Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why I don't have a Pinterest-perfect classroom.

My classroom will never be Pinterest-perfect.  Forget the fact that I'm not a good drawer and I can't seem to copy all of those cutesy fonts.  I used to be intimidated by all of the cute Pinterest bulletin boards, anchor charts, folders, stickers, etc. because of my lack of drawing ability and because it seemed to be a competition to see who's classroom was the "Pinterestiest."  I always lagged behind in that competition.

I listened to colleagues talk about how many hours they spent making anchor charts, putting up bulletin boards, and labeling cute folders.  I felt guilty that I didn't put in that many hours spiffing up my classroom.  I was less of a teacher because I didn't make a Pinterest-perfect classroom.

Who am I trying to please when I set up and decorate my classroom?  My fellow teachers, my principal, the district administrator, parents?  They don't really care. I mean, they will comment, but it's just surface praise.  I had a great growth mindset bulletin board and no one gave it a second glance, including the adminstrator who came into my room for an observation.  Why work hard when other people don't value it and it doesn't help students grow?

I'll still put up cute bulletin boards.  After all, I'm an elementary teacher.  But I won't spend hours and hours on the process and I will keep them up all school year. Maybe I'll get some kids to help.  No sense in changing the boards if nobody really looks at them.

Also, I'm going to involve my students more.  They can write their own names on their folders and notebooks.  It may not be uniform and cutesy, but the kids will have more ownership.  Even the littlest kids who can't write yet can color a design.

I'm not going to make anchor charts ahead of time.  When we come to a lesson where one is needed, the students will help create it.  I am still somewhat of a control freak, so I will do the writing, but the ideas, with little nudges from me, will come from the kids.  Again, ownership.  Plus, if they help make it, they will be more likely to use it and remember the information.  I guess I'd rather spend an hour planning a lesson to facilitate student involvement in making anchor charts than five hours on making the perfect one myself.  I think I know which will help my kids grow more.

If other teachers feel the need to spend hours and hours on the Pinterest-perfect classroom, more power to them!  Enjoy yourself.  It's your choice and your style.  Me, I'm going to have my students help.  My classroom may not look Pinterest-perfect, but it will be student-perfect.