Here is a picture tour of my classroom. I am showing the difference between what I provide for my students and what the district provides for my students, for what they claim is a “World Class Education.” Unfortunately, the teachers in my district are on the brink of a strike, and we have had to remove all of our personal belongings. The after pictures (along with the fact that I have 35 fourth graders in my class) tell a somber story of the state of public education funding in our country. A world class education, indeed…..
Games & game shelves; shelves for math manipulatives; storage for needed day-to-day lesson items; behind the bookcases is my main storage area where I keep most of my teaching resources & materials, some art supplies & materials, tubs full of things for my class store, Leap Pads & books, baskets & tubs, etc.
Next is my class library, with 7 bookcases/shelves full of books, including a set of encyclopedias (hiding on the shelf behind the beanbags), a class set of paperback dictionaries, thesauruses, atlases, etc. along with hundreds of chapter books, novels, and picture books. I also provide bean bags, camp chairs, floor cushions & area rugs for my kids to sit on when working around the room.
This is the carpet area where much of my teaching occurs. Here you see the mailboxes/cubbies, shelves for book boxes, the daily schedule, and off to the left you can see just the edge of my homework chart where we keep track of daily homework completion. What you don’t see in this picture is the large area rug I purchased to define this space. Oh, and that whiteboard you see to the right—I bought that myself, as well. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to take it down, or not.
This last set of pictures is my work area. I no longer use an actual desk, as the one my husband’s company donated several years ago took up too much space now that I have 35 students and the teacher desks the school provides are falling apart (and I don’t think there is a desk chair to be had in the building.) So I provide my own table and chair, along with my own printer & ink, and storage for all of the office type supplies I purchase. Since I packed up last weekend, I no longer even have a stapler or tape dispenser in my room because I bought those myself!
I know I am not alone in making up the difference in my classroom. Most teachers (especially elementary teachers) spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, each year on items they need to be able to do their job. And we do it gladly. We do it because we want what is best for our kids. We do it, because if we don’t, who will?