Why A Beautifully Designed Classroom Is A Bad Idea
It’s a trend, and not just on Pinterest and Instagram.
Perfect, charming, colorful, systematically designed classrooms are everywhere it seems.
Looking more like fashionable boutiques than places of learning, many are truly impressive.
They’re also a bad idea.
When you become known for your classroom’s appearance, you bring unnecessary pressure upon yourself.
You lock yourself into a prisonous state of always having to measure up, be impressive, and have the most beautiful classroom in the school. It isn’t healthy.
It’s a form of perfectionism that will eventually cause you to crack under its weight.
The time and energy it takes to create, design, and maintain such a classroom, especially if you’re to keep it bright and fresh every month, is best spent on your lessons.
Good teachers sit and think before and after school. If you’re doing more physical than mental preparation, then you’re not going to be ready to teach.
Plus, you have a life outside of school to live and enjoy.
Getting away at a decent hour every day to spend with family or on your hobbies is one of the best things you can do to avoid stress and burnout.
You don’t have to spend your own money to be an effective teacher. It’s not part of the job and does nothing to improve learning. Stop it, really.
Unless you’re teaching in Equatorial Guinea, or somewhere students lack basic supplies, you have all the materials you need to provide excellent instruction.
If you want to donate shoes, clothes, or living needs to students, then fine—or get involved with a charity. But making your room look like an LA cupcake shop is a waste.
It’s easy to get so caught up in interactive calendars, organizational systems, and sugary mottoes that you never question whether they add anything to learning.
Most do not.
If it doesn’t save time or simplify your life, if isn’t absolutely needed, if you’re only doing it because your rival or friend or favorite influencer does it, then throw it out.
It’s causing you stress and pulling you away from being a better teacher to your students.
Excellence is Expected
It’s fine to be colorful. It’s fine to have an attractive classroom you prepare before the school year begins and maintain throughout.
If it makes you feel good, go for it.
But never fall into the trap of believing that adorable, magical, and whimsical design, cutesy creative organization, or lamps and bean bag chairs have anything to do with good teaching. Mostly, they’re a giant red flag.
To be most effective, your classroom should be pin-neat. It should be clean and lack clutter. It should have wide-open spaces and walkways to move and breathe. Empty, it should look spartan, even museum-like, in order to help students focus.
And whisper in their ear every time they enter that excellence is expected.
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