My classroom trailer is a pit. Neighboring Douglas county donated the thing to my school this year when we needed 48 trailers to use until construction of our new building is complete. The light switches and outlets have no coverings; wires stick out of the wall; the two sliding windows came with one piece of wood to serve as a lock. And when it rains, the odor that lingers around for the rest of the week could be marketed as “Gym Short Breeze.”
That said, I’ll admit one of my weak areas as a teacher (and there are many) is setting up my classroom. I lack the spatial intelligence and the woman’s touch to put together a pleasurable learning environment. Imagine what a twenty-something guy’s apartment might look like if he had no one to really hold him accountable for how the place looked. Add 27 desks and some stinky teenagers, and you’ve pretty much got my classroom. I’ve got a pile of unfiled paperwork accumulating on the floor. Posters are only hung to strategically cover gaping holes in the wall. I wanted my trailer to look nice; I just didn’t know what to do.
Enter: Kate. Last night, Kate came to the football game to watch her alma mater play our mighty Raiders. At half-time, we moseyed over to my trailer to show her where I worked all day. She was saddened by my room’s sorry state, her exact words being “I don’t think I could learn in here.”
But Kate would rather light a candle than curse my darkness, so we got to work. We rearranged the desks into groups of six, freeing up plenty of space and also ensuring every student has a decent view of the board. We moved books that were gathering behind my desk over to an empty bookshelf. Kate stapled my students’ summer reading projects on the wall.
My room isn’t perfect yet. Kate’s offered to make some curtains for my ugly windows. I’ve still got an extra dry-erase board that needs to find its way up on the wall. The switches and outlets still need plates. I’m talking to a dude on Craigslist about a $20 table I could really use. A vacuuming wouldn’t hurt, either. But we’ve made drastic improvements, and when my students come back Monday, they just might be a little happier to be there.
[Pictures might show up soon–if you’re lucky]