I don’t know about you, but there were a lot of things which just happened when I was at school that I didn’t really attribute to anyone. Before the age of space cases, pencils were sharpened and new erasers constantly appeared when needed; the walls were always donned with displays – seemingly updated at night by the classroom fairies; books were kept neat and sorted; there was a sense of order and fun and learning the classroom; and I never said thank you. It didn’t even cross my mind that at the end of the day there was some tired teacher making this magic happen.
Now, I am that tired teacher.
This is the last week of the Christmas break before we return for the Spring Term. In an attempt to bolster my bank account, I volunteered to help out a few days this holiday in transforming one of the classrooms. One of the year groups hasn’t had a particularly stable year and as a result of having 4 teachers in as many months, the classroom is looking a bit worse for wear.
The Head Teacher, her assistant and I spent a while just looking at the classroom thinking about which furniture to move, which boxes to throw out and what to change to make the classroom less ‘flat’. We then proceeded to do some of those things – the heavy lifting, the never-ending throwing out of rubbish, the dusting, the sorting, the moving of chairs and tables, the stacking of books, the cleaning… 5 hours and a corridor of junk later, the classroom still looks overcrowded and in need of some love. Tomorrow is display day. Hopefully after the (re-)creation of working walls and topic boards and interactive science displays, things will look a little more exciting. I’m doubtful that there will be any “thank you’s” floating in our direction, but perhaps a learning environment which excites and inspires and motivates will be enough.
Until then, thank you to all those teachers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make classrooms exciting and stimulating environments. In particular, thank you to all those teachers who did it for me.