Tuesday, August 27, 2013

From Sad to Almost Fab

Since I don't live in the south, I still have another week before school officially starts.  I can't believe some of you bloggers have already been in for a week or two!

That doesn't mean my mind isn't on school 24/7 but I am not required to be there until next Tuesday, so I am dipping in and out of my room at will.  I haven't stopped thinking about school since I took that cool IPAD class in mid-August.  Thankfully, I am sleeping fairly well and I'm not really having wild dreams about school, but I am thinking about it during all of my waking hours and I'm a little more anxious about my new school than I expected I'd be.

It's weird because I know 90% of the teachers, 100% of the material I will teach and 2% of the kids.  The change in grade levels and change of building that is really sinking in right now.

And I don't especially like my room.  I get down on my knees to thank God I have a room (foreign language teachers often don't have their own rooms and have to go from room to room on a cart) every day.

I like the location.  It's very close to the office, which means close to the action.  I never like to feel hidden away somewhere.  It should be no surprise that I like to be in the middle of things.  Thankfully, it's not down in the bowels of the school which I only discovered yesterday.  (we have a 2nd gym that I knew nothing about!)

I also face a courtyard which is nice for my gardening soul but it's really out of control at the moment, so it's almost sad to look outside right now!  Overgrown, weedy, things breaking due to neglect. 

The school has a very institutional feel and I am going from a school that has so many windows you feel like you are in an aquarium to one that has nowhere near the same kind of windows.  That means totally different light.  And a totally different feeling overall.

For example, my room has 2 windows just like my old room, but these tip in, like most school windows do, and they don't add much air.  I am coming from a school with big push out windows that allowed a TON of air in.

Another reason I am really bothered by my room is the lack of cabinet space as I described here.  I sucked it up and bought a shelving unit but even with the cabinet and the shelves, I don't have good storage and my room is kind of a mess.

They keep telling us we will get cabinets in the fall but that means I have to start the year with some disorder and then some magical day, I will get a cabinet.  My concern is that I will never really move these boxes that I've stashed away and I will just go and make or get things I already have in those boxes.

I did a few improvements to make the room feel more like mine.  In my old school, I once bought some purple paint that became my signature color.  I painted the heater registers and some bookcases and even when I changed rooms, I brought it with me.  People always comment on it.  It's ridiculous because I actually hate the color purple, but somehow it works in my room.

I know nothing about decorating and my house has no kind of theme, but I want my classroom to have some order.  Especially from day 1 or it's just downhill all the way.  I remember all of my elementary classrooms feeling bright and colorful and nice.  Then I got to high school and there was none of that.  Just a couple of posters, maybe.  It was so sad.  I want my room to be a place where people like to be.  I have always had great compliments from adults on how my room looks.

That must mean they can usually overlook the clutter that occurs when you have projects up to your eye balls, all over the effing place.  By October January, my room is knee deep in projects that have been done or are in the works.

When I got to my new room, it looked like this.

Nasty old beat up looking heater register.

Weird tape on the wall behind where I put my desk.  These walls have some sort of fabricy type covering because they are the kind that used to open up for a large classroom.  Two of my walls are like this.  They are a nasty dirty mustard color.  We aren't allowed to paint them, after someone painted her room a very bright yellow.  The only bonus to these walls is that I can staple, thumbtack and screw right into them.  That's a good bonus, actually.

The one bookcase I was given.  The woman before me didn't have the shelves sitting right so they rocked and threatened to fall down.  I can't stand things like that.  Just fix it!!

And the fabulous institutional teal that is on all kinds of desks all over our district.   I think the teal is meant to be soothing.  Just like the dark mauve and darker teal were in the 90s.   I really dislike this desk because the drawers that are meant for hanging folders are missing the metal racks that make the folders hang.  Right now, my files are just laying there and I can't stand it.

I had the good sense to have the previous teacher send me a picture of the desk so I would know if I should have mine sent over.  I don't know where she stood when she took the picture, but it looked just wonderful and big.  It's neither.  I shouldn't have had that good sense.

