Pinterest-Perfect Classroom? No thanks!
Listen, I’m not into teacher-shaming any time, but especially at the beginning of the year. But these perfect back to school classrooms… can we talk about these? (I promise to be gentle)
You know these classrooms I’m talking about, right? The ones that are perfectly coordinated in color & design? Those Pinterest-perfect playrooms. The Insta-ready, perfectly-framed views?
I always wonder where the kids get to see or make their own mark inside those perfectly created classrooms.
You see, when we feather the nests so perfectly…just so…in ways that are just delicious…
I ask, delicious for whom? The kids? Their parents? Or our colleagues?
I mean, I get it. It’s August. We’re excited. And we SHOULD be, given that we’re in one of the top most important profession on the planet, put in charge of some of the world’s most important cargo — kids. And kids’ futures. And who wants to go into a school year unprepared? Only a crazy person would!!
But if we’re a truly student-centered classroom, wouldn’t we intentionally leave parts (or the whole thing) a blank canvas with construction materials on the side? So each kid could choose when and where to make their marks?
And when they make a messy mark, is it still ok? That it’s about THEIR masterpiece? Not ours? That they can’t ruin their own master pieces of learning in progress because of the fact that it’s in progress?
But what happens when they leave their mark on a Pinterest-perfect classroom? Something that cost a pretty penny, even out of the dollar bin, because it’s from the teachers’ own pocket? Yeah, when they mess that up, they’ll get in trouble. And also maybe learn the classroom isn’t about them.
Y’all, I say it’s August! By all means, let’s get excited. Let’s get colorful. Let’s get prepared! Truly!
But let’s also leave a space, bigger if we can, that kids get to build. And tear down. And re-build. Something that may NEVER be pretty, but in it’s existence, shows our truly student-centered classroom. And that will always be a beautiful masterpiece.
Thank you to my friend and mentor, Kevin Honeycutt, for reminding me of this same thing, so many years ago.