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Whether you are getting ready to begin your first year of teaching or have been teaching for several years, there is something that we all experience at the beginning of a new school year... It’s that stomach-sinking feeling when you open your classroom door and stare at an empty space. Oh my goodness, talk about overwhelming!
Your mind is suddenly flooded with questions of,
How do I divide up this space?
Do I need to buy even more decor at Target?
How am I going to fill up these empty walls?
You want it to be perfect. You want your students to walk in for the first time and think “Wow, I’m so lucky that I get to spend my days in this space”. Let’s be real, you want to have that same feeling! After all, your classroom is where you’ll be spending the majority of your time, right?
If this is your first time setting up your classroom, the good news is that it can be really exciting to work with a blank canvas that is your empty classroom. If you have set up a classroom before, it’s always fun to reimagine your space, and make improvements on the layout.
I've learned from experience that it's the small details that may seem like they aren't that important on the surface that can actually make the greatest impact in reducing your daily stress.
Here’s why - if you've ever been house hunting before or apartment hunting, then you know that when you first enter a space, you immediately know if it feels good (or if it doesn’t).
When a home has a good flow and layout, the space just makes sense and it is very easy for you to imagine how you want to set things up. On the flip side, sometimes you walk into a house and literally cannot figure out how you could possibly divide the space up into practical living spaces.
That’s exactly why realtors invest so much money in staging apartments and houses - because it can be really hard to visualize how an empty room can be used. It’s the same kind of a thing when you're setting up your first classroom. Your classroom is just like your home, so you want to take some time to consider the best use of each wall and square foot!
If there isn't a clear organization to the space, and if you haven't thought through where there might be bottleneck areas in how your students are going to use the space, you're going to find that there's unnecessary chaos in your day - every.single.day.
Rather than chaos, I want you to feel a sense of peace and flow to your space! It literally all comes down to thinking through some of the key spaces inside your classroom, and how you're going to set up and use the space that you have to your greatest advantage.
So inside today's episode, we're going to talk through how you can set up your classroom in a way that is optimal for learning.
Also please remember that if your first classroom isn’t the Pinterest-perfect space that you’ve been dreaming of, it’s okay.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Instagram is not real. The reality is that it usually takes teachers years to develop a classroom that looks like the pictures you see on Instagram. What’s more important is that your classroom is a safe and usable space for you and your students.
Finally, be sure to tune in to episode three of my Spring New Teacher Training Series, because we’re going to talk all about what I recommend that you invest in for your new classroom - and what you can wait to purchase until you have a steady paycheck coming in.
Click the image at the top of this post to check out a video of the Succulent product line available for students in my R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy!
I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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