Classrooms are a beautiful place really. I mean, children and teachers spend most of their days in them learning, laughing, talking, and SO much more. The transformation that takes place inside the walls is truly magnificent.
This time of year social networks are flooded with images of classroom design and setups to either motivate you or make you feel as though you honestly should get an interior decorator for your classroom (forget the house, it’s back to school season). You can either feel inspired or you can feel inadequate (or even in between).
What happens if your classroom doesn’t look like that?
As a teacher and blogger I thought briefly about doing a “classroom reveal” and showing my room in all it’s beautifully designed glory. I did work hard on it (thank you mom for your help too!) and I love it’s layout and theme. However, I realized when I took out my camera that there were a few (ok a lot) of piles and randomness that I thought “ew that can’t go in the photo….let’s relocate that pile…nope that isn’t a good shot. Look at that mess, I better clean first!” and so the cycle went.
Then I thought…. “Ok Alex, you cannot be the only teacher who doesn’t have a perfect room, even if you feel like you are.” If I have piles to move out of a photo and tipped over books boxes because Suzie Q was twirling like a tornado during Read to Self (ahem, SIGH) doesn’t that just make me “A Kindergarten Teacher?”
Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely LOVE beautiful classrooms and I love seeing them and reading about them. I want one too and I know that for some teachers, they really need that level of organization and coordination, and it makes them happy. We do spend a TON of time at school, so we should love our rooms!
I do love my room and I did work hard to get it ready for my students. There are several parts that I think look like a cute, themed, and fun room!
Example A – my library.
I love my library. I think it is cute and cozy and it is one of my favorite places in our room! This photo is not staged and was taken right after school- I didn’t fix it up just for you, sorry. Books fallen out of the bins that we didn’t see? Check. Stuffed animals looking less than alert and photo ready? Check. But, it’s one of my kids’ favorite places to be, and that makes me happy.
Example B – My whole group area
I do have a jungle theme as you can tell, and I love this area too. I think my room is pretty early childhood friendly in it’s setup, and we love meeting here on the carpet to sing, work, talk, and more! In my room we do play every day (we are very blessed, as I know many of you kinder teachers don’t get to) and we have block areas, home living, and more!
Here is a closer look at our block area from my Instagram feed – my kids do truly love that dollhouse!
Ok enough pretty – Cue up the soundtrack to Jaws please…..
Next to my beautiful home living area (another favorite of my kids’ – they love the kitchen!) is this. Not sure what it is, but it is growing.
It is frightening, yes. Even scarier? I can tell you everything that is in those piles and buckets. Even scarier still? I am using that paper holder as a SHELF and have no papers in it at all…um…. ok…
No, we don’t do 900 worksheets a day. We just had our mini books and alphabet hunts/games made up super early this year and there they are not put away yet (will they ever be? Who knows!)
Somewhere in there is the pencil sharpener but be careful trying to use it because those buckets are teetering near it and could collapse at any moment.
Maybe the soundtrack to Halloween is better….
I don’t have a desk but I have a standing teacher area in a back corner. This photo was taken after a day when someone handed me a box of donated books, my lunch was eaten in 3.5 seconds because there were too many things to do (hence the containers) and a child got a dramatic play cookie jammed so far in a play water pitcher that I couldn’t even dig it out with scissors (can you spy that story in the photo?)
So what exactly am I trying to say?
Classrooms are beautiful based on what occurs inside their doors that has nothing to do with design and everything to do with experiences. I love a well designed classroom as much as the next person and I keep striving to have a well organized, non-cluttered work space every day. For me, it may be more difficult than others!
I used to (like even last week if I am being honest) see classrooms on social media and think mine needed to look like that and that something was wrong with me because it didn’t.
So, if you are like me and struggle with feeling inadequate, and feel like perhaps your classroom isn’t “pin worthy” – just know you are not alone!
Keep looking at beautifully designed classrooms and always let them inspire you, but never let them make you feel less than.
The truth is, the majority of us (can I say all? I like to hope all!) are fabulous teachers who want our students to succeed and always try our best in everything we do.
So….what happens when your classroom isn’t “pin-worthy?”
Nothing. Because it still IS pin-worthy, in its own way, and when your students are old they probably won’t remember your matching labels, but they will remember how you made them feel when they remembered that c says /k/ and figured out how to read a word they thought they couldn’t.
Teachers blessed with a design gene? You inspire me every day – keep doing your pin worthy pics and posts, and I will keep reading them and enjoying them. Maybe someday it will rub off. 🙂