Are you feeling stress about setting up a classroom? I’m so sorry if you are.
I feel the need to write about this after reading many comments from new teachers (and some vets) who are feeling absolutely stressed and inadequate right now because they are on social media, seeing pictures and videos of amazing classroom set ups.
Please stop feeling that way.
First of all, I’ll start with a disclaimer. In this post I am NOT suggesting that those who are putting a lot of time and effort into decorating their classrooms are not worried about pedagogy. Let’s get that straight from the outset.
However, the message that I want to get out there is that it is not necessary. If you are new to this game, having an Instagram-worthy classroom is not a requirement. It takes a lot of time – not to mention money – and in the end, the decor does. not. matter.
What matters is that you put the time into honing your craft and creating lessons and activities that will help kids learn. You can have the most amazing classroom, but if what happens within those walls is not rigorous or engaging, then all those pretty things won’t matter much.
Or you can have four bare walls and students who can’t wait to get to your class because what happens in there makes them want to be in your room everyday. There are many variations on this theme, but one essential truth remains the same: the decor is not what’s important.
Teaching is a tough job – and it takes a long time to get really good at it. If you are new to this game, take the pressure off and concentrate on what really matters: getting to know your kids and planning the lessons they need to learn. That is all that matters. Really.
So stop looking at those pictures and videos. Don’t feel anxious about your set up and decor. Yes, you can make the room feel cozy, but what you really need is…
✅ Space on those walls for anchor charts and other visuals that will help students learn.
✅ A place where they can proudly display their work (and it’s the work they’ll care about, not the fancy bulletin board it’s on).
✅ Space so students can do some group work with chart paper on the wall (one of my favourite activities – read more here).
✅ Quiet places so students don’t get over-stimulated everywhere they look.
✅ Space for you to focus on what really matters (read more here)
Ok, I’m getting off my stump. I hope that I’ve helped alleviate a little bit of pressure for some of you. When I started teaching, I didn’t have Pinterest and Instagram to make me feel unworthy, so it was so much easier to slap up a few posters, buy a few plants, and get to what mattered: teaching my kids.
If you would like some help with managing your classes and planning highly engaging lessons, you should check out my masterclass. Click here for more info.
Have an amazing semester!
I spend more time in my classroom than any other place. I want it to look nice, yes, but it is so much more important that it functions well! I teach 3 different preps so if I don't have organization down-pat, we ALL suffer!
Room 213 says
Thanks! I'm right there with you!
Rachael Stahr says
This was so helpful! Thank you for helping me refocus on what is important! I often use ivy and flowers to make it feel brighter and more natural (all those flourescent lights and screens – ugh!).
Room 213 says
I think sprucing the room up with flowers is amazing – and relatively cheap 😉