So, off to the hardware store I went to get more of my personal color, which they now have under my name in the computer.  I don't mean like you can  now go in and say "yes, I'd like a quart of this Sparkling74 purple".  I mean that next time, if I give her my name, she can look it up and get the exact numbers for the color mix.

A few days of painting, which I really don't like to do in any kind of weather, but especially not in summer, and here's what I have.

A desk that is more eye pleasing.  I didn't use any special paint, so with my nails banging on the drawers to pen and close them, I am sure it will scrape off.  The desk is metal so it's just asking to peel off.   But for now, it's so much better than teal and everyone who comes in mentions it.

In these modern times, the teacher's desk isn't usually in the center of the room, under the chalkboard like they still portray on TV.  The teacher isn't the center of the world anymore, if you believe what we're told these days.  So, my desk actually faces the wall.  That means if I were to sit at it, I would be ignoring my students.  But I don't actually sit at my desk.  It's just a place to have things and I like it against the wall so nothing falls off the back/front.  And, it takes up much less room this way.   The woman before me had practically built a fortress around her desk and I couldn't believe how much space it all took up!

The heater looks so much better.  I guess now I have to do the white part because that really looks like crap.

The bookcase is much better in purple.  BUT, because I lack closets, I have to use it for storage of boxed things and all of my paper.  This is so unideal but I am grinning and bearing it for now.  That mess on top will be straightened out before school starts.

Here's the cabinet that I brought form home and it filled in 2.3 seconds.  But, it's the things I really wouldn't want idle hands to get into and ruin, so I really needed to put that stuff in there.

I decided that my big plan for today was to try to get the furniture situation straightened out.  So, I put all of the unopened boxes under a couple of tables, to get them off the floor, and I moved tables around until I got it the way I think I want it.  I just realized that I took this before I put the chairs around the tables to see how they would work.  The chairs make it look more like a classroom.

After my 2nd year of teaching, I got 4 round cafeteria tables instead of desks and I grew to love them and never want desks again.  The one thing I said I needed for this new room was trapezoid tables (they can be apart for one or two people or together to make a bigger table) or the half circle tables (same thing) so I could move them as I wanted.  When I came upon these small, round tables, I was really excited because they are better than the traps.  I do have one set of trapezoid tables in case I want to use them and a couple of desks.  There are always a couple of kids that either want or need to sit at a desk, slightly away from the others.  I am currently using them to hold books but I could easily use them for a kid if I needed to.

I made a cheesy poster like this 2 years ago and when I brought it in to school this week, it had wrinkled and was gross.  There was always a problem with it anyway because I had a glue issue at the last minute and I was always annoyed with it.  And it was HUGE.

I decided to make a new one, slightly smaller and after my first attempt was eaten by the laminator, I made yet another one.  That's 3, if you are counting.  The leaves have the 5 strands that we use in our standards and the quote in the center of the flower is the quote that is at the front of the standards.  The phrase at the bottom is all me.  I'm really queer like that.  The cheesier the better!

I made the color poster, too.  Sometimes, I like to buy posters from companies because they are neat and nice, but often, there are not enough of the words I want to use, or of the many words that exist for an item, they use one that I don't, etc.  I make a new color poster every few years, when the colors have faded and I am tired of looking at it.  I also made the classroom items poster next to it, which I've never bothered with before.  Since I will only see them once a week, they will need as much visual reinforcement as they can get!!

Now, if I could just get a couch or recliner in there, this classroom might not be so bad!

Linking here:


  1. I feel so bad for teachers. So many of my friends teach and I always say it's one of the toughest jobs in the world. It takes a certain type of person to be able to do it and I know I'm not one of them LOL.

  2. I like what you did with the desk, bookcase and heater - purple is pretty! I also like the idea of having cafeteria tables instead of desks.

    Found you through Create. Simplify. Inspire. Hope you'll swing by my blog and check it out.

    x Del

  3. You did a great job with what you had!! It kills me that our teachers have to do so much of this stuff themselves :( thanks for all you do and thanks for sharing with us at LOBS!


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