two most important things in that room are the students and the teacher. Without those two things, you don’t have a class! Simple!
At the end of last year, my school ordered some new desks. Well, when they came, they weren’t “new”, and they were a really bad size! And, guess who ended up with them – me! These new desks were bigger than my current ones, but not big enough to sit two students per desk. I was given 16 of these desks, and I had to make them work with the other desks I had in the room. I had to work out a way of making these desks fit in the space, as well as accommodate 30 students! It was a bit of a nightmare. I tried so many different combinations, but I finally got there in the end. I went back to using grouped desks, and this meant that I could squeeze extra chairs at either end of the tables. I can now sit 30 students in the room. I must say though, when all 30 students have a guitar in their hands, I seem to have bodies everywhere from the floor to the seats to the desks – just not enough space.
I also decided at the end of last year to recover the display boards that were in my room. When I started there in 2014, there was a lot of “colourful” graffiti on the boards and so I used whatever material I had at home to cover this up. Unfortunately, this meant a lot of pink. I had also sewn covers for the keyboards, large xylophones and computer screens – again this was out of material that I had stashed at home, and nothing really matched. But, it did mean that all the equipment was being looked after, and things had stopped being damaged. At the end of last year, I remade covers for all the keyboards and computer screens, using bright cotton drill to make it look a little more like it was meant to be, instead of a collection of randomness along with recovering the display boards in black. The black was so that it was a little less distracting and “in your face” as my students used to tell me.
Now on my walls, I only display what I use and need to teach. This means that I have our school values posters, the assessment schedules for each class I teach, my timetable, bell times, music border, keyboard posters, guitar chord charts and some “what great musicians do” posters. That sound like a lot, but it is all packed into a small amount of space, and these are essentially all I need to teach the courses for this year.
Now, because I am a person who loves to share, you can have all of these wonderful things to display in your classroom too – for FREE! All you have to do is click the link, download, print and display. In fact, I have so many class room decorating freebies, that you will have enough to change them up over the course of the year. AND what is great about these FREEBIES – they all match each other too!
Now remember, the two most important things in the classroom are the students and the teacher. And, if you don’t have to spend your hard-earned money on decorating your room – and can use that cash to use on yourself instead, isn’t that a good thing? So, head on over to my TPT store, grab yourself some FREEBIES and decorate your room – enjoy!
Until next time
Julia from Jooya
p.s. I would love to see some photos of your won classrooms using my posters and free stuff! You can send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org