The first thing I notice about my classroom is bright colors and harsh lighting; if a student actually manages to successfully fall asleep in here, then he must really need those extra winks.
I feel a little guilty at having the "standard" room arrangement of rows. I experiment every year with doing something different, but I inevitably end up changing it back to this. The desks are constantly changing for various activities: groups of four for peer response days, a mini-courtroom during mock trial, a circle for discussion; the movement eases my guilt a little.
My "little desk" at the front of the room is where I often sit during class-wide discussions of literature. I love that it puts me on the same level as my students, and that I can look into every pair of eyes in the room from a non-intimidating place. It also provides another place where I am known to stack random papers and sticky notes.
The cart on the far left side is full of extra supplies for students: pens, pencils, notebooks, folders; everything. I used to fight the battle of having kids return borrowed items or making them fill out a pass and go to their lockers, but now I give everything freely. They need the supplies in order to work, and I need them in my room working more than I need to fight a battle about coming prepared.
My "real" desk is where I do most of my lesson planning, grading, and answering emails. I only sit here before school, after, and during my planning period (unless I have a class full of study hall refugees needing extra help during that time). It's the one part of my room that's my space, that I don't share with anyone else. One of my colleagues went "desk-less" a few years ago to try to cut down on clutter, but clutter is how my brain works best. It's only three weeks into the year, so this is as spotless as it will be until June when I pack it up.
The long counter that runs along one side of my room is unassuming considering that it provides some of my favorite moments as an English teacher. The back corner (far left) is where I conduct writing conferences with all of my students: two (or more) conferences per student, per trimester. It's where I get to know them and help them as unique individuals, even when the sheer load of working one-on-one with 150 students that many times per trimester seems exhausting or impossible. It's where I become less intimidating and more of a confidant than I can be in a large group setting. The conference corner is the nurturing side of me, and I cherish the conversations I've had here. I desperately wish I could make it a more cozy place, but the countertop leaves me feeling hampered.
I have a lot of space to hang posters on my walls, but we're limited on how to do that without angering custodial staff, so this isn't as inviting as I would like it to be. This back corner is the number one thing I would change, since I'd love to have a lounge space for my students, but I don't have the room. My classroom is built in a utilitarian way (aren't they all?) and the high quantities of counter space make it difficult to squeeze in any extras.
I'm jealous of those teachers who seem to have cozy rooms because, although I love mine, I wouldn't describe it as such. I wish I had the freedom to paint my walls, each one a different color, so that the bulletin boards aren't the only color. It's what I do at home, and I'd find it more inspiring than the beige.
My room definitely has room for improvement, but with so many other tasks to fit into a day, I just can't bring myself to focus the energy on decoration when I'd rather be brainstorming for new lesson ideas or meeting with kids for conferences.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.